Sexual harassment scandal hits S.D. Capitol

South Dakota has a brewing sexual harassment scandal between a lobbyist and an ex-lawmaker and this one sets a new standard for ugly.

“She can go to hell,” Gene Abdallah said of Tiffany Campbell, a lobbyist who sent emails to state senators — Abdallah has been nominated to the Board of Pardons and the Senate must confirm him — claiming Abdallah asked to go to the restroom with her to watch her pee during the 2012 legislative session when he was a senator, the Sioux Falls Argus Leader reports today.

“I resent the fact that she’s using sleazy and gutter politics for some sort of personal gain,” Abdallah told the newspaper. “If she’d spent as much time trying to keep her family together maybe she’d still have them now.”

Campbell was divorced in 2010.

Campbell told the Argus Leader she knew what would happen went she sent the emails asking the board to reject Abdallah’s appointment.

“Why would anyone want to do this? Why would anyone want to be publicly known as that person?” Campbell said. “To think that he’s going to be appointed to the parole board, I just couldn’t stay quiet anymore.”

Campbell reported the incident to legislative leaders but they said they couldn’t investigate it because it allegedly happened at a local watering hole frequented by legislators.

She didn’t pursue it beyond that because she had three pieces of legislation she was trying to get passed.

“If Senator Abdallah made such a comment, it would be inappropriate,” Attorney General Marty Jackley, who made the appointment, said. “However, Senator Abdallah has denied making the comment.”

  • Barton

    “Campbell reported the incident to legislative leaders but they said they couldn’t investigate it because it allegedly happened at a local watering hole frequented by legislators.” Does this mean she reported it WHEN it happened?

  • jon

    So at what point do we start reporting on politicians (state or federal) who didn’t get accused of sexual harassment in the last x number of days?

    Can we put signs on the doors at the capitals. x number of days without being accused of sexual harassment.

  • Jack

    //She didn’t pursue it beyond that because she had three pieces of legislation she was trying to get passed.//

    So the legislation was more important than her rights or was it that she feared she would lose her job if the legislation didn’t pass? Again, it’s a power thing.

  • Campbell reported the incident to legislative leaders but they said they couldn’t investigate it because it allegedly happened at a local watering hole frequented by legislators.

    and

    “If Senator Abdallah made such a comment, it would be inappropriate,” Attorney General Marty Jackley, who made the appointment, said. “However, Senator Abdallah has denied making the comment.”

    These two things don’t jive, Marty.

    Why doesn’t he ask the legislative leaders who heard her complaint at the time of the incident because, you know, why would she make something up like that at the time?

    • jon

      Clearly she made the report preemptively incase she ever needed leverage over that particular politician.

      I mean playing the long game.

      Heck I just started a campaign to report sexual misconduct by everyone I know to anyone I know who will document it, (regardless of the truth) so that in 5 years people can call me a slut, question my life choices, and suggest that I’m a liar… because while I can’t predict the future, I suspect that will be exactly what I want in 5 years.

  • RBHolb

    “However, Senator Abdallah has denied making the comment.”

    Oh, well, I guess that wraps it up. Clearly, if he really had done it he would have admitted publicly asking a woman if he could follow her into the bathroom and watch.

  • Nick Danger

    As a SD resident, you may wish to look up comments by former state sen Angie Buhl, who has stated that she was harassed by another state senator in a bar. It was verbal, not physical.