Open Session? Or Open Season on the Senate?

Despite State Senator and Executive Board leader Ed Olson appearing on KELO news last night talking about how the legislative session was going to be a closed session, Senator President Pro Tempore Lee Schoenbeck confirmed with the Associated Press in an article appearing this morning that a determination has yet to be made whether it's going to be open or closed. As stated in the Rapid City Journal:
Sutton’s lawyer, Mike Butler of Sioux Falls, has said the proposed special session “borders on an anti-Democratic power play” and that some people were trying to influence the November elections.

Sen. Lee Schoenbeck, R-Watertown, president pro tem of the Senate, said Tuesday that the special session most likely would involve the Senate sitting as a committee of the whole to hear evidence and determine what happened. The Senate could then take formal action, he said.

“Any rules about how the process will be conducted will be adopted by the full Senate when we get to Pierre,” Schoenbeck said.

Schoenbeck said senators will decide after they convene whether the special session will be closed or open to the public. Another senator has already said the session should be closed because the 18-year-old former page should not have to testify in public.

Schoenbeck said he will not predict what the special session might do.

“I wouldn’t prejudge any outcome or speculate about any outcome,” he said.
Read it all here.

A couple of things to remember here - this is an accusation by a person here doing the state's work against a State Senator. The accuser was (and is) an adult. As ugly as it could be, this would say terrible things about the process if it was handled in secret. If we want our legislature to regain some of the public trust that it's going to lose during the matter, it had better be as wide open as possble.

This isn't a trial, per se. This is the Senate meeting as a committee of the whole to hear an alleged rule violation of one of it's members. For accusations against a public official, the criminal allegations had enough secrecy while they were being investigated. The Senate moved to act publicly, so now it's time for the public to be informed what it's lawmakers are doing.

If the testimony can't be aired in public, then it shouldn't have been brought. But it has, so let's hear it. Let's hear the unvarnished accusations and let's hear the truth. Whether we want to or not.


Anonymous said…
so what have the clowns in the Attorney General's office been doing FOR 8 MONTHS??? how hard can it be? look at the evidence--if there's enough to charge him, do it; if there isn't, then drop the investigation. This whole thing could have been avoided.
Anonymous said…
Hello, no charges have been filed. What does that say? You think for 8 months this hasn't been investigated? You think Butler's bill isn't mid 5 figures? No charges. Don't bang on the AGs office, they investigate matters all the time and then either a local prosector or the office decides not to proceed. It is then normally, the end of the story.

So now, we go to a secret meeting of the senate. Great stuff. Complete Joke.

I do like how the Argus is keeping Lee's photo associated with the story. Take that, you sanctimonious arse.
Anonymous said…
"We'll adopt the rules when we get there"?

Good grief. Bonnie Russell, Stegemeier and the rest of the JAIL folks have to be giddy with joy. This is exactly the kind of kangaroo-court justice they rail about, and here it's coming directly from somebody likely to be the next state governor. What a gift to the entire Freemen-Patriot-NWO movement.

No thought's gone it to this by the Senate and LRC leadership. Not only will closing the session result in an immediate lawsuit by media outlets, but, any compelled testimony will very likely be tainted for use in any later potential criminal matter.

If they close, there will be a suit filed within minutes and I can't imagine a judge not issuing a restraining order until the suit can be heard. So, they'll all show up, adopt rules and go home.

If they adopt any new rules pertaining to evidence and testimony, then compell persons to testify under those rules when the ink isn't even dry, they will likely taint any case the A.G may or may not have. There's a little thing called due process that might just get mentioned once or twice.

The Senate is in way over its' head by rushing this. None of them have any experience in this type of thing while Butler's one of the best.

I'm glad this is after the election, watching this "legal" process spiral into the dirt would get Bonnie & Co. another 10,000 votes for JAIL.
Anonymous said…
"Don't bang on the AGs office, they investigate matters all the time and then either a local prosector or the office decides not to proceed. It is then normally, the end of the story."

Anonymous said…
The timing of this whole fiasco is suspect if the AG's office has been dealing with it for eight months. Pure politics..
Anonymous said…
The fact that the page was sharing a motel room with Sen. Sutton through an arrangment with his parents, and the fact that Sutton and Dennis Wiese who were collaborators in the beef plant project in Flandreau are, of course, dismissed as irrelevant because such information emphasizes the absence of even the most casual and cursory checking in getting a context for this story. The beef plant project collapsed and Dan Sutton is involved in trying to recover some money--to the tune of $850,000--that people in Flandreau would like to have back. The two men are now adversaries. Of course, that is irrelevant.
david Newquist wrote this on his blog site thought it was interesting

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