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Seiler Campaigning on Past Testimonials from Jackley and Parsons

I suspect the headline Democratic attorney general candidate Randy Seiler would like is “Republicans Endorse Seiler as Attorney General.” Check out this poster Seiler published on Facebook yesterday:

Randy Seiler for Attorney General, Facebook post, 2018.10.07.
Randy Seiler for Attorney General, Facebook post, 2018.10.07.

South Dakota Attorney General Marty Jackley says he has “always respected Randy both as a prosecutor and as a manager” and praises “Randy’s experience, his respect and his ability to lead the U.S. attorney’s office with its important work.” Seiler’s successor as U.S. Attorney, Ron Parsons, praises “Randy’s strong and steady leadership, his kindness and dedication, and the wonder team of public servants he helped to assemble” and thanks Seiler for “his stewardship” of the U.S. Attorney’s office.

Now these two top Republican prosecutors did not just endorse Randy Seiler over their own political hack, the woefully inexperienced and thus corruptible Jason Ravnsborg. Let’s zoom in on the sources at the bottom right in that Seiler placard:

Seiler post sources, 2018.10.07.
Seiler post sources, 2018.10.07.

Attorney General Jackley said exactly the words above in 2015, when President Barack Obama appointed Seiler to succeed Brendan Johnson as U.S. Attorney for South Dakota. Here’s the full context from the October 8, 2015, Pierre Capital Journal article:

South Dakota Attorney General Marty Jackley was Seiler’s boss for a time when Jackley was U.S. attorney 2006-2009.

But they go way back, said Jackley, a Republican.

“Randy went to law school with my father, so I met Randy a long time ago,” said Jackley Thursday as he was driving back from a Watertown meeting where both he and Seiler had talked to police chiefs from across the state.

“As a defense lawyer earlier in my career, I had the opportunity to try a jury trial against Randy. I’ve always respected Randy both as a prosecutor and as a manager. I believe South Dakota is very fortunate to have a United States Attorney with Randy’s experience, his respect and his ability to lead the U.S. attorney’s office with its important work.”

Jackley said Senate confirmation of a U.S. attorney’s nomination can take a while.

In his case, his fellow Republican, Sen. Thune, supported him but Sen. Tim Johnson, though a Democrat, also “assisted with the Democrat side of the Senate,” said Jackley, who got a unanimous vote out of the Senate.

But the Senate simply moves slowly in such matters, he said.

Jackley left as U.S. attorney a few months after Obama took office in 2009, when then-Gov. Mike Rounds appointed him state attorney general to replace Larry Long, who was named a state judge by Rounds.

Jackley said as a fellow prosecutor in South Dakota, he’s confident Seiler “will partner with us in protecting the public from human trafficking, the operations of the drug task forces. We see Randy as a strong partner with state and local authorities.”

Seiler’s appearance Thursday at a state municipal league meeting before a group of police chiefs from across the state illustrates the U.S. attorney’s good relationships with state and local officials, said Jackley, who also spoke at the meeting in Watertown [Stephen Lee, “Obama Taps Seiler as U.S. Attorney,” Pierre Capital Journal, 2015.10.08].

U.S. Attorney Parsons issued exactly the words cited in Seiler’s placard at the beginning of 2018, in the Justice Department’s 2017 Annual Report for the District of South Dakota:

After being confirmed by the United States Senate to be the 42nd U.S. Attorney for the District of South Dakota, I took the oath of office before U.S. District Judge Karen E. Schreier on January 5, 2018.

Just a few days earlier, my predecessor, U.S. Attorney Randy Seiler, retired following a distinguished career as a federal prosecutor. Randy’s strong and steady leadership, his kindness and dedication, and the wonderful team of public servants he helped to assemble will leave an enduring legacy of excellence. Our State, the District of South Dakota, and our Nation owe a tremendous debt of gratitude for his stewardship of this office.

He certainly has my heartfelt thanks, and I am grateful to call him a friend [U.S. Attorney Ron Parsons, 2017 Annual Report for District of South Dakota, issued 2018].

Jackley and Parsons made these statements prior to the official beginning of Seiler’s campaign for Attorney General. However, Seiler’s wife Wanda notes in the FB comments under this placard, “Out of respect for both Mr. Jackley and Mr. Parsons our campaign requested and was granted permission from both before posting their statements.” Not that the campaign needed Jackley’s and Parsons’s permission: both statements are part of the public record, the former in a newspaper, the latter in an official government document. But in an abundance of courtesy, the Seiler campaign checked with the two most powerful Republican prosecutors in South Dakota and asked if this Democratic campaign could use their words in a campaign statement, and those two Republican prosecutors apparently expressed no objection.

Jackley and Parsons have praised Seiler’s prosecutorial ability and experience. They meant that praise. I invite readers and the Ravnsborg campaign to cite any quotes from either Jackley or Parsons providing similar testimony to Ravnsborg’s qualifications to be South Dakota’s lead prosecutor.


  1. Nick Nemec 2018-10-08

    If the average South Dakotan was looking for a lawyer for some personal legal matter, and given a choice between Randy Seiler and Jason Ravnsborg, is there any doubt they would choose Mr. Seiler? This election should be no different.

  2. Rorschach 2018-10-08

    First the praise from former and current US Attorneys. Next the endorsements of former Attorneys General.

  3. Debbo 2018-10-08

    That was just barely short of an endorsement. Within a whisker. In other words, Jackley and Parsons know Ravns is less than a hack, less even, than Kaveman.

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