PIERRE, S.D. (KELO) — South Dakota senators will consider a report from a legislative employee about her interaction with Republican Sen. Julie Frye-Mueller when they meet this week.
That’s according to Republican Sen. Lee Schoenbeck. He is the chamber’s top member.
Schoenbeck on Saturday declined a request for the document that the Legislative Research Council staff member assembled after a conversation with Frye-Mueller.
“The content will be part of the hearing,” Schoenbeck said.
Frye-Mueller on Saturday held a news conference in Rapid City defending herself, and the South Dakota Freedom Caucus, chaired by Republican Rep. Aaron Aylward, issued a statement in her support.
On Wednesday, January 25, Senate leaders were notified of an allegation of what Senate Republican leader Casey Crabtree described as “unprofessional behavior” toward a LRC staff member by Frye-Mueller.
Schoenbeck stripped Frye-Mueller of her committee assignments on Wednesday.
According to Crabtree, Senate Republicans on Thursday, January 26, “received a detailed report from an LRC staff member alleging inappropriate behavior and harassment related to private maternal matters, including childhood vaccines and breastfeeding, which took place in the LRC office inside the State Capitol Building.”
The Senate voted 27-6 on Thursday afternoon to temporarily take away all of Frye-Mueller’s legislative privileges, including voting and presenting legislation, and to appoint a committee to investigate her regarding those remarks.
The committee chaired by Republican Sen. David Wheeler is expected to meet this week and recommend to the Senate whether to expel, censure, discipline or exonerate Frye-Mueller.
The Freedom Caucus statement said:
We at the South Dakota Freedom Caucus, like the public, still do not know the charges Senator Julie Frye-Mueller has formally been accused of, nor do we presume to know her guilt or innocence in whatever charge she may face. What we know is that Senator Julie Frye-Mueller has not been formally and publicly served with any written complaint or charge, no evidence of wrongdoing has been publicly made available and no hearing, where such evidence can be examined and Senator Frye-Mueller can face her accuser, has been had.
We as elected officials have sworn an oath to the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of the state of South Dakota, which affords all those accused to be made aware of the charges against them, to face their accuser and to have a trial of their peers. We stand firm on our oath.
That is why the South Dakota Freedom Caucus is calling on the Governor, the Attorney General, and all legislators in a call for formal due process to be afforded to Senator Frye-Mueller and for the people of District 30 who have been effectively deprived of their rightful and chosen representation. And for the member of the Senate who’s (sic) rights to represent their constituents has been revoked, to be restored immediately until such a conviction has been made.”Freedom Caucus