Spotlight stays on lawmakers and interns in Pierre

Published: Jan. 21, 2017 at 11:19 PM CST
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A South Dakota legislator's admission that he had sexual contact with two interns has raised questions and conflicting accounts about the ways legislators and interns interact in that state.

Representative Mathew Wollmann first admitted to having past sexual relationships during an interview with KSFY News last week.

Since then one former intern has come forward saying drinking with lawmakers was common, with occasional flirting. A former state representative says she often saw lawmakers giving unwanted attention to interns and pages.

“It’s not uncommon for legislators and interns to socialize at different events, even get invited to same parties by lobbyists, sometimes will be at the same bars, you do tend to develop a close relationship with the legislators you work with that's kind of the point,” a former intern who wishes to remain anonymous told KSFY News.

Many current lawmakers say otherwise.

State house majority leader Lee Qualm, a Republican, says lawmakers don't give improper attention to interns.