South Dakota legislator asked to repay COVID-19 relief funds

July 28, 2023

PIERRE, S.D.–South Dakota’s attorney general is calling on a state lawmaker to repay more than $600,000 in federal COVID-19 relief funding her preschool received.

State officials have written a letter in which they’ve given fellow Republican state Sen. Jessica Castleberry of Rapid City 10 days to return the funds.

Gov. Kristi Noem says Castleberry violated the state constitution by accepting the pandemic aid.

Castleberry says she believed her preschool was eligible for the funding and was open with the state Social Services Department about her grant applications.

The South Dakota Supreme Court in 2020 advised that it’s unconstitutional for state lawmakers to accept COVID-19 funds.