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Don Haggar Quits Legislature to Spread Koch Propaganda; Must Wait One Year to Lobby

Don Haggar, Koch brothers' new chief tool in South Dakota.
Don Haggar, Koch brothers’ new chief tool in South Dakota.

The good news is that Don Haggar has quit the Legislature, meaning he won’t be able to use his Legislative post to attack initiative and referendum and the right of the people to make their own laws.

The bad news is he’s leaving public service to make much more money from the Koch Brothers to continue his fight against democracy in favor of wealthy elites. Americans for Prosperity recognized Haggar as a “rising star” last September; now they’ve hired him to direct their South Dakota branch. As the Koch Brothers’ new paid front man in South Dakota, Haggar will capitalize on his public service to lobby for private plutocrats:

“I developed really close relationships and friendships with the folks I work with in my chamber and, in fact, in both chambers, in the executive branch, and the thing is, that doesn’t really go away. My role just changes slightly. I fought for those things as a representative, as a legislator and I’ll continue to fight for those,” Haggar said [Dana Ferguson, “State Legislator Resigns, Accepts Job with Americans for Prosperity,” that Sioux Falls paper, 2017.06.27].

Note that under current law, SDCL 2-12-8.2, Haggar can’t come to Pierre and lobby for Americans for Prosperity next session the way Ben Lee has for the past few years. As currently written, the law says Haggar has to wait one year to register as a lobbyist. Had he waited until next week to resign, he’d have been subject to the new two-year sit-out period originally enacted by the voters in Initiated Measure 22, then repealed and replaced by the Legislature in this year’s Senate Bill 131, which Haggar did vote for in the House.


  1. Darrell Reifenrath 2017-06-27

    AFP main goals are union busting, (eg the collective bargaining law in Iowa), eliminating concept of minimum wage and weakening any and all workers rights. Seems like he won’t have much to do in SD.

  2. Porter Lansing 2017-06-27

    Mr. Haggar … (There used to be a Haggar Drug in Watertown.) Sir, are you going to promote the Koch Bros. new proposal that Jeff Sessions is wrong to re-open the war on drugs and that states should have the discretion to allow legal marijuana? Kochs are now Pro-Weed, as per their recent meeting in Colorado Springs.

  3. Porter Lansing 2017-06-27

    Some grass has deeper roots than others.

  4. Buckobear 2017-06-27

    I noticed that “grass roots” comment.
    This is another case of chase (or follow) the money.

  5. grudznick 2017-06-27

    Frankly, and in this case effectively Klouceckianly, I am surprised these religious nut jobs did not hire Mr. Nelson for the gig. He’s probably a few inches taller than Mr. Haggar and has more hair. Of course he is not as effective.

  6. grudznick 2017-06-27

    I imagine the Kochians wanted to give the money to a fellow who is not an unstable canon.

  7. Terry 2017-06-27

    He was my supervisor at Esurance a complete ass he had employees addressing campaign letters at work

  8. Porter Lansing 2017-06-27

    Grudzie … What will Mr. Haggar do when The Kochs tell him to support medical marijuana in South Dakota? That’s the newest Koch directive to their spokesmen.

  9. jerry 2017-06-27

    High pockets Haggar, just another flimflam man with no suspenders to go with the empty suit. Haggar, what a slack’r.

  10. Curt 2017-06-27

    Don was my friend – many years ago. He is able to find all the silver linings in all the silk purses.

  11. Porter Lansing 2017-06-27

    What do we suppose a Koch Bros. employee in South Dakota has to do to get a bonus? A pay raise? A promotion? What are the Koch goals for SoDak? What can we do to make them waste as much money as possible? Make them sorry they stuck their Kansas noses where they don’t belong? Hmmm?
    PS … Powers has worked for the Kochs for years. Why didn’t he get promoted to this job? That can’t make you feel good about your future, huh?

  12. John Kennedy Claussen, Sr. 2017-06-28

    I am surprised that the Americans for Prosperity have a need for a South Dakota state director. Is not South Dakota already quite exemplary of the values and priorities of the AFP?

    It seems to me that Mr. Haggar is getting the better end of the deal with this appointment. Being the state director of AFP for South Dakota is kind of like being a Maytag repairman, isn’t? What is there to do?

    And I am also surprised that Don Coyote has not chimed into this discussion yet, too….? ;-)

  13. Dana P 2017-06-28

    Hmmm. A Koch bros South Dakota branch. Isn’t that in effect (yes it is) helping outside money come into the state? The same thing that Gov Dennis “y’all were hoodwinked” Daugaard, Tony Venhuizen, and the South Dakota Legislature were soooooo opposed to?

    They LOVE outside money when it benefits them. Hate it when it opposes their authoritarianism. (but I know, I know….”they” would say, “that’s different”!)

  14. Jenny 2017-06-28

    Over at the War Sewer they’re all proud of Haggar for quitting and joining the lobbyist Koch group.

  15. Porter Lansing 2017-06-28

    POWer’s Place is a SAFE ZONE for SNOWFLAKES. No matter what mistakes Koch’s have made, they ARE pretty savvy. They no doubt see the Red Tide in SoDak beginning to recede and are sending in money to stop the Liberal Liberation. Poor Haggar’s got his hands full with these crooks.

  16. South DaCola 2017-06-28

    I would like to thank E-Surance for laying him off, which forced him to find a new job, which in turn got him to resign from the legislature. Now let’s hope Jenna is next, that is, if anyone can find where she is living now.

  17. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2017-06-28

    South DaCola, when did Esurance let him go?

    Where is Jenna? Has she moved to wherever her new husband is from? Does anyone see her around town? And if she steps down, will Daugaard feel compelled to appoint a father-daughter team?

  18. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2017-06-28

    Of course they cheer, Jenny, because deep down, they hate government and public service and care only about making money. Besides, now Haggar doesn’t have to go to crackerbarrels and pretend to care about the people. He can just read what the Koch brothers tell him to read and make lots of money for it.

  19. grudznick 2017-06-29

    Does this mean Mr. Haggar cannot wear a suit at the legislatures and stand in the halls, or does it mean he cannot call his old buddies on the telephone and ask them to vote for things and he cannot see them at dinner and ask them to vote for things and he cannot have his daughter vote the way he tells her, and he cannot have private free food fries with copious libations in his basement and ask his friends to vote for things?

    It seems harsh to take away a man’s right to talk to his friends in the field while hunting a grouse.

  20. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2017-06-29

    Fair question, Grudz. Under SDCL 2-12-14, Haggar, like any other citizen, retains the right to “appear as a witness before any legislative committee or any board, commission, or committee of state government to speak in their own name, in their own or in the public interest.” [Minor demerit, LRC, for not catching the incorrect agreement of number between “citizen” and “their”. As Governor, I would have hit that with a style-and-form veto.] Haggar can visit the Capitol and speak with legislators… although it might seem somewhat unseemly if, having resigned from his post, he goes back to those halls and acts like he’s still a big deal.

    However, under SDCL Chapter 2-12, Haggar cannot accept pay to act as a lobbyist. No entity may employ him to influence legislation. If Haggar does so any time before June 27, 2018, he commits a Class 1 misdemeanor.

  21. Curt 2017-06-30

    Grudz, I love your naivte – charming, sometimes.

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