Julie Frye Mueller scandal continues: Frye-Mueller unrepentant, complains, and new bill is to punish her

Now that EVERYONE IN THE STATE SENATE with the exception of one voted for her censure, Julie Frye-Mueller is apparently unrepentant, and taking no responsibility for her actions. As she has just issued a statement to that effect, and claiming that “the language contained in the staff person’s statement was shocking and filthy and is not what I said.”

Unfortunately for Frye-Mueller, nobody but her seat mate believed her.

And in her statement, she brings up a new bill that has been introduced which would prevent her husband, whom she has given unheard of authority for a legislative spouse, to be a lobbyist at the same time:


Rapid City, SD (January 27, 2023) – Today, the South Dakota Senate reinstated Senator Julie Frye-Mueller, with a public ensure and restricting her interactions with the Legislative Research Council. In response, Senator Julie Frye-Mueller has issued the following statement:

“I am thankful to rightfully return to the South Dakota Senate to represent the citizens of District 30.  The action of this body in suspending the Rules of the Senate to immediately suspend a member WITHOUT DUE PROCESS on an accusation alone without evidence is simply unjust.  The consequence of these actions were to silence the voices of over 25,000 people.  Now deadlines for some legislative action have passed without any obvious remedy.

If lawmakers can silence me without any due process and by ignoring the law, or suspending the rules and laws we instituted, why do we make such laws? Their failure to respond to my continued requests clearly appears to be an orchestrated attempt to obstruct my ability to defend myself and is politically motivated.  We were given only 27 hours to even know what was being claimed and to coordinate legal counsel and witnesses.

As I said in my sworn testimony, the language contained in the staff person’s statement was shocking and filthy and is not what I said or conveyed.  That aspect of the conversation was entirely fabricated.  The permanent damage done to my reputation and that of my family is a stain that will not go away.

The actions of these Senators will likely serve as a deterrent to anyone who might consider public service.  In fact, I understand that there is already a Bill (SB 197) being submitted as, what appears to be, additional retribution.  When will the attacks end?

Finally, the actions of the Senate are absolutely unprecedented.  However, I will do all that I can to continue to be an advocate for District 30 and the people of South Dakota.  I am grateful for the tremendous outpouring of support for me and my family in the midst of this attack.  God bless you all.”

The bill, Senate Bill 197, reads as follows:

As I had noted last night, as part of her and her husband’s testimony,

It came up that Frye-Mueller’s husband is not just up as session as her spouse, but he’s a registered lobbyist for Citizens for Liberty. AND they admitted under oath that he is a designated contact for Frye-Mueller on her legislative matters with LRC. How exactly does his status as her legislative contact and a lobbyist for Citizens for Liberty work?

Haugaard attempted to walk that back by noting Mueller is “an unpaid lobbyist.” But why would that matter?  From his wife’s request, he has more access to LRC than any other spouse, and practically more access to LRC than any other Lobbyist.

There’s no wall between Mueller’s liaison and lobbyist roles.

Read that here.

As I’d noted, what has become apparent is that there is literally no wall between her husband handling her legislation and being a private lobbyist for Citizens for Liberty. If there ever was one.

Little wonder she has ranked at the highest levels of their scorecard, and in 2018 had actually put in a bill to directly benefit Citizens for Liberty:

The measure was an attempt to pass legislation allowing use of the Legislative Research Council to do the dirty work of groups such as the Citizens for Liberty, who were strongly involved in the measure, because they want research help to assist in attacking legislators.

“This is a positive step toward more open government,” Frye-Mueller said. She asked House members to “lift the roadblock” that prohibits the Legislative Research Council from putting together voting records by lawmaker.

“The data can be organized by any relevant statistic,” Weaver said. “Most people just want to know how does their legislator vote.”


Weaver said she was willing to accept a report after each legislative session.

Rep. Larry Rhoden, R-Union Center, picked apart Weaver’s group. The committee chairman said a scorecard assembled in the past by Weaver was “extremely distorted.”


“I will tell you this: I chose the bills,” Weaver said. She considered perspectives from some lobbyists and from her board.

Mickelson again urged defeat.“To this point, our legislative research staff has been nonpartisan. That is very important to the impartiality they bring to the work they do for all of us,” Mickelson said. “There’s a lot of judgment compiling a voting record.”


Rhoden said it was easy to track his record. “And it continues to get easier,” he said.

Rhoden added that he was “extremely, extremely disappointed” by the Weaver group’s attempt to reach “a predetermined outcome.”

Read that here.

So, the spouse of the President of the conservative Citizens for Liberty group (Rep. Julie Frye-Mueller), and Tonchi Weaver, the ‘project director’ for Citizens for Liberty, want a law commanding the state Legislative Research Council to do their research?

Read that here.

If Julie thinks it’s a measure directed at punishing her, she should probably take a hard look.

Because it’s less related to punishment, and more about how uncomfortably close the association actually is.

25 thoughts on “Julie Frye Mueller scandal continues: Frye-Mueller unrepentant, complains, and new bill is to punish her”

    1. Nobody believes that JFM didn’t just bring up vaccines. She saw somebody that couldn’t run and she gave them an earful on vaccines. Anybody that has had any interaction with her would believe that. I don’t even know her and she chose to chew me out the last time she was walking by and heard that I got a flu shot.

      1. Why on earth was anyone discussing your flu shot in public? Maybe Julie should have called 911 to have the police come and get you away from her while they investigated you for “harassment”…

        1. At least I didn’t say that her baby was going to die and that her husband should suck on her breast. Lord help me get that image out of my head…

          1. I’m not convinced Julie actually said either of those things, but the stuff about lactation would have been common medical advice and not criminal harassment.

            Clutch those pearls.

            1. “common medical advice” does not include accusations of apostasy and hints that the baby is going to die and the mother will burn in hell

              1. What defense could any legislator possibly offer against allegations of “hints”? This is a mockery of justice.

    2. “Nobody who understands the unnecessarily dirty nature of politics believes this …”

      Mr. Dale, tell me which is more probable:

      That all 33 senators (97% of the 34 eligible voters) who voted for censure are motivated by the “dirty nature of politics”, or that the one (1) single, solitary senator who voted against it was the one motivated by political motives.

      It’s been awhile since I took Probability and Statistics, but I know which one I’m leaning toward…

      1. Would you as a libertarian apply the same reasoning to all of Ron Paul’s “lonely no” votes in Congress? He was up against hundreds of ayes, so their percentage would have been even greater.

        You’re entitled to your low opinion of Julie. I’m sure you’re more familiar with her than I am, and I’m pretty sure I’d have voted for you over her, but the accusations in the anonymous staffer’s statement didn’t meet the legal definition of harassment, and formally censuring a state legislator based on the testimony of a witness she was never even allowed to publicly cross-examine is a mockery of justice.

        1. Well now, you do make a very valid point about Ron Paul. Justin Amash, too, for that matter. I don’t have much of a rebuttal, other than to say I tend to put a lot more faith in the men and women of our local, part-time, civilian legislature than I do in the fat-cat, career politicians in Washington.

          The rest of what you say, however, I can’t necessarily get behind (perhaps other than your gracious nod to my past electoral ventures, haha). Sen. Wheeler made a very excellent floor speech today about the duties of his committee, and of the Senate at large, to protect the employees whose job descriptions require them to interface with the legislature.

          During my time as a restaurant owner, I employed around 125 very unique souls. Believe me when I say there were occasionally conflicts. Most were petty in nature, but some were extremely serious. It was my job to hear each side out, collect what evidence I could, and then make a judgement based on the information I had at hand. I will say, in nine years, I don’t believe I ever once had one party “cross-examine” another during the more serious cases. In lieu of any hard evidence (for instance, watching the security camera and seeing, yes, he did in fact pull her hair… real example, I might add), my decisions often came down to the credibility of the parties at hand, their track records, and in some cases, my gut instinct.

          I feel like the senators had a similar kind of decision to make here. There were no recordings to which to refer (at least none I’m aware of). They had to look at the same sorts of factors. They made the decision they did, given the information they had available, knowing what they do about the parties involved. And only one out of 34 differed on it. Even the others who originally voted not to suspend voted to censure. Ron Paul and Justin Amash notwithstanding, I think that speaks volumes to the decision that was made.

          Look, I’m not naive enough to think politics couldn’t have possibly played any role whatsoever in all this. But the completely lopsided nature of the vote certainly puts my mind at much more ease than, say, a 21-13 vote would have. It seems to me Lee Schoenbeck could be the most effective, dominating leader in the history of the state senate and still not be able to reliably muster 97% of votes on a purely political issue. Your mileage may — and apparently does — vary. It’s a free country, and as you noted, you’re entitled to your opinion as well. 🙂

          1. Your restaurant belonged to you. The state legislature belongs to the state’s citizens. There has to be a public cross-examination in order for the citizens to evaluate the subsequent votes of their representatives, and legislators aren’t accountable representatives if they’re allowed to make up their own definitions of “harassment” without the citizens even knowing what those definitions are.

            1. So, now that the transcript has come out, I think Sen. Frye-Mueller’s counsel actually did a lot of cross-examination. About 40% of the transcript is Haugaard and Trask examining the employee, at least by my quick reckoning of page numbers. I guess I was under the impression that they didn’t have the chance. Have your thoughts changed on this, given new information?

              1. Yes, I’ve become even more convinced that the cross-examination should have been public and that, in addition to not meeting the legal definition of harassment, the anonymous staffer’s accusations aren’t true.

    3. upshot: when a bunch of people you don’t like or respect anyway vote to censure you, big deal. it’ll be like a badge of honor. that’s the shameless part of this.

    1. An uninformed electorate is to blame. Electing politicians pretending to be Republicans in the primaries is the root cause of this mockery.

      1. Amen, being antivax was the calling card of the far left and Hollywood Elite! Why does one aspect of the party want to emulate them so much?

  1. I completely agree the arrangement for JFM to allow her husband to represent her with LRC while also being a registered lobbyist is totally inappropriate, but I don’t think “there ought to be a law!” completely banning a spouse from being employed as a lobbyist is the right answer either.

    Seems like a bit of throwing the baby out with the baby water. There are better way to address this

    1. While I agree with you mostly, the FM made it necessary to address. They screech from the mountain tops about less government and bash others with their high moral and spiritual high ground when it is convenient. Everyone knows it is a conflict of interest, it is common sense, to have your spouse lobby and have privileged access to LRC. But yet the FM abused their privileges and have the attitude that “doesn’t apply to us”.

      Mark my words JFM will say in her floor speech against this bill “we had no idea …..”

  2. I would suggest that the “attacks” will cease once she stops suggesting to LRC staffers that they have their husbands “suck on their nipples” to aid in breast feeding. With her lobbyist husband in the room. There is no excuse for this and 33 Senators agreed.

  3. And the District 30 Senate Clowncar continues to roll on. If anyone thinks what JFM said/did wasn’t harassment, they need to take a gander at almost every large employer’s employee handbook along with the US Dept of Labor laws and regulations. Wake up District 30 voters! You should be ashamed that you have a Senator that, instead of being concerned about taxes, funding for schools, helping our elderly and disabled while supporting economic development and our law enforcement, she’s pitching wild vaccination and transgender conspiracy theories along with unproven lactation methods.

      1. Anny, the transgender conspiracy theories are also part of JFM’s schtick. She is one of those unfortunates without a functioning bullshit detector.

        There is a problem with social media which allows the proliferation of misinformation as a revenue source for unscrupulous people. In addition to crazy conspiracy stuff, there are people making bogus videos of horticultural propagation (using the roots of scallions and glueing them to the bottoms of other plants, which are actually funny to watch) and horrendous animal “rescue” videos (which involve beating and starving pets and then making videos purporting to show how they were “rescued,” which are not funny to watch.) They get views, they get subscribers, they get advertisers, they get paid. They are called “influencers.”

        John Dale has revealed himself to be a fan of Dr Robert Malone, who now makes a living (estimated at over $30,000/month) as an “influencer” about how he deserves a Nobel Prize for inventing a vaccine that doesn’t work.
        Rather than talk to their own physicians, people believe the garbage they hear from social media “influencers,” apparently unaware these “influencers” will say ANYTHING to get more viewers and subscribers.

    1. What next? Life saving common vaccines are turning people into being Transgender? Secret government plot? Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Gender Fluid Mind control micro chips in vaccines?

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