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Nelson and Belfrage Discuss Legislature’s Ethical Failure in Wollmann Affair

Senate State Affairs kept the “Repeal the Will of the Voters!” train rolling today, voting 7–2 (Republicans, including my District 3 Senator Al Novstrup, all aye, Democrats Billie Sutton and Troy Heinert nay) to send House Bill 1069, repeal of the Anti-Corruption Act, to the full Senate. The Senate convenes at 1 p.m. tomorrow (Thursday); HB 1069 is scheduled for a vote tomorrow.

We knew back in November, when the Koch Brothers failed to defeat IM 22 at the polls and Republican leaders went to court, that the South Dakota Republican Party would use every tool at its disposal to erase the Anti-Corruption Act and protect themselves (again) from the scrutiny of a state ethics commission.

We did not know in November that the paucity of ethics in Pierre would be laid bare by Mathew Wollmann’s sex scandal. In a live interview with conservative KELO Radio host Greg Belfrage this morning, Republican Senator Stace Nelson laid out what he knows about Republican leaders’ efforts to cover up former Representative Mathew Wollmann’s persistent sexual misconduct with several Legislative interns during both years of his first term in office.

Note that Senator Nelson’s comments are all hearsay. But this is a sitting Senator publicly saying what he has heard from interns and legislators.

Senator Nelson said that he first learned about Wollmann’s misconduct from conservative legislators last summer, after his primary victory. Nelson said he heard from interns after the Joint Rules Committee rejected the sexual-contact prohibition he proposed two weeks ago.

Nelson said legislators and interns told him that in 2015, several legislators became aware of Wollmann’s having sexual contact with several interns. Upset with “being played,” some interns complained to legislators that Wollmann was making them uncomfortable. Nelson said many legislators observed Wollmann spending an inordinate amount of time around interns and pages.

Nelson told Belfrage that in 2015, Senator Brock Greenfield raised concerns about Wollmann to then-Speaker Dean Wink and told him not to blow the issue off. Wink’s own words suggest he did blow it off after a simple denial from Wollmann. Nelson says Greenfield was able to get action from Dusty Johnson, who viewed Wollmann’s behavior as reason to remove Wollmann from any official contact with the Teenage Republican group that Johnson ran.

Nelson said Wollmann’s behavior continued in 2016 and was common knowledge among many legislators. Just how common? “I have not met one former House member from 2015 to 2016,” said Nelson, “who said that they were unaware of this….”

Senator Nelson claimed in this morning’s interview that Wollmann’s “limited confession” on KSFY on January 18 “is not the whole truth.” Nelson said Wollmann had sexual contact with more than one intern in 2015 and one other in 2016. Nelson said two interns reported to him that Wollmann knowingly provided alcohol to an underage person on at least one occasion and may have had sexual contact with an intern who was not legally capable of consenting. Nelson said he forwarded that information to the Attorney General.

Belfrage interjected the central observation of this entire scandal:

The bigger issue for me through all of this as I’m hearing you is that lawmakers legislators are aware of these kinds of things and they’re doing nothing. I’ve got to tell you, that just frosts me beyond belief [Greg Belfrage, while interviewing Senator Stace Nelson, KELO Radio, 2017.01.25]

Nelson concurred, noting a “vacuum of leadership” among members of the 2015–2016 Legislature and, to some extent, this year’s Legislature. “A lot of these people condoned it and facilitated it by looking the other way or joking about it, which made it even worse…. These young kids don’t come up here to be targets of someone’s romantic escapades. They come up here to serve their state.”

Nelson said some interns are still struggling to deal with what Wollmann did. Interns Nelson has heard from remain “disgusted and distraught.”

Belfrage added, “And so am I.” Later Belfrage said, “The more I listen to you this morning, it really seems like lawmakers have almost fostered a very permissive… sexual atmosphere in Pierre.”

Nelson said folks in his conservative district agree the Legislature must change. “The problem that is even worse,” said Nelson, “is that the people we send up here that are supposed to have the moral courage to address these problems within our laws didn’t have the moral courage to even police one of their own when it was happening.”

This conversation between Nelson and Belfrage shows the real ethics problem in Pierre. Republican legislators mobilized immediately in court and in this Session to repeal the people’s effort to check Legislative corruption. Yet Republican legislators waited two years to act against a legislator’s obvious, unethical conduct toward the most vulnerable members of their organization.



  1. Rod Hall 2017-01-25 20:11

    I was Sen. Hall D-Fulton and now have the greatest respect for Sen. Nelson R-Fulton. he was a student in Salem Elementary when I was principal. Small world.

    Stace, my two daughters were pages at Pierre. Barbara was Junior at Hanson High and now is a medical doctor. Debra was a bouncy sophomore and now for 20 years has served as a flight attendant. I personally commend Sen Nelson for his public stand. you do not see too much of it from his party.

  2. Mark Winegar 2017-01-25 20:41

    It is amazing how these legislators can testify they have no “corruption” while experiencing situations like this. I don’t know about you but I would call covering up sexual abuse of interns corrupt.

  3. Francis Schaffer 2017-01-25 21:08

    Maybe even criminal.

  4. Mike Boswell 2017-01-25 21:43

    I will only say that if you are going accuse people openly, you should have the integrity to name names and exact incidents and who had knowledge. I am no way supporting what Wollmann did assuming the evidence of giving Alcohol to Minors is true, I will reverse my position on giving the man a break. I do question the integrity of a Senator that will present hearsay to claim corruption. That is as unprofessional as anything else. Specifically when he was asked by leadership to turn all information over and maintain confidentiality. That kind of behavior is beneath the character of a former Vet. IMHO

  5. grudznick 2017-01-25 21:46

    Mr. Boswell writes a lot of truth there. When one former Marine rats out a questionably issue to destroy another former Marine because of a political vendetta it does leave the ratter’s friends kind of hanging out there to be ratted themselves.

    I really expect that will be coming soon. Where is the Shame Nun Nelson on that issue? Where will he stand. I expect we will see and his friends are right now guttering about.

  6. Donald Pay 2017-01-25 21:55

    A lot of folks misunderstand how corruption works. A number of folks want to point the finger at Wollmann as the problem. They wanted to point the finger at Joop as the problem. They wanted to point the finger at Westerhuis. But the corruption is not Wollmann’s, Joop’s or Westerhuis’s only, or even primarily.

    I have said repeatedly, there is a rot the runs throughout South Dakota government that allows, even encourages, all of this kind of illegal, unethical behavior. The rot is a corrupt leadership, but more than that it is a corrupt system, rotten to its very core. It’s the kind of rot that IM 22 tries to correct with some bold reforms.

    Stace Nelson did the right thing seeking to expose Wollman’s wrongdoing. And we should praise his courage, because what Stace did is not appreciated by the people who live and prosper in the environment of rot that infects South Dakota government. I know, because anytime our group stood up against corruption, the entire force of government looked the other way, just as they did here.

    But however great Stace’s actions here were, he is part of the corruption himself, if he’s determined to gut IM 22. The system is what’s corrupt. It will just repeat, and repeat and repeat unless you address the real problems.

  7. grudznick 2017-01-25 22:00

    The Borehole.

  8. Darin Larson 2017-01-25 22:08

    Mike Boswell, it’s pretty clear if you were in the legislature and had anything to say about it, this matter would have been swept under the rug.

  9. Mike Boswell 2017-01-25 22:12

    Darin I can assure you that If I was told to keep it confidential I would. I would though give the names and incidents to the leadership. That is what integrity is all about. You let the leadership dine on ashes if they choose to do nothing, but say nothing. That’s the difference between being a professional.

  10. Darin Larson 2017-01-25 22:37

    Mike, the incidents were brought to the attention of the leadership. Nothing happened other than asking the accused if he did it. He said, “No.” Well, that’s good enough then. Case closed? Not hardly!

    The more we learn about this deal, the worse this whole thing looks. And you keep making excuses for the perp and blaming Stace Nelson. You have used much harsher language with regard to Stace then you have with regard to the alley cat who committed the offenses. Why is that?

  11. Darin Larson 2017-01-25 22:42

    PS, maybe you haven’t noticed Mike, but this wasn’t an incident that should have been kept confidential. Keeping it confidential is just another way of saying keep it quiet.

    Your standards for the legislature seem to be quite low.

  12. Mike Boswell 2017-01-25 22:51

    Until I learned of the giving of alcohol to minors, I saw this as young people hanging out and have fun, which led to a sexual encounter. I think many of us who had been in their 20s have experienced this or close to this. It is the reason many of us never want to be legislators or in politics as we don’t want those incidents of youth brought into the public eye. I have also worked with many 20 Somethings in my 40 years of work experience. I have seen all kinds of mistakes made, even some of those 20 somethings had serious responsibilities. So my opinions are based in that experience. I feel some of you are overly harsh because he had a (R) by his name. That I find equally wrong. I didn’t even know what party he was from when I started commenting and it really didn’t matter to me.

    Stace Nelson could have followed what he was told by leadership and kept the information confidential. If asked about the allegations, he could have direct them to that leadership. (let them dine on ashes). But you keep your integrity by keeping what you know confidential. This whole incident should have been handled “behind closed doors”, until the investigation was complete. That way all parties can say what actually happened under oath. Now because it is in the open you may get tainted stories, or stories to make you look better.

    We didn’t get that, we got a very open, very public display of shaming and hearsay. That’s not proper decorum for any professional group.

    Stace Nelson decided to do interviews where he did give hearsay, when he was asked to keep his information confidential. That for a Veteran of the Military Service is unprofessional and question his integrity.

    You can choose to debate what I have said, but it is how professionals should act. again IMHO

  13. Darin Larson 2017-01-25 23:12

    This wasn’t a frat party at the U for pete’s sake. This was a legislator in a position of power over young interns who didn’t respect the code of conduct for the legislature and took advantage of his position. If he wasn’t able to honor the obligations of being a legislator, then he shouldn’t have been in the legislature.

    Then, you harping about some duty of confidentiality is ludicrous when the hearings themselves on the matter were going to be public. Stace had no duty to keep the information quiet, especially after nothing was done about the prior allegations.

    I continue to wonder why you are a defender of a guy who lied about sexual misconduct not once, but twice, and repeated his conduct over multiple years with multiple interns. And since Wollmann chose not to appear before the committee, we will probably never know the extent of the misconduct.

  14. Darin Larson 2017-01-25 23:14

    How professionals should act you say? Professionals don’t boink underlings in violation of their rules of conduct.

  15. Mike Boswell 2017-01-25 23:14

    Darin I think my statement stands that I am no longer defending him. Or are you reading what you want to see. Which I think is exactly what many of you do.

  16. Roger Cornelius 2017-01-25 23:19

    Stace and I have rarely had agreement on any subject on this blog.
    Now I find that I fully agree with Stace and praise him for his courage in sharing the republicans dirty little secrets. If he hadn’t brought them forth the corruption and cover up would have continued.
    The point that I would like to make is that grudz’s and Boswell have no empathy for the young women or men, ensnared in this scandal.

  17. Darin Larson 2017-01-25 23:19

    You could have fooled me. You have criticized Stace Nelson more than Wollmann.

  18. Mike Boswell 2017-01-25 23:28

    More is an opinion. Roger you would congratulate anyone that could poke at anyone with an (R)

  19. Mike Boswell 2017-01-25 23:34

    Again Roger as of current no intern has issued a complaint other than this letter which came from an intern that was or was not involved. again hearsay. Wollmann by using his ability to buy alcohol provided it to someone who couldn’t. That shows a willingness to use “power” over these interns. Assuming that is true I will back off my giving him a break.

    Stace Nelson sorry he knows better and should have told any reporter to go see the leadership, specifically when he was told to keep it confidential.

    I don’t promote sweeping anything under the rug, but allow those who wish to do nothing hang themselves, while you maintain your integrity.

    You don’t have to agree.

  20. Roger Cornelius 2017-01-25 23:34

    Not at all Boswell, it just so happens that the majority of the commenters here feel that Stace did the right thing.
    Why are you poking an (R) for showing his integrity over the corrupt republican legislative leadership.
    It is people like you Boswell that contribute the corruption of this state.

  21. Mike Boswell 2017-01-25 23:37

    That’s your opinion as a (D). Roger I get it.

  22. Anne 2017-01-26 04:27

    Trump seems to have inspired the spouting of alternative facts, as shown by the two Trump-heads spouting off here.

  23. Stace Nelson 2017-01-26 05:26

    @Rod Thank you my friend. Your past counsel and encouragement have always been greatly appreciated.

    @Mike Boswell I’m a retired cop who is nationally recognized as an expert on rape and sexual assault. My duty was to the facts and the people of SD, not some perverse asinine idea that I owed a member of my party too cover for their indefensible acts simply because they chose an (R). “Confidentiality!?” I’m not in Pierre in a private club. The public has every right to know what is going on as well as the legislators who are here to serve them. If there was a germ of ethical reasoning in your claims that I owed anyone to go along to get along in covering this crap up? I’d be up on charges. Your mentality is what breeds corruption and perversion of our representive form of GOvt. Your type of ignorant mentality is what bred this type of mess, and covered it up for two years. Contact NCIS and do a FOIa request of all the sexual assault, rape, murders, etc cases I worked so you can be offended by all the cases I refused confidentiality and allegiance to the multitudes of criminals, terrorists, and opponents of the USA I was obligated to report. I wear your criticism as a badge of honor and proudly stand far separated from the overwhelming stench of your lack of moral courage and honor.

  24. Jenny 2017-01-26 06:23

    As Stace says above, the public had EVERY right to know what was and is going on in THEIR legislature.
    Mike B said no intern issued a complaint, well apparently he hasn’t listened to Stace’s interview as several interns spoke to him about how unhappy they were with Wollman’s behavior.
    Young people being intimidated and harassed by a person in power are going to be afraid to speak out! Mike B and every legislator there should have known that.
    Thank you Stace, for doing the right thing and the SD interns and pages that work for the Legislature in Pierre deserve an apology for letting this unethical behavior go on for years without doing anything.

  25. james kopecky 2017-01-26 06:27

    Does it not enter the minds that the voting people are the jury, the court and the order? Does it not register that if this is the verdict being overturned? Does it mean anything to anyone that this is by far the most unconstitutional unlawful act ever committed? The vote the verdict and the order is handed down to the servent and that is final. Any other act against this verdict is in for a big amount of treason and should recuse themselves at with their resignation.

  26. Jenny 2017-01-26 06:31

    The SD legislature should apologize to any legislative page or intern working for them or has worked for them for letting this negative behavior go on.

    But they won’t.

  27. Mike Boswell 2017-01-26 07:00

    Stace, sorry sir you should have realized this is a personnel issue and that any fair investigation would require a private and impartial investigations. You were told by leadership to give your information and keep it confidential. You broke the chain of command. You attempt to claim Whistle Blower status, but have not given actual names and instances thus much of what you say is hearsay (as Cory has pointed out). That like spilling an empty can of beans. That beneath the integrity of a Vet. You could have equally directed the media to leadership and let them burn their bridges with the media. You would have kept your integrity and kept confidentiality.

    No what you did is make it all public without naming names and basically attempted to shame the entire legislature the innocent as well as guilty. That pretty much been your MO (cop term) since you started public service.

    Your obligation was to make sure this was investigated in a private and confidential manner so all sides could tell their sides. Your obligation was to assure that leadership was allowed to do their job and lead. You decided on your own to break with leadership and basically leave the pot stewing with your big stick.

    If you were called up on an investigation you would be covered as you told (documented) leadership what you knew. So no you wouldn’t be part of any cover up. I am surprised you even said that. You are no whistleblower sir you are a drama queen. No wonder former Legislators have said you are “difficult” to work with. You parted ways with real integrity and you can’t even claim Whistle Blower Status.

  28. mike from iowa 2017-01-26 07:00

    Domo Arigato Mr Wingnutto
    The problem’s plain to see
    Too much rule by one party
    Their ethics out of hand
    Should be forced to disband

    We got secrets, we’ve been hiding out in plain sight
    We have no morals we’ve got the numbers to keep on in spite-
    our best intentions are just an illusion forget what what you see
    we intend to keep on acting normal and un ethically,
    til you vote us out, but you won’t vote us out

    We’re Killroy. Kilroy, Kilroy

    ( tip of the hat to Styx Mr Roboto)

  29. Mike Boswell 2017-01-26 07:05

    Jenny I would agree with you if the gave names and the specifics. But even Cory has pointed out much of what Stace has said is hearsay. That keeps him from any type of Whistleblower. A Whistleblower says all he knows with the whos and the whats. Sorry he likes the drama and stirring the pot.

    There are much better ways to handle this situation, which is more honorable and gets to the heart of the truth. But it seems people are more wish to shame others and setting the fires of scandal. That is of course human nature, but it doesn’t make it right.

  30. Jenny 2017-01-26 07:06

    So Stace is making this all up and Wollman didn’t need to resign?
    You, Mike Boswell, are typical of why the South Dakota is so dysfunctional. Your legislators can do no wrong for we are South Dakota, we are hard working and good and decent and we do it all for the lowest wages in the country. We have the best most honorable politicians because god says so.

  31. Stace Nelson 2017-01-26 07:23

    @Mike Boswell You go ahead and stay blissful. The emails I released show that I in fact gave House leadership every opportunity to do exactly what you proposed and they continued to drop the ball. They told the press they found out by my emails. The press asked for the emails and I was obligated to release them.

    “Leadership?!” There was none, other than on Senator Brock Greenfield and Dusty Johnson’s part.

    “Chain of command?!” The only chain I recognize is my duty to report to my constituents. The ignorance you spout claiming I owe fealty to House “leadership?” You go ahead and contact them and get your matching orders. Me? I’ll continue to follow the moral compass that brought me to the dance.

    “Difficult to work with” Is the best compliment you could give me. Damn right I am. If principles were easy to subvert? They’d be called “optional.”

    Please, continue on. You are making my case for me. You will have to excuse me, one of us was elected with the largest win % in a contested race in SD last year and has to get back to serving the people of South Dakota. Good to see you have so much time to post on here and are not encumbered with such a weighty obligation.

  32. Francis Schaffer 2017-01-26 07:31

    So now is the time for the interns to step forward, name the names. I will support them and believe them. They would be whistle-blowers and deserve protection from authorities charged with investigation of the legislature. This is the trouble with the good old boys culture, cover up and deflect blame to the powerless victims. I have friends who label this rape culture. I see why.

  33. Darin Larson 2017-01-26 07:32

    I’m glad Mike Boswell is here to illustrate the mentality of some in the legislature:
    –Confidentiality for admitted sexual misconduct and lying by a legislator.
    –Telling us that boys will be boys; you can’t stop young legislators from shagging interns
    –Trying to shame people who insist on accountability and bringing a stop to this conduct.
    –More of a concern for some made up process than upholding justice and the honor of the legislature.
    –Little concern or empathy for the victims.
    –No concern about the apparent cover up by legislative leaders.

    Thank you for being the devil’s advocate so we can see the mentality that pervades the legislature.

  34. Jenny 2017-01-26 07:52

    Where are all the legislators standing by Wollman if he supposedly didn’t do any of this? Come on, where are they? Where is the outcry! This is just a huge joke made up on behalf of interns!
    Come on, speak up SD Legislators – these are all just mean girls making up a very mean joke.

    Interns go find the Eb5 evidence – come on, dig!

  35. Nick Nemec 2017-01-26 08:17

    One of my daughters served as an intern during the 2012 legislative session. I attended several days of the session that year to follow certain pieces of legislation and to see her. One thing I noticed that year was the looks that a tall, pretty college girl got from many of the men in the building. Both legislators and lobbyists had a hard time concentrating on their business when she passed by. The ogling was obvious and something I had never noticed in other venues where she and I were together. When the Wollmann sex scandal broke I asked about stuff like that happened when she was an intern. She said she was unaware of any sex between interns and legislators but did say she had been hit on by a legislator whose name she couldn’t remember. He gave her his phone number and pierre address with the suggestion to stop by sometime. She did remember he was a married legislator with school age kids and going through a divorce at the time.
    During my own time in the legislature (1993-1996) I witnessed certain legislators who would often be seen after hours in the company of the same intern. I suspect some legislators have always treated their time in Pierre as a meat market with new produce each year.

  36. Dicta 2017-01-26 08:21

    The thing I can’t fathom is this “at his age” narrative being trotted out by some people. He’s an elected goddamn official. If we cannot expect a certain level of professionalism in such an office, perhaps we should revisit the age requirements to be a state legislator. For christsakes, the ridiculousness of some of the excuses.

  37. Dana P 2017-01-26 08:22

    Boswell……”should have been handled behind closed doors and confidential”.

    That was attempted. It didn’t get handled. Since you have no problem giving tacit approval to this and trying to blow it off as young folks having fun – since it wasn’t getting handled, what should have happened? I’m assuming your answer would be exactly what occurred in Pierre. Just let life go on and not handle it.

  38. suka sapa 2017-01-26 08:34

    Some notes about a “hostile work environment”…it is generally accepted that anyone affected by offensive conduct can file a complain or lawsuit.
    Once a complaint occurs (following the “chain of command”, the organization has a responsibility to immediately respond. Assuming clear reporting procedures are established – and if not, the organization is irresponsible – actions need to be taken. If those in authority neglect to take appropriate action, the next logical step for the offended party is to step outside the organization to seek relief, whether that “outside” entity be the legal system or the press.
    In this case, since Sen. Nelson’s complaints were ignored or improperly handled, he is justified in carrying his case to the press. Senate leadership botched their responsibilities and must therefore assume the blame.

  39. Dana P 2017-01-26 09:35

    By the way, Mike B. Your obsession to downplay this. Bat it away. Look the other way, is beyond weird. Your attitude on display is carbon copy of many attitudes right now when it comes to relations with women. Whether it be in Pierre, workplaces across America, etc. Your efforts to try to normalize this is disgusting.

  40. Roger Cornelius 2017-01-26 10:44

    Might I suggest that you contact the representatives and senators of your district to see if they share your opinions of confidentiality and more importantly if this whole matter was handled correctly.

  41. Mike Boswell 2017-01-26 11:02

    I contacted our local Radio Station and the reply is that Mr Nelson is a Drama Queen. Enough said.

  42. Roger Cornelius 2017-01-26 12:28

    Contacting a radio station is hardly the same as contacting your district’s elected represented.

  43. Dicta 2017-01-26 13:21

    When all you have to offer is empty platitudes that defy basic logic, the difference isn’t that large. Right, Mike?

  44. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2017-01-26 13:40

    Nick, holy cow—that invitation, complete with phone number and address, would probably serve as grounds for a sexual harassment charge, wouldn’t it?

    But be careful, Nick: by reporting your daughter’s hearsay, you open yourself up to Boswell’s charge that veterans like you and Nelson are behaving beneath the character and dignity of those who have worn the uniform. (Good grief, the non sequiturs to which Boswell must resort to avoid admitting that I’ve been right about everything I’ve said so far about the Wollmann scandal and how it reveals the corruption of Legislative leaders.)

  45. Mike Boswell 2017-01-26 13:55

    Cory you said that some of what Stace Nelson has said was hearsay. I guess that’s to cover your butt. I did give in that it appears that Wollmann did use his power to buy alcohol for minors. That ended any giving Wollmann a break on his youth. But to be precise Stace Nelson loves the Drama and likes to poke at his own party. That’s why he got his butt handed to him in the Senate Race. Same goes for Lora Hubbel. But the person I got the Drama Queen statement from is well respected with much experience. Also from my own interactions with Stace has proven the same.

  46. Roger Cornelius 2017-01-26 14:15

    That Drama Queen comment is hearsay since you won’t provide the source of this well respected source.

  47. Darin Larson 2017-01-26 14:25

    Yes, Roger. At a minimum, a signed, twice witnessed, notarized affidavit is required for me to discuss anything that Mike Boswell brings forth from now on. I want to maintain the level of decorum and professionalism that Mike aspires to uphold. I’d prefer there be a bond securing the truth of the matter asserted, but the amount is negotiable.

  48. Nick Nemec 2017-01-26 18:59

    Cory, Marines don’t spook easily especially when they are in the right. I saw Stace Nelson in Pierre today and made a point to tell him that as a dad of a one time legislative intern I wanted to thank him for looking out for the well being of the young adults who come to work for the legislature and learn about the legislative process.
    Those on this and other venues who complain that Nelson’s pushing of this issue makes him a drama queen are guilty of trying to sweep this scandal under the rug. In this as in all political scandals the coverup is always worse than the crime. The more we learn about Wollmann the more of a scum he seems to be. Those legislators in leadership who did nothing or even attempted to coverup as recently as a few weeks ago deserve a special place in Hell. As parents it goes without saying that we count on them to keep our children safe.

  49. Mike Boswell 2017-01-26 19:30

    Nick Nemec, Stace Nelson shames many Marines by his actions. You don’t break with the chain of command. He was told to keep this confidential and turn over his information. This issue with Mr Wollmann should never been made public until the investigation was complete. You would rather shame this man publically (even if he is deserving of it) than to ensure we find out the whole truth. Again it is on the Legislative Leadership to Sherriff it’s body. No I am not saying (nor are others) to sweep this under the rug. Only to protect the 4th, 5th, and 6th Amendment right of all those involved.

    Stace Nelson has violated those rights of the individual to make a bigger splash in the media. Sorry that isn’t integrity or being responsible. He could have easily directed the media to talk to Legislative Leadership. That puts the responsibility at the Top where it belongs. No Stace Nelson did the turn coat thing and went public without the integrity to name who had done wrong with the times and places. Even Cory was smart enough to say some of Stace’s comments were Hearsay.

    No don’t crown no champion on Mr Stace Nelson. He stabs the leadership in the back and gathers the limelight for himself. That isn’t Professional and not befitting a Marine.

  50. grudznick 2017-01-26 19:51

    Mr. Nemec, I am sure when you send your daughter off to places with other young people there is nothing naughty that happens, but apparently when young people get together sometimes there is. Then out come the Shame Nuns, like Mr. Nelson.

  51. Darin Larson 2017-01-26 21:15

    Grudz, the 60’s called; they want their treatment of women back. You’re probably pissed you have to get your own coffee now, except at Talley’s of course.

    Boswell, now you’ve truly jumped the shark. You are the protector of Wollman’s 4th, 5th and 6th Amendment rights? Please explain. This ought to be good. I don’t think you have the first clue about how these Constitutional Amendments apply to this situation.

    Let’s start the insanity!

  52. Mike Boswell 2017-01-26 22:45

    Darin not only Wollmann but everyone else that knows about this. Plus anyone that was wronged. Stace Nelson made this impossible to investigate. All the guilty are hiding and those to who have been shamed aren’t talking.

    That’s why this kind of thing needs to be confidential and investigation needs to be closed door. Not to sweep it under the rug, but to get at the truth.

    Again unfortunately the Drama desired by Stace won’t let that happen. He may get his bill passed, but I imagine he doesn’t have much credibility with his peers.

  53. Darin Larson 2017-01-26 22:56

    How do the 4th, 5th and 6th Amendments apply?

  54. Mike Boswell 2017-01-26 22:59

    The rights of the accused. “It is more important that innocence be protected than it is that guilt be punished, for guilt and crimes are so frequent in this world that they cannot all be punished. But if innocence itself is brought to the bar and condemned, perhaps to die, then the citizen will say, “whether I do good or whether I do evil is immaterial, for innocence itself is no protection,” and if such an idea as that were to take hold in the mind of the citizen that would be the end of security whatsoever.”
    – John Adams

  55. Roger Cornelius 2017-01-26 23:11

    Wollman doesn’t stand accused or is his boinking interns alleged, he publicly admitted his predatory sexual antics.

  56. Mike Boswell 2017-01-26 23:16

    Not talking just about Wollmann it is everyone that is part of this incident. Roger you want to focus smashing a (R). What about the rights of everyone else in this.

  57. Jenny 2017-01-26 23:18

    Life is not fair, Mike B, especially in the information social media age so get over it. Perhaps Wollman should have reminded himself this before he started playing with interns.

  58. Darin Larson 2017-01-26 23:20

    The rights of the accused?

    The 5th Amendment– The right against self incrimination, due process? Was Stace Nelson supposed to read Wollmann his Miranda rights? Wollmann confessed to a reporter. Stace didn’t lay a beat down on the guy to make him confess.

    The 4th Amendment– The right to remain free from government’s unreasonable search and seizure. Are you saying Stace Nelson obtained evidence by illegal search and seizure and that he did so as an actor for the state?

    The 6th Amendment– rights afforded a criminal defendant being prosecuted by the government. The 6th Amendment applies to criminal prosecution of defendants. This was obviously not a criminal prosecution. Normally, accused criminals cannot say to the judge, “you know what, I’m just going to resign and go home.”

  59. Mike Boswell 2017-01-26 23:20

    Jenny it doesn’t make it right. We should look at doing the right thing.

  60. Mike Boswell 2017-01-26 23:22

    Darin how about all those others that Stace is accusing in his hearsay. What about their rights.

  61. Mike Boswell 2017-01-26 23:24

    Again are you more concerned with beating this one (R) or look at everyone else. Stace Nelson didn’t look at their rights. He was in for the limelight and the drama. That’s wrong.

  62. Darin Larson 2017-01-26 23:39

    Mike, in your twisted mind you seem to forget the fact that the victims of this abuse of power are the interns and the honor of the legislature. Stace was trying to get justice for past interns and protect future interns as well as uphold the honor and reputation of the legislature. The only thing worse than Wollmann’s conduct is letting it go unchecked.

    You keep talking about hearsay. This is not a court of law.

  63. Mike Boswell 2017-01-26 23:52

    Cory specifically talked about Stace’s hearsay in this article . “Note that Senator Nelson’s comments are all hearsay. But this is a sitting Senator publicly saying what he has heard from interns and legislators.”

    your assumption is how Stace Nelson did this is right. but in fact it probably caused anyone associated with this to hush up.

    If done properly with confidentiality the Innocent and the guilty are protected until all the information is gather. It doesn’t matter if it is a court of law or an personnel incident at your local Burger King. You keep these things private until all the information is in. That’s the right way to do things.

  64. Nick Nemec 2017-01-26 23:59

    Boswell, Nelson certainly hasn’t shamed this former Marine. In fact if anything he has done the Corps proud by standing up for truth and those (the interns) who have no voice.

  65. Darin Larson 2017-01-27 00:03

    There was no duty to keep this information confidential. This information was public and a matter of public concern. You keep mentioning amendments to the Constitution. Have you heard of the 1st Amendment?

    You say this should have been handled “behind closed doors.” The hearing on Wollmann’s conduct was going to be a hearing open to the public and streamed to the internet.

  66. Jenny 2017-01-27 06:59

    When you become a public official it’s a different ball game, Bos. You should know that. I guess in South Dakota, people are so used to the aura of secrecy in Pierre that this is a hard one to take in for people, that another legislator could out one of their boys.

    Stace has his faults, but aside from all the drama, the public has a right to know if their legislators are behaving unethically.

  67. Mike Boswell 2017-01-27 07:34

    The first amendment doesn’t trump any of the others. They weigh equally or they fall. Again it is up for leadership to Sherriff their own. It is they who set the tone for the rest. Stace can hold them responsible without the drama. I believe you all would rather beat up (shaming and discrediting) 1 (R) than get the truth. This is about being able to say corruption of the many by shaming the 1. That isn’t responsible and does not cure any problems.

  68. Darin Larson 2017-01-27 08:03

    Mike, the other amendments to the Constitution don’t apply to Stace’s actions in exposing this matter. He was not acting as an officer of the government. You need to read up on the Constitution. It provides protections from government action. It does not typically govern the interactions of private citizens not acting under the authority of the government.

    Mike you also say “Again it is up for leadership to Sherriff their own. It is they who set the tone for the rest.”

    They didn’t “sheriff their own.” You still don’t realize that’s the whole point. The conduct at issue was reported to leadership in a prior year and nothing happened. It was incumbent upon Stace Nelson to bring this matter out into the open. There is no privacy act for alleged perpetrators of sexual misconduct in the legislature. Maybe you can work on a bill?

    You seem to jump from one argument to the next. What happened to your argument that this should have been handled behind closed doors? You didn’t respond when I noted Wollmann’s hearing was going to be a public hearing streaming live to the internet.

  69. barry freed 2017-01-27 08:32

    Were State Government a private corporation using Stockholder money, they could cover up whatever they please.

    Since we, the Employers, pay the freight, it’s like living at home. Your folks have the right to go through your stuff at any time. Don’t like it? Move out on your own, i.e. get job… in the private sector.

    As Police should by Law, Lawmakers should have to wear live stream body cams. Only for Lawmakers, it would have to be 24/7, with bathroom and showers (alone) exempted. If they have nothing to hide, body cams should cause no problems.

    I imagine some of the approaches and offers by Lobbyists would make the average S. Dakotan wretch, were they to see video. But since no Lawmaker will take it upon themselves to serve the people by exposing corruption, that is mere opinion.

  70. barry freed 2017-01-27 08:46

    Seems these sex scandals only come out when the Lawmakers are in Session attacking our Rights or working some scheme. Is it really that easy to make us drool?

  71. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2017-01-27 08:57

    What’s worse: Stace Nelson playing drama queen, or Mathew Wollmann playing soap-opera stud?

    Exposing corruption in the South Dakota Legislature is inherently dramatic. Whether or not the exposer enjoys drama is irrelevant to the facts of the case.

    Wollmann boinked interns. Wollmann lied repeatedly about said boinking. Republican leaders ignored, joked about, and facilitated said boinking. None of those actions are unacceptable. All of those actions justify removing said Republicans from office.

    Nelson is exposing those unacceptable actions. Exposing those unacceptable actions is a reason to re-elect Nelson.

  72. Mike Boswell 2017-01-27 09:43

    Cory both are equally bad and a Marine Vet should know better than breaking the chain of command.

    But Stace can continue to burn bridges with his party.

  73. Mike Boswell 2017-01-27 09:45

    Darin that doesn’t excuse anyone to go out on their own in big shame media blitz taking the limelight with hearsay. sorry that is equally wrong. it is unprofessional conduct. Unfortunately no one will call Stace Nelson to the carpet on it.

  74. Mike Boswell 2017-01-27 09:47

    And yes it violates the constitutional rights of all the people he didn’t mention innocent or guilty. Again Stace Nelson disregarded that as well. Another example of unprofessional behavior.

  75. Darin Larson 2017-01-27 10:10

    Mike Bowell says “And yes it violates the constitutional rights of all the people he didn’t mention innocent or guilty.”

    Talk about a drama queen. You clearly have no idea about the constitutional rights you are referencing. Now Stace Nelson has violated the rights “of all the people he didn’t mention innocent or guilty.” My goodness, he didn’t mention me, so I guess he violated my rights as well.

    We have beat this dead horse until its hide is good and tanned, and you have continued to blame the messenger and defend the indefensible. Stace and I are polar opposites on most issues, but you have compelled me and others to defend Stace because of your intransigence. If you represent the attitudes of the legislature as whole, it is no wonder people are clamoring for ethics reform. You are doing Mr. Wollmann no favors by your line of reasoning.

  76. Darin Larson 2017-01-27 10:18

    Mike Boswell said “Darin that doesn’t excuse anyone to go out on their own in big shame media blitz taking the limelight with hearsay.”

    It had been over a year since the complaints of Wollmann’s conduct had reached the leadership of the legislature and NOTHING, I REPEAT, NOTHING WAS DONE. If the leadership can’t take action on a sexual misconduct complaint on less than a year, I would expect any legislator to come forward and shine a light on this travesty.

    I seriously cannot believe we are having this conversation about keeping credible allegations of sexual misconduct quiet and waiting for legislative leaders to act when they already failed to act. We should be talking about who knew about the allegations and who failed to act on them.

  77. Don Coyote 2017-01-27 10:48

    @cah:”What’s worse: Stace Nelson playing drama queen, or Mathew Wollmann playing soap-opera stud?”

    It appears that you are ok with the lack of due process, the right to face witnesses, and the use of hearsay and innuendo with the prosecution of this “goat rope” in the court of public opinion instead of allowing the House to discipline it’s own membership.

  78. Mike Boswell 2017-01-27 10:56

    Well Said Don.

  79. Stace Nelson 2017-01-27 11:21

    Moses! The House convenes a disciplinary hearing in part due to my part in forwarding emails to them from LRC explaining the proper procedures to look into this mess? After covering this issue up for over two years, depriving the victims of justice, and you two blame me? Unbelievable! ?

    The emails show I forwarded the information on and kept a low profile until “leadership” made a point of outing me to the press and claiming they found out about two years of notorious misconduct from an email they received the day before.

    But don’t let facts get in the way from your stumbling over yourselves. ?

  80. Mike Boswell 2017-01-27 11:35

    Again if it takes a Vet of OIF to shame you Stace then so be it.

  81. Don Coyote 2017-01-27 11:58

    If find beyond ironic that Nelson, who used hearsay as his defense in the Daniel Willard Robocall trial, doesn’t understand that his “information” is also hearsay. The fact is Nelson isn’t presenting facts only hearsay.

    And now as his argument takes on water faster than a ship without a hull, he has to resort to boring us with his curriculum vitae and bragging about the size of his cajones while questioning the courage of one of the posters. Drama queen description fits Nelson to a T.

  82. Darin Larson 2017-01-27 12:05

    Don Coyote, Wollmann resigned so he wouldn’t have to have his case heard before the disciplinary committee. He also admitted his misconduct. He was afforded due process and rights to confront witnesses. He gave them up and shielded himself from further inquiry. Making a martyr out of Wollmann is a pretty strange idea to me.

  83. Don Coyote 2017-01-27 12:25

    @Darin Larson: The fact that Wollmann resigned makes any disciplinary hearings in front of the House committee moot. However it appears that the committee didn’t have any witnesses to Wollmann’s indiscretions since they were still trying to get interns who witnessed the events to come forward. It appears that the only evidence they were operating on was Wollmann’s statements.

    Stace Nelson is contending that his emails to the House constituted evidence while in essence they were only hearsay and rumor. Nothing more than an old woman’s gossip. And it’s obvious to anyone with a modicum of intelligence that Nelson was attempting to short circuit the process and extract his pound of flesh. I’m not making a martyr out of Wollmann, I’m only saying for the House to act only on Nelson’s hearsay would have been to violate Wollmann’s due process rights.

  84. Darin Larson 2017-01-27 12:36

    Coyote, you asserted “lack of due process, the right to face witnesses, and the use of hearsay and innuendo” as violations of Wollman’s rights. He retained all of his rights and none of them were violated because the hearing never took place. You speculating about what would have happened at the hearing is ridiculous. Why are you talking about stuff that never happened and asserting violations that never happened?

  85. o 2017-01-27 13:19

    Don, is the Legislature obligated to give the same due process rights a court of law does? Do employers (for lack of another analogy) have to give court-level due process rights to employees? Is there a distinction between committing a crime (as defined by codified law) and committing an infraction of a rule or policy of another entity?

  86. Darin Larson 2017-01-27 14:24

    Coyote well knows that the rights afforded a criminal defendant are much different than the rights of someone in Wollman’s shoes. Even if Wollman enjoyed all the rights of a criminal defendant, I’m not aware of any rights that were violated. I can’t wait for Coyote to come up with some. Boswell is good at making up law and procedure. Can Coyote match him?

  87. Stace Nelson 2017-01-27 14:27

    @Boswell You, Sir, are a moron. The only thing you shame is yourself for being so willingly ignorant of the facts and circumstances.

    @Coyote You mistate things I have said. I am the one that insisted they follow the rules and due process requirements. I am the one that told them that I had peritenet information as to the identity of witnesses and made myself available to be called to testify under oath. The identities of the pages and internet for those two years are a matter of record. They had ample provocation to have called for a hearing over the last two years, THEY chose to cover up this mess until I warned them the emails they disclosed were going to be released to the press. They could have required Wollmann to answer questions under oath, as well as myself, Brock Greenfield, Dusty Johnson, and all the other legislators that I am aware of who expressed knowledge of this ugly misconduct. They did not do anything of the sort, arguably to protect those who looked the other way.

    But thank you. These continued chicken $h*t attacks by you and Boswell motivate me to make sure the facts are fully known by the public. Stand by for more public attention to this matter. You & Boswell choose to be ignorant and spout the nonsense you do. You two abuse your little keyboards with your nonsense and I’ll put a public face and voice to the facts.

  88. Jenny 2017-01-27 15:17

    Stace – hey big guy ;) don’t worry about Bos and Coyote. They’re not worth it, don’t let them get to you. The true DFP supporters know you did the right thing.

  89. troy 2017-01-27 16:17

    Pretty good interview and gives clarity on where Sen. Nelson is coming from.

    Did real good with regard to handling some at best fuzzy questions. Really loved the question where Nelson asked “What do you mean?” and the reporter basically said “I don’t know what I mean. You tell me.” Nelson deserves a medal being able not to break out in laughter.

    In general, I think they are on the right track but have some questions (devil is always in the details).

    1) What is the purpose of the 24 hour report requirement?
    2) If the report isn’t made in 24 hours, does it mean it can’t be made?
    3) Does/will the rule prevent sexual contact between interns? If this is the case, does the intern who reports get a pass and what is the consequences for the one who doesn’t?

  90. Porter Lansing 2017-01-27 16:22

    Nelson says, [The emails show I forwarded the information on and kept a low profile until “leadership” made a point of outing me to the press and claiming they found out about two years of notorious misconduct from an email they received the day before.]
    Doesn’t that make you a snitch, Nelson?

  91. Stace Nelson 2017-01-27 16:51

    @Troy The 24 hours is there to provide an immediate reporting requirement, saying immediate leads to “what is immediate?” It also attends to a bigger issue of sexual assault. Too many people conflate sexual assault with sexual harassment. In the event that any such future misconduct have circumstances which are violate of our sexual assault statutes, it is imperative for the victims to receive medical assistance and LE contact to ensure they have the ability to receive the justice they deserve. I would happily put in a 1 hour reporting requirement.

    Obviously the focus is on legislators; however, SD and state employees would be civillay liable if they allow hostile work environments to exist without action, even if it is with interns. I think the tax payers are extremely lucky they have thus far dodged that bullet with this mess.

    @Porter Points out that I in fact did everything possible to give the people who were supposed to handle this the opportunity to do so, despite Coyote & Boswell’s ignorant comments to the contrary.
    I’m a retired federal agent who was responsible for more convictions and security investigations than you can count. If doing my duty and addressing a problem in the SD legislature offends your Colorado thug life values, that salient career must really outrage you. I have to confess, THAT really makes me smile. ? Any time you want to come give me a stitch? Happy to introduce you to “Betsy.” Her motto is “Dirtbags get dirt naps.” She sends it out with personally autographed lead missives.

  92. Porter Lansing 2017-01-27 17:04

    You’re a pussy, Nelson. Don’t threaten me. If I was afraid of bullies like you I wouldn’t be here, where so many female oppressors like you try to justify themselves. Which leads me to … I’ve noticed how you flirt with single ladies on your Facebook page and theirs. It’s quite revealing in a sexually frustrated sorta way, ‘ya know big buddy? Is it possible young Wollmann was attractive to the ladies in the Leg and they kinda’ laughed at you? It’s a given you were flirting and probably propositioning the young ladies, continually. Is that why you felt a need to snitch on an opponent when no victim claimed any misconduct? I know enough cops to know that they don’t move on every breach of law or conduct they notice. It takes a reason to make a hog hop and it’s time everyone knew yours.

  93. Jenny 2017-01-27 17:10

    Knock it off, Porter.
    Cory, can you tell Porter to behave?

  94. Stace Nelson 2017-01-27 17:12

    @Porter No threats needed. Folks know I am a man of my word. You’re the little internet bully with the potty mouth. Feel free to post pictures of your asinine accusations. I’m happily married with 6 beautiful kids, and 3 grand sons. How’s that internet troll business working out for you… Opponent? Lay off the herbs, I’m not even sure I will run again let alone worrying about a punk in another district, especially in light of my election results last year. I didn’t move on anything, the House did. Thanks for the chuckles.

  95. Porter Lansing 2017-01-27 17:51

    Sorry, Jenny. I didn’t realize …..

  96. Porter Lansing 2017-01-27 17:57

    Stace … Do you ask for pictures when really you just hope no interns surface with amorous accusations?
    Yes, opponent. This “acting out” on your part started when Wollmann stood up to you for your unethical postcards against your opponent and your redneck, haybilly, gun-hugger campaign promises. You then snitched him off with all the dignity of a dirtbag.

  97. Roger Cornelius 2017-01-27 18:07

    Thanks for being a ‘snitch’ Stace. We need more like you, not less.

  98. Stace Nelson 2017-01-28 11:01

    @Porter Scumbags like you assume more credit than you deserve. As with him, you ain’t worth the effort one exerts to slap a mosquito. Your ilk always finds enough rope to do the job yourself. You being out of SD, and he being out of the legislature are proof of that. So shoo fly, don’t bother me.

    @Roger We don’t have to agree on issues; however, we can agree we need to “Stand with anybody that stands right, stand with him while he is right and part with him when he goes wrong.” Abe Lincoln

  99. Porter Lansing 2017-01-28 11:07

    Stace finally sobered up, this morning? Nelson … I control money and property in South Dakota and don’t need anyone’s permission to advocate for them, especially you. You work for me. Now, shut up and try to stay out of people’s business.

  100. Porter Lansing 2017-01-28 11:34

    THIS SESSION’S LONG GAME … The session has become about ethics. Republicans trying to avoid the rules of ethics (not morality, which can never be legislated) voted in by the people. They’ve the numbers and can do as they please, without much other than vocal opposition. Pointing out that Stace Nelson is a self-admitted, snitch and tattle-tale will subconsciously make Republicans act more civilized, which’s what’s needed, however that goal is reached. Just knowing he’s lurking, with no more to do than try to nab a rule breaker is bound to limit Republicans “loose play” with ethics and that’s a good thing.

  101. Stace Nelson 2017-01-28 19:52

    @Porter the pages of history will reflect you only in the tiniest of footnotes, if at all. Here’s hoping that cyberspace forever archives your insults to intelligence and moral sensibilities within the juvenile tirades of your blog posts, or posterity will never know what a true jack wagon you were. You’re a self-admitted Coloradian, NOT a South Dakota voter. Consider your ignorant tirades dismissed with a happy grin on my face! ?

  102. Porter Lansing 2017-01-28 20:08

    Take it easy, Private HayStack. This is a “not zero sum game”.

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