Senate to conduct inquiry over accusations from final day of session

The Argus Leader and KELOland news are reporting tonight that Senate Majority Leader Kris Langer and Senate President Pro Temp Brock Greenfield are being investigated by fellow members of the State Senate after accusations made by Senator Phil Jensen… and apparently House Majority Leader Lee Qualm.   As noted in the Argus Leader tonight:

In a text to several members sent by House Majority Leader Lee Qualm and provided by Jensen, Qualm said “I want everyone to know that dealing with the Senate tonight has not been fun. When we were done we tried to find the Senator’s and they were nowhere to be found. Tried to call Sen. Greenfield but he wouldn’t answer. I finally got ahold of the Lt. Governor and he said they were coming back in. When Sen. Greenfield and Sen. Langer got off the elevator they couldn’t hardly walk they were so drunk. This easily added 2 hrs to our session. Thanks so much for your patience.”

Read that here.    KELOland is noting:

The Senate’s majority and minority caucuses will name five Republicans and four Democrats to look into an allegation that Senate Republican leader Kris Langer and Senator Brock Greenfield were intoxicated at the Capitol.

The report is due no later than June 30.

The Legislature’s Executive Board voted 12-1 for the motion from Senator Jim Bolin, the Senate Republican assistant leader. House Republican leader Lee Qualm seconded the motion.

Read that here.

I have no idea what happened, and haven’t watched or listened to any part of the proceedings, so I don’t really have an opinion.

I guess I’m not sure what to say, other than this seems like a mess not made any better by what might be termed bad blood between the House and the Senate at times, especially given the texted accusation from the House Majority Leader.

59 Replies to “Senate to conduct inquiry over accusations from final day of session”

  1. Anon

    Come on Pat, you don’t know what to say? I’m just sitting here shaking my head.

    This has nothing to do with bad blood between the chambers. Political friction is normal and to be expected. This is about two people who have a drinking problem.

    No matter the line of work you’re in, think how difficult the work would be having to deal with drunkards. For anyone who has had to live with an alcoholic, you know exactly what I’m talking about.

    This is about two people that belong in AA.

  2. Anonymous

    It sounds like the LG was with the senators based on Qualm’s text.

    Was he with them while they were drinking? Or was he just entering the room?

  3. Anonymous

    I have never heard of a legislator drinking during session. I’m shocked. Shocked.

    Ultimately the house is the body that killed the legislation the voters wanted passed.

  4. Anonymous

    In the real world when somebody is suspected of being drunk on the job, security is called, a breathalyzer test is administered, and if it’s positive he or she is given a ride home. What happens next is up to individual company policies.
    I never heard of appointing a committee after the fact. An on the spot breathalyzer test is so much more efficient.
    But this is government after all. It will have to be as complicated as possible, with lots of opportunities for grandstanding, pontificating, and maybe apologizing



    1. Tiny Dancer

      Well it looks like she is trying to get off camera towards the end, to me? Both Langer and Greenfield sound intoxicated at 5 hours and 40 minutes on!

      1. Anon

        There was a lot of slurring on that video. Would have been interesting to visit with them face to face. If people are honest, the Senate committee will find out where they went and how much they drank.

    2. Seeking truth 2

      There is a portion that was scrubbed by SDPB , that is coming back through the LRC. SDPB legal counsel advised that they don’t release the scrubbed video to anyone but the LRC. So there will be more video release in the future is my hunch.

      1. Anonymous

        I listened to it for an hour after the 5 hr mark and only heard a stumble over a couple words in an hour of talking.

        Talk about a circus. The senate is supposed to be the good caucus. Now it looks like they are all getting trashed over making a mountain out of a molehill.

    1. Anonymous

      Hypocritical! I hope none of these legislators were getting drunk at legislative socials this year.

      The House hates the senate because the senate does the govs bidding.

      There are some with blind ambition in the Senate who have wanted Greenfield and Langer gone.

      Langer took out Curd with the help of the governor.

      It’s a bad look for the legislature to drag their personal grudges to the forefront to smear and intimidate leaders to step down.

      1. anon

        Smear and intimidate? Cut me some slack. This is all about facts. The question is, were these two drunk?

  5. Anonymous

    I can’t help but wonder how many other
    legislators working from home on that marathon session had a drink or two over the 18 hours….

  6. Machiavelli

    Pretty useful charge. So much for conservative leadership in the Senate. Expect all new Committee Chairs next session as well as a house cleaning of leadership from the Pro Tem all the way through the whips.

  7. Former friend

    Politically, this approach to handling this does significant damage to the party as a whole. Pretty short sighted not to mention overly judgemental. Seriously, we aren’t talking about sexual or financial misconduct. Frankly, I have lost a lot of respect for a lot of the players in this.

    1. anon

      The “party?” Seriously? How about damaging the reputation of the legislature? How about damaging the reputations of all the individual good men and women who serve in the legislature? Two unthinking, uncaring, “leaders” decide to get hammered while serving the good people of our state. This should not be swept under the rug. These two need to apologize and need to get help.

      1. Anonymous

        How many legislators can be viewed being drunk during session at socials?

        It sounds like it’s time to ban alcohol.

    2. Anonymous

      I remember legislators didn’t want to look into a legislator accused of having sex with interns but by golly they should investigate drinking.

      1. anon

        I think its common knowledge that many legislators drink at socials in the evening…. more than most realize, but certainly not all. I think the problem is when they show up to session after drinking too much. We should expect better and they should expect better. I don’t know that either needs ‘help’ – not enough facts for that. But based on the little I see on video, there was certainly slurring. I suspect they made bad choices after a long day — they shouldn’t have ‘indulged’ at all knowing they were coming back into session. They should make this very easy on everyone and come forward and say we had 3 (or whatever) drinks over two hours and we apologize for that. Once they do that, people will soon forget and move on. If they deny and fight it when it’s true, they will lose more support then if they confess and apologize.

        1. Anonymous

          How much was attributed to drinking and how much to exhaustion from being up at 4am?

          Why didn’t Jensen bring in security to get evidence? Seriously. This is quite a witch hunt.

          1. Anonymous

            Anonymous at 12:50: Jensen wasn’t there. He was at home, smelling alcohol on their breath from miles away. That’s why he didn’t bring in security: he wasn’t there.

        2. Anonymous

          Anon at 11:06 you are assuming there was a social in the evening. But it appears from the video that everybody was fine until about 2 AM, and then they took a break. They went to a social at 2 AM?
          And then what happened? Are the bars in town still serving at that hour?
          There was mention that nobody knew where they were and then Langer showed up without shoes on, and was unsteady. While that could be explained by intoxication it could also be the behavior of somebody who fell asleep on a bench or carpet. Years of experience napping on airport carpet has taught me that taking shoes off makes the experience a little more comfortable.
          Nobody sounds impaired until after the break, and then at 5:40 into the tape they all sound a little loopy. It seems to be after 3 AM by then . Greenfield had a granola bar stuck in his teeth. Granola bars will do that. Langer sounded okay to me.
          How Jensen, 175 miles away in Rapid City, knew anybody was drunk is the mystery.

  8. Anonymous

    Last year legislators and others wanted Haugaard to resign his leadership after his conflict with Taylor and some asked him to. He refused.

    1. Anonymous

      Problem is it is one person’s opinion. Did Qualm have them toe the line, check eye nystagmus, or blow a PBT? Then he doesn’t have anything other than his own opinion which has proven to be pretty prudish.

      1. Anonymous

        The answer lies with Lieutenant Governor Larry Rhoden who was with them (according to Qualm’s text). If he says they were all 3 drinking then ok but if he says they were fine then a lot of people have some serious egg on their faces.

        1. Anon1

          yes because the guy drinking also should be the decider….what kind of logic is that

          Put all 3 under oath and ask them if they were drinking….

        2. Todd Palin’s Snow Machine

          Egg or martini onions on their faces.

          Dr. Troy will know they were drunk or not.

  9. Anonymous

    I watched the video. When I first heard about it I assumed the Phil was present in the building and witnessed the drinking or smelled alcohol.

    Imagine my surprise when I realized he was at home, phoning it in.

    Amazing he can tell when somebody is drunk from miles away.

  10. Anonymous

    Jensen should be expelled from the Senate for conduct unbecoming of a member. If I lived in his district I would actively vote against him – even if it was an AOC type.

  11. Anonymous

    Rhoden is a man of character. If he was with them and says things were fine then this entire matter needs to be put to rest.

    Pretty simple.

    Lt. What did you see and were you with them?

      1. Anonymous

        “Just wait,” who said Rhoden was drinking with them? Did Jensen say that?
        I want to know how Phil can smell alcohol from 175 mikes away.

      2. Anonymous

        I have an idea. Since it’s a slow day…

        Why doesn’t the SD GOP Senate destroy a GOP Majority Leader, President Pro Tempore and the Lt. Governor and drag the GOVERNOR of SD into this over a contrived controversy lead by 33 people who were not in attendance and were not there to witness anything?

        Rhoden was drinking?

        This sounds like the biggest witch hunt in the history of SD.

        1. Anon1

          the truth will come out and you will look like a fool

          hardly a witchhunt when they are guilty of the drunkenness alleged…wait for it

          1. Anonymous

            How does one go back and get a alcohol test done?

            Wouldn’t the LG’s word be good enough?

            1. Anon1

              When the person obstructing the test and trying to claim their is not time….is then found to be guilty of drinking during session himself….no that is not good enough

  12. What do you prediction will happen and why

    So what predictions do you have for what will happen?

    1. Expulsion
    2 Censure
    3 One or both will not run again
    4 Dismissal

    1. Anonymous

      Unless a crime was committed Why would Bolin use his leadership post to turn this minor accusation into a party fracturing front page tabloid? That jeopardizes pulling the LG into this and destroying senate leadership?

    2. anon

      Both will apologize. Both will win re-election. Both will win leadship positions again. Life will go on.

  13. enquirer

    one or two will be quickly shoved under a bus and as usual there will be no gains for the conservative coffee klatch.

  14. Anonymous

    They both should step down from leadership and publicly apologize for their poor judgment.