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Senate Agrees That Frye-Mueller’s Husband’s Lobbying Opens Door to Corruption, Approves Ban on Legislator Spouses as Lobbyists

The Senate continues to tweak censured Senator Julie Frye-Mueller (R-30/Rapid City). This week, the Senate approved Senate Bill 197, which would ban legislators’ spouses from working as private lobbyists. Senator Frye-Mueller’s husband Mike Mueller lobbies for the right-wing Citizens for Liberty (and knowingly smiles and nods when his wife gives unsolicited advice about stimulating milk production).

Prime sponsor Senator Michael Rohl (R-1/Aberdeen) says lobbying by legislators’ spouses creates a danger of (more) corruption in Pierre:

Rohl argued that lobbyists who have such intimate relationships with legislators have greater access to legislators, a “path to bribe legislators” and an “undisputable advantage” compared to other lobbyists or the general public.

“This would allow us to better serve the people of our state and not just the highest bidder,” Rohl said [Makenzie Huber, “Bill Barring Legislative Spouses from Becoming Lobbyists Passes Senate Committee,” South Dakota Searchlight, 2023.02.13].

Rohl also suggested SB 197 could apply to unpaid lobbyists like Mueller:

Rohl said the bill would apply to any lobbyist who receives benefits from a lobbying firm. Lobbyists do not need to be paid to receive benefits, he said [Huber, 2023.02.13].

SB 197 passed Senate State Affairs Monday 8–1. It passed the full Senate yesterday 22–13, with nays from Frye-Mueller, a few other Republicans, and, curiously, Democratic Senator Red Dawn Foster (D-27/Pine Ridge), who, as a member of the only party taking a real stand against corruption in Pierre, one would happily encourage Republicans to pass any measure that removes conflicts of interest from an often incestuous state government.


  1. John 2023-02-15 06:47

    Well intended, yet perhaps SB197 runs afoul of the First Amendment.

  2. P. Aitch 2023-02-15 06:52

    Mel Brooks couldn’t write a better satire than SD politics lives every winter. ✍️
    Blazing Saddles –

  3. Dicta 2023-02-15 08:22

    Perhaps he could just change his title to lactation consultant.

  4. Donald Pay 2023-02-15 08:41

    This is the kind of bill that ought to die quickly. It is a direct attack on the First Amendment rights of any spouse. If the spouse is lobbying, disclosure should be required, as for all lobbyists. From my experience lobbying, they need to tighten up the disclosure requirements for all lobbyists to include a lot more financial disclosure.

  5. e platypus onion 2023-02-15 08:55

    Could team up with Lewdandlusty and become the La Lecher League. Breasts and electric trains were made for kids, but, grownup guys like them, too.

  6. Loren 2023-02-15 10:26

    Much like Clarence and Ginny, I doubt if Julie and Mike discuss their separate interests/careers………………. HAH! ;-)

  7. Mark Anderson 2023-02-15 13:03

    Come on, just look at all those Saudi bucks that came to America by incestuous means.

  8. ska sunka 2023-02-15 14:52

    This is what happens all the time. Things go well until some dumass screws things up for everybody. Then we have to make a law.

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