Discipline Committee dealing with Senator Julie Frye-Mueller met Monday

PIERRE, S.D. (SDBA) — The South Dakota Senate Select Committee on Discipline and Expulsion had its first meeting Monday night, taking an oath and setting up procedures.

The meeting lasted just over seven minutes.

The committee will hear testimony about a complaint filed against Sen. Julie Frye-Mueller by a Legislative Research Council staffer last week.

Republican Sen. David Wheeler from Huron, the committee’s chair, said he hoped to balance the due process rights of Sen. Frye-Mueller, the privacy rights of the employee bringing the complaint, thoroughness, speediness, and the reputation of the Senate.

Committee members had to take an additional oath that they would act impartially.

The hearings will be open to the public except when the state employee testifies.

Then, only the employee, their counsel, Sen. Frye-Mueller, their counsel, and any Senator will meet in executive session.

Sen. Wheeler said the committee would issue a redacted transcript of such a hearing.

The South Dakota Legislative Research Council Monday releases a redacted copy of the complaint an LRC employee filed against Republican Sen. Julie Frye-Mueller of Rapid City.

In the letter, the woman employee noted what started as a meeting to discuss pending legislation with Sen. Frye-Mueller and her husband, Mike Mueller, a lobbyist, turned into a tearful lecture that the staffer should not vaccinate her baby.

Sen. Frye-Mueller also asked the state employee if she was breastfeeding. The LRC staff said no, she couldn’t.

According to the woman’s complaint, Sen. Frye-Mueller said that perhaps the staffer’s husband could “suck on my (the employee’s) breasts.”

Additionally, the woman says Sen. Frye-Mueller said, “a good time for that is at night.”

The complaint notes that Sen. Frye-Mueller then rubbed her chest, and her husband Mike “smiled and nodded.”

Further, the complaint says Sen. Frye-Mueller became tearful and warned the woman that “you can’t vaccinate your child anymore.”

The conversation occurred on the afternoon of Jan. 24, 2023, in the LRC offices.

The select committee is scheduled to meet Tuesday at 5 p.m. (CT).