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Noem Skips Work, Makes Time for Fox and Fundraisers

Last updated on 2012.10.04

Kristi Noem has a job. Kristi Noem is not showing up to do her job. We should fire Kristi Noem from her job.

South Dakota's current Congresswoman barely participated in House Agriculture Committee hearings until the Democrat who wants to do her job, Matt Varilek, pointed out her non-performance last spring. Rep. Noem's main excuse for skipping 80% of her Ag Committee meetings was that she was busy attending other committee meetings.

Team Varilek puts the lie to that excuse and finds her laziness happens on the Indian Affairs Subcommittee. Even though Noem represents over 73,000 Native Americans, she has skipped 17 out of 22 Indian Affairs meetings. On July 24, 2012, a rare occasion when she did attend an Indian Affairs meeting, she might as well have been absent, since she was too busy jabbering on her phone to pay attention.

When Noem recycles her excuse that other committee meetings kept her from Indian Affairs, she's lying:

Noem tries to excuse her non-performance by saying she skips meetings that don't directly affect South Dakota's tribes. Team Varilek shows that's bogus, too:

Noem also claimed that the meetings she skipped focused on issues that did not affect South Dakota's Native Americans. This is also false. Those meetings dealt with such issues as universal telecom service mandates in rural areas, the Indian Health Services budget, and the American Indian Empowerment Act [Varilek campaign, 2012.09.26].

Besides, who says members of Congress only need to show up for work when the bills under discussion directly affect their states? Rep. Noem is a federal employee, paid by the taxpayers to do the work of the federal government. We pay Rep. Noem to apply her South Dakota expertise and experience for the good of the entire country. Where she may lack expertise (and none of us are experts on everything), it's her job to learn about issues by, among other duties, participating in committee meetings.

By skipping her committee meetings, Rep. Noem exhibits an arrogant disregard for learning and duty. She thinks she need only stay in her very small, self-absorbed world of flag-waving, fundraising, and Fox News image-stroking.

Noem's enablers only response is to try to change the subject. But Kristi's fans can't deny that she's not doing the job we're paying her to do. In almost any reality other than the "Kristi's so pretty on a horse!" universe, people who don't do the job get fired.


  1. Michael Black 2012.09.27

    Cory, is Mrs. Noem's attendance comparable to other House members or our two South Dakota Senators? Is her behavior consistent with others or is she an outlier?

  2. caheidelberger Post author | 2012.09.27

    Michael, I'll support firing any Representative or Senator who shows such regular and arrogant disregard for her/his duties. I'll show even less tolerance for any elected official who, as Noem does here, lies about such absence from expected duty.

  3. caheidelberger Post author | 2012.09.27

    I could answer the question in more detail if Rep. Noem and her fellow Republicans had followed through on their promise to publish committee attendance records. But reversing themselves on that rules was one of the current House GOP's first actions.

  4. mike 2012.09.27

    I was a strong Noem supporter way back when she first ran but she has been nothing short of disappointing.

    Not only is Noem absent from her duties but most of the people I talk with say her constituent service is non existent.

  5. Michael Black 2012.09.27

    Without accessible daily logs of our elected officials, it's not possible to check on the performance or attendance.

  6. Dougal 2012.09.27

    Noem is lazy in her job and unfocused in her campaign. She chose to be on these two committees because she said it was important to South Dakota. Word of her chronic absences were in the pipeline long before Varilek made them an issue. Where the hell was the news media on this?

  7. Nick Nemec 2012.09.27

    Of special interest is that 4 of the 5 Indian Affairs Subcommittee meetings Noem did attend are the four held since June of 2012. That is about the time Matt Varilek started to put the heat on her for skipping committee meetings, before that she had skipped 17 of 18 meetings. She must not realize that the real work of Congress is conducted in the committees.

    Maybe she was too busy working on her BS from SDSU.

  8. Dougal 2012.09.27

    I can't begin to imagine the hellfire that would rain down on Stephanie Herseth Sandlin if she failed to show up for work like Noem. Now I'm wondering where she really was. Seems like her social life is pretty busy in our nation's capital.

  9. mike 2012.09.27

    Mr. Nemec makes a great point. Noem has magically found time to attend the most recent committee meetings but until those four she was preocupied. Did her life suddenly get less busy or was she never really working?

  10. mike 2012.09.27

    Dougal is right. Imagine if this was 2010 and Noem was running against SHS. She'd blast SHS for missing meetings. Now Noem blows off SD in order to climb her ladder into leadership (which doesn't even listen to her or acknowledge she exists).

    Just like Noem accused SHS of not holding town halls and then Noem forgot to hold town halls once in congress.

  11. Anne 2012.09.27

    The primary is over, kids. Noem is the candidate whether you like it or not. Her opposition is a cap & tax environmental extremist with a fabulously accomplished resume which he doesn't want anybody in South Dakota to find out about. Varilek would have you believe he's only 25 years old and the only job he's ever had was working in Tim Johnson's office. He's actually closer to 40 and has had an outstanding career pursuing greenhouse gas markets, and those GHG markets aren't going to work unless the United States gets on board. Ergo, he begins his career in politics, to make his dreams of a global emissions market a reality.

  12. Bill Fleming 2012.09.27

    I miss Jeff Barth. If he were running instead of Matt, he would have walked off 20 lbs in TV ads about this by now, and we'd all be ROTFL.

    Hey, I'm gonna vote for Verilek okay, but he could really use a few spicier TV ads. Little Booker's pounding him on the tube right now.

    Just sayin'.

  13. Anne 2012.09.27

    I post under my first name, Anne. The Anne above is not me. I do not engage in distorting people's honest work history into malign accusations.

  14. DB 2012.09.27

    and Noem will still win......How do you like them apples?

  15. Rorschach 2012.09.27

    Noem may still win. She'll get the yellow dog Republican vote like DB, and there's more yellow dog Republicans than Democrats in SD. But why do I suspect that Varilek hasn't shown all of his cards yet on Kristi's absenteeism?

    This is a horse he can ride to the finish line if he has the funding to get there. I suspect there is enough blood in the water that it will attract some funding sharks that sense wounded prey.

    Varilek needs to do a couple of things. Besides reinforcing the Noem is Lazy line of attack, he needs to make himself a viable alternative. He needs an ad where he speaks straight to the camera, and he voter, and says: I'm Matt Varilek, and I want to be your next congressman. I was born and raised in Yankton, South Dakota. I've lived other places in the US, but with my wife Maggie, we chose to come home to South Dakota because it's the best place in the country to raise a family. I care deeply about South Dakotans, and if you elect me - I will work hard day in and day out to make sure that South Dakota's voice is heard in Congress.

  16. mike 2012.09.27

    What hurts Noem is the perception she isn't a hard worker. She's skipping meetings etc. This won't play well if she's in big trouble.

  17. Rorschach 2012.09.27

    Varilek should do a commercial where he talks to a school-age girl named Kristi:
    Did you get your homework done Kristi?
    Why not?
    Because isn't a reason Kristi.
    (Kristi pouts)
    Looking cute and pouting will only get you so far in life, Kristi. You don't get to be on Fox News if you don't get your homework done.
    Matt turns to the camera and with a smile says, "Sometimes you have to give them tough love."
    Well it

  18. Rorschach 2012.09.27

    (Kristi crosses her arms and frowns, stomps her foot a little) then
    Matt turns to the camera with a smile and says, "Sometimes you have to give them tough love."

  19. Rick 2012.09.27

    "Without accessible daily logs of our elected officials, it's not possible to check on the performance or attendance."

    thanks for pointing that out. all the more reason to 'fire' those who decided not to make that information available to the voting public.

  20. caheidelberger Post author | 2012.09.27

    @Pro-Noem Anne: Varilek has said on the record that he does not advocate cap and trade as the right approach to dealing with climate change. I wouldn't mind if he did, since cap-and-trade works really well (see the Reagan-generated, Bush-signed Clean Air Act). But Kristi is running against Matt, not me, so she should focus on the actual policy positions offered instead of making up "national energy tax" scare tactic to distract voters from an honest discussion of both candidates' resumes.

    And really, it's Noem who's trying to pretend that the past, specifically the last two years of her absolute non-performance in Congress, don't exist.

  21. caheidelberger Post author | 2012.09.27

    And Dan/DB, you keep repeating the same thing, but you aren't adding anything to the discussion. Are you acknowledging that Noem has no defensible record and just asserting that a slim majority of voters are going to vote on her airbrushed image?

  22. DB 2012.09.28

    Nope. I just get a kick out of the empty accusations on her record and attendance. Attendance doesn't matter, voting on the issues does. Either way, she is still way ahead in any legitimate poll and Varilek doesn't stand a chance. I don't want the Democrats to set me back like they have natives and minorities. I don't want to be dependent and rely on voting Democrat to survive. They are the breeders of inefficiency and dependency. No thank you.

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