A solemn duty approaches.

From the Senate Journals:
Sen. Ed Olson moved that, pursuant to Senate Rule 8-1, a select committee on discipline and expulsion be established to investigate the conduct of Sen. Dan Sutton.

The question being on Sen. Olson's motion that, pursuant to Senate Rule 8-1, a select committee on discipline and expulsion be established to investigate the conduct of Sen. Dan Sutton.

And the roll being called:

Yeas 27, Nays 6, Excused 2, Absent 0

Yeas:
Abdallah; Albers; Bartling; Dempster; Duenwald; Gant; Garnos; Gray; Greenfield; Hansen (Tom); Hanson (Gary); Hauge; Heidepriem; Hoerth; Hundstad; Hunhoff; Knudson; Lintz; Maher; McCracken; McNenny; Napoli; Olson (Ed); Peterson (Jim); Schmidt; Smidt; Turbak

Nays:
Jerstad; Katus; Kloucek; Koetzle; Nesselhuf; Two Bulls

Excused:
Apa; Sutton

So the motion having received an affirmative vote of a majority of the members-elect, the President declared the motion carried.

The President announced as such committee Sens. Knudson, Chairman, Heidepriem, Vice Chairman, Abdallah, Gray, Hanson (Gary), McNenny, Nesselhuf, Olson (Ed), and Turbak.
Just as Greg Belfrage over at the Dakota Watercooler asks, I'd question why those who stood up and said "No" against Senate Rule 8-1 felt that the conduct of a fellow legislator was not to be reviewed in this instance?

Six legislators stood in opposition. But I'd ask them in reply, "why should the investigation not go forward to determine whether or not a legislator acted inappropriately with an employee?" Are they to ignore the calls for accountability from the family of the young man who alleges that he was touched inappropriately?

If this were a private employer, that call would be made privately. But it's not a private employer. It's the state legislature. And the determination of propriety should be made in the light of day.

There's lots of chatter out in the blogosphere as to whether Senator Dan Sutton is or is not guilty. But ultimately, it's all just speculation. Tomorrow, we'll start to find out the truth, or at least each witness' version of it.

Even though this started as a Democrat vs. Democrat matter, some people have tried to draw battle lines on the basis of political partisanship. But it's not based on partisan politics. It is an attempt to determine what is truth.

Are we ultimately going to find out what the truth is? Maybe. Maybe not.

Comments

Anonymous said…
This has everything to do with partisan politics. Why is nothing being done to investigate Hunt? Oh, that's right, he's a republican! There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that were Sutton a republican, none of this would be happening.

I applaud those senators who voted against the senate becoming another big brother to oversee private conduct. If something untoward really occured in that private hotel room, it obviously was not criminal as the lack of any charges attest to that. So, let the alleged victim sue for battery and let the senate get back to doing the people's business.
Anonymous said…
Why shouldn't they look into it?

For one thing, it's one person's word against the other unless there is some sort of proof of which we aren't aware.

Reason two - No charges have been filed.

Reason three - The senate has better things to do. They wasted enough time last year trying to be the morality police instead of dealing with the issues.

Sutton apparently has been doing a good job in his elected office since he was re-elected. If he is guilty, you can be certain he won't get that opportunity again.

I agree with anon 12:55, let the alleged victim sue for battery so it can be settled in the courts. This is not the job for which our senators were elected.
Douglas said…
I see Sen. Julie Bartling voted. Is she an employee of SD Farmers Union?
Anonymous said…
Actually this has nothing to do really with the criminal matter of whether Sutton did anything appropriate with the page from what I have read over the last umpteen comments. Doesn't it have to do with the fact that he didn't report to the Senate that charges had been filed? It is a separate matter from the criminal proceedings.
Anonymous said…
Hey Pat,
Maybe you or someone else can answer this for me. While we are all trying to figure out this Sutton thing there is one person's name I have not heard AT ALL.

Why hasn't the name been brought into question about the person who is in charge of the page program at our capitol?

I'm guessing it has to do with her husband having such a high up position (Sec. of Ed.). Do we have people trying to cover up for her? Isn't that her job to watch over the pages?

I want to know why her name has not been brought up yet.

If you or anyone else can figure it out please let all of us know.
Anonymous said…
Its hard to say that this is partisan politics when the alleged victim and his family are Democrats. As to "one person's word against another", that is the kind of proof that is used in courtrooms every day. It depends on which is the more credible witness. Maybe we shouldn't have a page system, but, since its established, the legislators are in a position of trust in relation to the pages, as the US Congress has belatedly determined, and deserve protection from unwarranted actions from legislators, which may or may not be criminal. Because of that relationship, there is nothing wrong with the Senate going forward to review the actions of its own members in relation to the pages and determining who is credible and who isn't.
P said…
IMO, the reason this is a matter to be examined by the Senate is because Sutton has been accused of sexual impropriety with a page, or someone over whom he has power. This raises the accusations to the level of sexual harassment.

Furthermore, neither party would have been where they were when the alleged incident occurred had they not been on business related directly to the Senate.

Therefore, I don't know how anyone could consider this not a matter for the Senate.
Anonymous said…
Way to go Rapid City. You need to ask your buddy Katus why the heck he voted NO.
Tomar Highlands said…
anon 12:55
They're still investigating Hunt, and Nelson is working on reform to go with it. So your partisan arguement is out(read anon 2:18 Dem vs Dem matter). To go along with that, we're talking about possible sexual conduct vs. hiding the identity of a donor to a campaign(which we don't know if it's illegal or not yet, whereas sexual misconduct is). Please understand, I fully agree if Hunt is guilty and the loophole he says is there isn't, he should be dealt with as well. If not, he's the wiser.

anon 1:12
If Sutton is found guilty of misconduct by the Senate and that is as far as it goes (no legal charges), I'd say Sutton gets off easy. If you're a Dem, you should be looking out for Dan and hope the matter is dealt with internally. (read anon 1:37, internal not criminal)

On a small scale, it's like stealing candy from the candy store and the manager catches you and makes you clean floors for two days instead of calling the police.
GOP Come Home said…
1:12:

I would never in a million years want you around me, my kids or anyone else I care about.

To say that the "Senate has better things to do" is scary!

The best thing the Senate can do is investigate qualified allegations of legislator conduct that is inappropriate.

Your talking points while thorough miss the mark by a million miles with plain sponen honest South Dakotans who want to be treated the way they treat people.

That means investigating a man, regardless of status, when he is alleged to have done something wrong.

Also, our elected representatives were elected to do this "sort of thing." The AG agrees that the Senate has the authority, the Governor does, the Senate itself does and so does the Supreme Court. All three branches of Government disagree with you and your misguided attempts to deflect criticism from Sutton to other "important work."
Anonymous said…
Solemn duty? Give me a frickin break. This is a circus. Someone needs to tell Ed Olson that Lee Schoenbeck can take his gloved had out of Ed's ass since Lee is now gone.

On a second note, I am looking forward to the testimony.

Anon.
Anonymous said…
Sen. Ed Olson moved that, pursuant to Senate Rule 8-1, a select committee on discipline and expulsion be established to investigate the conduct of Sen. Dan Sutton.

I'll drink to that.
VJ said…
Did any Republicans vote against this "solemn duty"?

I would expect a "NO" vote from those anti-family democrats and I wouldn't think a Republican would step that low to vote "NO".
Anonymous said…
This is a necessary duty, but it has been conducted like a kangaroo court as long as Hunt -- who committed an outright violation of laws -- is running loose. There is no justice unless there is justice for all. Until Hunt falls, this will be viewed as a total mockery in the eyes of the public, which is sad. I think Sutton is a perp. Hunt is a crook. Let's bring enough rope or call the whole thing off.
Douglas said…
How many legislatures and legislators have we had? Dozens and hundreds or thousands over the over hundred years.

Now we have one situation which may indicate an improper relationship between an 18 year old page and a legislator, and the highest duty most important thing the legislature can do is hold a star chamber proceeding?

Without regard to any guilt or innocence, this does seem to be a remarkably upside down set of priorities in a state that is mostly on the bottom end of the rankings of state virtues.
Anonymous said…
As to the post asking why the page director's name hasn't been brought up, it's likely because the page in question didn't inform the page director he was moving. Nor was there any requirement in place that the page do so. The Legislature's Executive Board had an official policy in place that said pages were responsible for making their own housing arrangements; the Legislative Research Council would assist those who were unable to make their own arrangements. The legislative page program operates very differently in that respect than high schools which make accommodations for the students on school activity trips such as sports events on the road. The Legislature's Executive Board, not the page director, was responsible for the policy regarding pages making their own housing accommodations. -- From Bob Mercer
DakotaDemocrat said…
I have no problem with the investigation, its the public nature of it all that burns me.

This is a personnel matter, not unlike school boards or city councils going into executive session to discuss this sort of impropriety.

But no, this is sex, and man on man no less. Let's drag it all out and see what happens. A Blue Star Commission doing a big ol circle jerk about what happened between two adults in a hotel room in central South Dakota.

Now, its is off my chest. You guys are going to have your posturing, chest puffing and drooling over where someone's hands were last year. The people's business now doesn't matter. Actually, it never did before.

In other news, the over/under on when the President will say "human-animal hybrids" tonight is 14 minutes.

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