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A Watchdog Group Says Noem Was “Hostile” and “Threatening” During the Legal Fight Over the Texas Dentist Ad


A group that fights for consumers says that South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem was “highly evasive” and “threatening” when they tried to serve her court papers about her March social media promotion of a Texas dental practice.

The group Travelers United filed the case in March in D.C. Superior Court. It says that the Republican governor used “deceptive advertising practices” on social media when she gave a Texas dental practice a lot of praise for the work they did on her teeth. It sounds like Noem wasn’t paid to make the posts.

Last week, a judge threw out the case because Travelers United didn’t show proof that the lawsuit was sent to Noem. But in a report on Tuesday, the consumer group said that it had “successfully served” Noem on April 5.

Noem has been in the news a lot lately because she wrote a new book in which she says she killed her 14-month-old dog Cricket 20 years ago. Her name has been linked to former President Donald Trump as a possible running mate in 2024.

In a court filing on Tuesday, an attorney for Travelers United said that the process server “said she was threatened and that Noem and her staff were hostile.” The attorney also said that the process server “felt legitimately threatened” because Noem had “recently been in the news for shooting and killing her dog.”

The document didn’t go into specifics about the “threatening” behavior, but it did say that Noem knew about the case and that it should go forward.

“Travelers United had talked about the issue of service with Ms. Noem’s lawyers and thought that they were going to handle this with their client in a professional way based on our video conference on Thursday, May 23, 2024,” Travelers United lawyer Lauren Wolfe said in a court filing on Tuesday. “A tweet that Ms. Noem sent out today around noon showed that she had different thoughts.”

Noem wrote on X earlier on Tuesday to celebrate the case being thrown out and say that Travelers United’s “actions have exposed them as a fake watchdog group filing frivolous claims to smear me.”

Noem wrote in the post, “To be clear, I never got paid for any alleged ‘advertisements.'”

In March, Noem shared a nearly five-minute video on several social media sites in which she talked about her experience with Smile Texas, a cosmetic dental company, fixing her teeth.

“The team here was remarkable and finally gave me a smile that I can be proud of and confident in, and that really is a gift that I think is going to be incredibly special to have,” Noem says in the clip. “I chose the team here at Smile Texas because they’re the best.”

Someone in South Dakota’s government was interested in the film and thought it was “odd” that Noem would be promoting a dental practice in Texas. It’s still unclear why Noem made the choice to film the video and share it widely on social media.

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