Since taking parliamentary office a year and a half ago, Kim Jae-yeon, 33, has been called a North Korean apologist, a pinko, and a "leftist zombie" - a derogatory phrase that fringe web commentators deploy against liberals and socialists in the South.
In her office, though, the youth activist immediately comes off as winsome and charming.
But suddenly, Kim lets down her smile and has to leave our interview. There's an urgent news conference: she's to address a fresh round of accusations that fellow party members could be connected to a conspiracy to overthrow South Korea on behalf of its sworn enemy, the North.
The charge sounds ludicrous in this wealthy and stable republic, where 60 years of national division have made Kim Jong Un enemy number one. But it's emerged as an extraordinary drama in a National Assembly already known for its craziness.
The fracas started just over a month ago, when South Korea's powerful intelligence agency brought forward evidence that Kim's outspoken political ally, Lee Seok-gi, 51, convened 130 colleagues at a mysterious meeting last May.
His alleged plot? Urging comrades to secure arms for an uprising against Seoul in the event of war with North Korea, a statement that authorities say they've caught on a recording.
It doesn't stop there. Investigators also say that Lee called for a "revolution" against "the world's most powerful American imperialists" at a separate gathering. At the time, North Korea was slinging war threats at Seoul and Washington, at one point even declaring a "state of war" against the South.
In South Korea, siding with the North can land you in prison depending on the circumstances. And that's probably where Lee is headed.
Stripped of his parliamentary immunity and arrested in his office, he's the first National Assembly member to face treason charges since South Korea became a democracy in the late 1980s. The crime carries decades in prison and, far less likely, the death penalty.
Since then, the investigation has spread. His female counterpart Kim now joins nine other party members who face a potentially devastating inquiry from the powerful spy agency, the National Intelligence Service (NIS). On Tuesday morning, authorities raided the homes and offices of five politicians, seeking evidence that they too conspired against the state.
So far, the eloquent and jovial Kim has not been subpoenaed despite threats from authorities, and maintains her party's innocence before GlobalPost.
At the center of the scandal is an underground allegedly pro-North Korean group called the Gyeonggi Dongbu Alliance, a secretive but marginally influential organization with a few hundred members at most, says Chris Green, the international affairs manager at DailyNK, a news website that tracks events in North Korea.