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Kristi Noem's teeth are the oddest potential political scandal

Kristi Noem
South Dakota Gov. Kristi NoemMandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images
  • South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem recently posted a video promoting a Texas dentist.

  • Noem and her office have had little to say about the matter since it occurred.

  • The governor's promotion has sparked ethical concerns.

South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem's teeth have people chattering.

Earlier this week, Noem posted a nearly five-minute-long testimonial for a Texas dentist that she credits with fixing her teeth after a biking accident.

"I love my new family at Smile Texas!" Noem wrote on X. "The video says it all, and I am so grateful for their help fixing my smile for me."

Since the video was posted, Noem and just about everyone directly involved have kept their mouths shut. The governor's office did not respond to a request for comment from Business Insider nor has her team spoken to local reporters. A receptionist at Smile Texas told BI that they could not comment on Noem's procedure due to the federal health privacy law. (I'll note that whether Noem received money for their services does not apply to privacy law.)

Others aren't ready to move on.

The Federal Trade Commission could get involved given how the agency has applied the law in potentially similar cases. There's a lot we don't know about the circumstances, including whether Noem received free or reduced services in exchange for her endorsement.

The FTC has ruled that it violates federal law for a business to fail to disclose when it has a "material relationship" with someone endorsing that business' goods or services. The FTC can level fines of up to roughly $51,000 for each instance a business fails to meet the standards.

Travelers United, a Washington, DC-based advocacy group, sued Noem in DC Superior Court on Wednesday, accusing the governor of acting like a travel influencer without disclosing any potential benefits she received.

Back in South Dakota, state Sen. Reynold Nesiba, a Democrat, has called for an ethics probe into the governor. Nesiba told Business Insider that he's not getting his hopes up for a probe given that Republicans hold overwhelming majorities in both houses.

"Republicans rarely hold Republicans accountable in South Dakota," he said.

Noem has tried to expand her profile beyond the state. She used $5 million in COVID-19 funding to finance an ad campaign to get people to visit South Dakota. She's also been mentioned as a possible running mate for former President Donald Trump. Late last month, Noem finished tied for first in the straw poll of CPAC attendees, a notable conservative event she spoke at once again.

Read the original article on Business Insider