Kristi Noem sued over social post promoting Texas dentist

Consumer advocacy group Travelers United sued South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem (R) Wednesday after she posted a nearly five-minute long video promoting a cosmetic dentistry company, accusing her of breaking Washington, D.C., consumer protection laws.

The group claims Noem’s video was an undisclosed advertisement for dentistry firm Smile Texas.

“As a social media influencer and politician Kristi Noem is herself a brand and she is promoting a service that benefits her – both physically (a new smile) and financially (she was either paid or received free or reduced cost medical services in exchange for the advertisement),” according to the suit.

The Noem video features before and after shots of recent cosmetic surgery for her teeth and a testimonial from the governor that appears to be shot inside the company’s Houston office, the suit alleges.

“I’m the governor of South Dakota and had the opportunity to come to Smile Texas to fix my teeth, which has been absolutely amazing,” Noem, who is seen as a potential running mate to former President Trump, says at the beginning of the video.

She said her teeth needed to have an “adjustment” from a biking accident that took place years ago.

“But 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. You know I think that I chose the team here at Smile Texas because they’re the best,” she said.

The video, which was simultaneously posted to all the governor’s social media pages, ends on an image of the company’s logo.

“Kristi Noem acted here as an influencer,” the suit alleges. “She likely either received free dental care in exchange for this advertisement, discounted dental care in exchange for this advertisement or she was paid and received free dental care for the advertisement.”

“Unfortunately Noem did not mark this as an “Ad” or “Advertisement” when posting so she is participating in an unfair and deceptive practice,” it continues.

The suit demands Noem mark future promoted content with advertising labels and pay undisclosed damages.

The Hill has reached out to Travelers United and Noem’s office for comment.

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