South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem Faces Lawsuit Over Viral Video

Early this week, South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem became involved in a scandal following the social media publication of a viral video that purportedly validated allegations of “misleading and deceptive advertising.” Travelers United, a consumer advocacy group, filed the complaint in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday.

According to a thorough lawsuit posted on the advocacy group’s website, “Travelers United has filed a lawsuit against South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem for her failure to properly disclose medical tourism advertising on all of her personal social media platforms,” filed under legal claims relating to “travel disruptions.”

After sharing the promotional clip, Noem, a Republican who has been mentioned as a potential vice presidential candidate for former President Donald Trump as he prepares for his own reelection campaign, came under intense criticism. Noem was reportedly considering making a run for the presidency in 2024. The Governor herself was shown in the video, which was uploaded on Monday night, acting in a way that seemed staged. She was shown thanking the “Smile Texas team,” a cosmetic dentistry practice, for their skill in taking care of her teeth. She added that she was “proud” of their job, grinning.

“I love my new smile in South Texas!” Noem posted her first Twitter, a caption for the video on X. “The video says it all, and I am grateful for their help in fixing my smile.”

Noem’s video was included in an Instagram post by Smile Texas, which called her a “kind celebrity” who had “received exemplary, feminine, beautiful smiles in South Texas.” Noem said she had lost some teeth in a motorcycle accident a few years prior, which is why she got the dental work done.

According to the lawsuit, Noem shared Smile Texas’ promotion without labeling herself as associated with the organization, which is against federal commerce commission requirements. The Governor is also charged with breaking the Federal Trade Commission Act through social media posts that are tagged as “ads” but do not explicitly state whether they are advertisements or not.

Legal remedies argued that “Governor Kristi Noem earns her livelihood as the Governor of South Dakota but it appears that she has already begun to affect the South Dakota State Government in a manner that affects the South Dakota State Government’s influence on March 12, 2024.”

The Associated Press reports that the complaint was made public by Democratic Senator Reynold Nesiba of North Dakota, who has demanded an inquiry into Noem’s widely shared dental video. Nesiba reportedly requested that the Government Operations and Audit Committee co-chair of the state assembly put the Noem ad problem on the agenda for their upcoming meeting in July.

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