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How Many More Lobbyists Will Kristi Noem Hire to Run the State for Her?

The first person Kristi Noem hired was a lobbyist. But South Dakotans mostly shrugged at the repeal of IM 22 in this year’s Legislative races and rejected the effort to reinstate IM 22’s lobbying restrictions, so who cares, right?

Noem transition director Matt McCaulley is one of the biggest lobbyists in Pierre, working for fourteen different firms during the 2018 Session:

  1. Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, Inc., Washington, DC
  2. CGI Technologies & Solutions, Inc., Fairfax, VA (subsidiary of Canadian CGI Group)
  3. Thad & Vicki Duerre, Bristol, SD
  4. Farm Credit Services of America, Omaha, NE
  5. Laron & Jolene Herr, Bristol, SD
  6. Paul Nelson Farm, Inc, Gettysburg, SD
  7. RAI Services (Reynolds Tobacco), Winston-Salem, NC
  8. Sanford Health, Sioux Falls, SD
  9. SD Business to Business Lending Group, Sioux Falls, SD
  10. South Dakota Coalition for Responsible Taxation, Pierre, SD
  11. South Dakota Corn Growers Association, Sioux Falls, SD
  12. South Dakota Health and Educational Facilities Authority, Pierre, SD
  13. South Dakota Land Title Association, Gettysburg, SD
  14. T-Mobile USA, Inc., Nashville, TN

The Duerre and Herr families of Bristol brought the lawsuit that prompted South Dakota’s 2017 Special Session legislation on nonmeandered waters allowing the privatization of public waters.

Five of McCaulley’s fourteen employers are out-of-state corporations. I’d love to be able to tell you supporters how much out-of-state money those out-of-state corporations poured into McCaulley’s big pockets to influence South Dakota laws (gee, there’s more out-of-state money that G. Mark Mickelson didn’t try to block with IM 24!). South Dakota law does require lobbyists and their employers to report “all costs incurred for the purpose of influencing legislation,” but the risible SDCL 2-12-11 does not consider “the compensation paid by the employer to the lobbyist” as part of “costs” or “expenses.”  Thus, all of McCaulley’s lobbyist reports indicate that his well-heeled employers spent $0 to influence legislation. $0.

By number of clients, McCaulley ties with Tim Dougherty as the second-biggest lobbyist in Pierre in 2018. Only fellow lawyer Drew Duncan of Parker represented more corporations, associations, and other big-money interests:

  • Drew Duncan: 17
  • Matt McCaulley: 14
  • Tim Dougherty: 14
  • Robert C. Riter: 13
  • Loren D. Pankratz: 12
  • Justin G. Smith: 12
  • Brett Koenecke: 12
  • Larry A. Nelson: 11
  • Michael F. Shaw: 10
  • Douglas A. Abraham: 10
  • Justin Bell: 9
  • Dianne Miller: 9
  • Dean Krogman: 8
  • Roger Tellinghuisen: 8
  • Lindsey Riter-Rapp: 8
  • Margo D. Northrup: 8
  • Mitch Richter: 6
  • Darla Pollman Rogers: 6

SDCL 2-12-8.2 prohibits elected officials and certain government employees from lobbying within two years of their leaving government. That revolving-door statute places no restriction on McCaulley or any other members of the lobbying corps jumping straight into government employment.

Bonus Bonus: From 2014 through 2017, McCaulley’s Redstone Law Firm received $109,779.63 for various legal services from the State of South Dakota. Redstone also holds a no-bid $50,000 contract with the South Dakota Board of Regents for legal services related to technology contracts. That contract pays McCaulley and partner Lisa Prostrollo $250 an hour; it pays junior partner and Representative-Elect Jon Hansen (R-25/Dell Rapids) $170 an hour. In a 2016 no-bid contract with the state, Redstone charged $200 an hour for work by its shareholders and $150 an hour for work by nonshareholders.


  1. Steve Pearson 2018-11-13 09:22

    As many as she wants because SHE’S Governor.

  2. Debbo 2018-11-13 15:43

    I wish enough South Dakotans were embarrassed to be the most corrupt state in the nation to actually make a change. Given Noem’s lineup, it will only get worse.

  3. jerry 2018-11-13 18:13

    Ms. Debbo, at present, we all are just wondering when the next murder will take place that has high state government official fingerprints at the scene. I think that that act will probably take place with the new destination extravaganza for veterans in Hot Springs. Yes veterans, not only will you be able to hang around, find some hookers, smoke a little and joke a little, but you will be ushered into a place just like the EB5 only this time, sponsored by the Russians. Chinese and South Koreans already got singed on the deals with South Dakota, you can be assured that the Putin bunch will not be so easy…unless Johnson releases his little redhead Butina, grrrrrrowl.

  4. OldSarg 2018-11-13 18:17

    “the most corrupt state”? says the woman who elected a know woman beater as head of all law in Minnesota. . .

  5. bearcreekbat 2018-11-13 19:44

    It appears OldSarg now implicitly attacks Keith Ellison as corrupt, based on an allegation that Ellison committed abuse.

    Yet, OS relied on the “presumption of innocence” to reject sworn abuse allegations against Brett Kavanaugh. Just as with Ellison, however, OS asserted Russell Means, a Native, was guilty based on a single unsworn allegation, with no mention of the presumption of innocence. OS has never explained why the presumption of innocence applies to Kavanaugh, but not Means, and now Ellison, an African American, despite a published report that “an attorney hired by the party found the claim [against Ellison] could not be substantiated.”

    Apparently, for OS, accepting allegations of corruption depends on a key factor shared by Means and Ellison, but not Kavanaugh. Is there a pattern here? Pray tell OS, why no presumption of innocence for some folks? I’m just sayin’.

    Incidentially, if OS is consistent, he again will respond by calling me a racist rather than explain what factor makes him ignore his fealty to the presumption of innocence for Kavanaugh, but not for Means and Ellison. In my view, the presumption of innocence is an important standard that ought to be applied to everyone accused of wrongdoing, including Means and Ellison, just as it should have been applied to Kavanaugh, even if that makes me a racist in OS’s mind since I observed that Means is a Native, Ellison, an African American, and Kavanaugh is neither.

    As for lobbyists and corruption in SD, I will refrain from labeling any lobbyist as corrupt absent some actual proof of corruption. Lobbying is an accepted profession and those that engage in lobbying can be honest or corrupt. Simply because someone is a lobbyist is not a valid reason to assume corruption.

    My grandfather, a promoter of mining endeavors, once was cross-examined by a lawyer. The lawyer asked a question that implied all promoters are dishonest. In response my grandfather testified, “there are some lawyers and there are some lawyers.” The lawyer said, “no further questions,” and slinked back to his seat.

    I am no fan of Noem, but I cannot in good faith criticize her for hiring a lobbyist for a government position, absent some basis to conclude the lobbyist will not act in good faith in the new position.

  6. grudznick 2018-11-13 19:58

    Where is all this corruption the libbies whine about? Where? Just squawking “corruption” like the Pirate Corruption Parrot (PCP) makes it no more true than this Mr. Ellison, who I hear is the most beater of women in all of Minnesota. He was a beater of them, I am told. Even the PCP involved in his daily rituals squawks it. Woman beater.

  7. Debbo 2018-11-13 20:09

    I don’t know if Ellison committed domestic abuse or not. There is no substantiation, as BCB said. I do know that his opponent was far, far worse than anything Ellison might have done. Wardlow was a known racist and misogynist per his own FB and other online postings. I’d have even voted for Grudz or OS over that guy. That’s how horrible he was!

    It’s not my assessment that SD is the most corrupt state. We just had a topic a few weeks ago about the fact that SD is rated #1. FYI, Minnesota annually ranks high on the Good Government list. You should try another state to criticize.

  8. grudznick 2018-11-13 20:19

    Beat her like a rug hanging from a clothesline with one of those dust pounders, he did.

  9. Roger Cornelius 2018-11-13 21:08

    I knew Russell Means since I was a youngster. When his family lived in Pine Ridge they lived in the same neighborhood. I was younger then Russ and we remained casual friends for years.
    His rise to the top leadership of AIM was quick and women would not leave him alone. Knowing Russ’s love of stardom and women I doubt he would have had to rape any woman.
    If he did rape a woman, it is only fair to ask for the evidence. Where are the police reports, court filings, etc?

  10. Lora 2018-11-13 21:36

    AND…I am pretty sure John Hansen got his law degree paid for when we passed legislation in 2011? (2012?) if he would work in an under served area (like Sioux Falls???)…i think Nick Mosier (sp) cashed in on this deal also….if so…now they are indebted puppets for the State who paid for their legal degree….

  11. Darin Larson 2018-11-14 08:43

    So, who is Jon Hansen going to represent in Pierre, his constituents in District 25 or his and his bosses’ lobbying clients? How can you work as a lobbyist and be an independent elected official representing your constituency?

  12. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2018-11-14 12:44

    If Jon Hansen is smart like Al Novstrup, he’ll say to District 25, “Look at the great relationship I have with the Governor’s chief of staff [if that’s the positive that “transition chief” turns into]. I basically have the governor’s ear! Keep voting for me!”

    That’s how crony corruption works, and that’s how Republicans (and, alas, too many voters) want things to work.

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