Senator Tom Pischke (R-25/Dell Rapids) says he’ll file a criminal complaint against the 27 Senators who voted last month to suspend his good friend Senator Julie Frye-Mueller (R-30/Rapid City) while the Senate investigated her workplace harassment of a Legislative Research Council employee.
I explained back on February 1 why such an attempt to criminally charge Senators for casting votes won’t pass muster in court. I thus defer here to defendant and Senate boss Lee Schoenbeck’s (R-5/Lake Kampeska) assessment of the complaint Pischke is bringing on behalf of Frye-Mueller:
President Pro Temp Lee Schoenbeck, R-Watertown, was named in the affidavit. Schoenbeck said that Frye-Mueller’s behavior was “far beyond normal.”
“She should be embarrassed,” Schoenbeck said. “She and her bully friends need to go away and leave our workers and citizens alone” [Annie Todd, “Lawmaker Set to File Criminal Complaint Tied to Sen. Julie Frye-Mueller Suspension,” Sioux Falls Argus Leader, 2023.02.23].
Pischke’s complaint will surely go away quickly. He’s asking Hughes County state’s attorney Jessica LaMie to look into his complaint. LaMie is the brilliant local legal mind who said Governor Noem’s giving teenage boys joyrides in the state plane was state business and that complaining about that violation of state law was frivolous. If LaMie can spin out of prosecuting such blatant corruption by a powerful Republican, she’ll have no trouble dismissing Pischke’s far shakier complaint about the Senate’s exercise of its constitutional power.
Pischke and Frye-Mueller won’t secure any criminal convictions with this doomed complaint; they’ll only suck time away from the judicial system. Pischke and Frye-Mueller should take Schoenbeck’s advice and stop milking this situation for publicity.