Randy Seiler for Attorney General

Home » Fort Pierre’s Randy Seiler to retire as U.S. attorney for SD

By Stephen Lee stephen.lee@capjournal.com Nov 19, 2017

 U.S. Attorney for South Dakota, Randy Seiler, said he will announce Monday his retirement. Seiler, of Fort Pierre, is shown here earlier this year announcing charges against a ring of people trafficking in eagle feathers. Born in Mobridge, Seiler has lived in Fort Pierre for more than two decades. (File photo)

U.S. Attorney for South Dakota, Randy Seiler, said he will announce Monday his retirement. Seiler, of Fort Pierre, is shown here earlier this year announcing charges against a ring of people trafficking in eagle feathers. Born in Mobridge, Seiler has lived in Fort Pierre for more than two decades. (File photo)

Randy Seiler of Fort Pierre will announce Monday his retirement as U.S. attorney for South Dakota, he told the Capital Journal.

A career federal prosecutor in South Dakota, Seiler, 71, has been working as U.S. attorney since March 2015. That’s when Brendan Johnson resigned to take a job with a Minneapolis-based law firm and Seiler – Johnson’s top assistant – was named acting U.S. attorney.

On Oct. 8, 2015, President Barack Obama nominated Seiler to officially become the state’s top federal prosecutor.

But when the Senate failed to confirm him within the required time, U.S. District Chief Judge Jeffrey Viken appointed Seiler U.S. attorney effective Feb. 5, 2016.

By law, he would remain in the office until a president replaced him.

When President Trump took office in January 2017, he soon sent out a list –  as other presidents have done – of many U.S. attorneys he asked to resign.

Seiler was not on that list.

But in July Trump did nominate a replacement for Seiler:  Ron Parsons, a Sioux Falls attorney with Republican credentials.

In late September, Parson’s name was one of several U.S. attorney nominees sent by the White House to the Senate for confirmation. According to news reports, Trump has been slower than President Obama and President George W. Bush in filling positions in his administration, from cabinet positions to U.S. attorneys.

When he was nominated by Obama, Seiler, a registered Democrat, got good words from Republican leaders in South Dakota.

“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,” state Attorney General Marty Jackley said in October 2015.

Jackley was U.S. attorney in South Dakota 2006-2009.

Sen. Mike Rounds said in October 2015 in a news release: “Randy is a friend who has earned the respect and admiration of many South Dakotans. He has the experience, integrity and professionalism necessary to faithfully uphold the constitution and protect South Dakotans. I applaud President Obama for nominating Randy to this post and look forward to his quick approval by the Senate.”

In October 2015, Seiler had to resign from the Fort Pierre City Council after less than a year, because of the conflict of being nominated U.S. attorney.

“I’m very proud of Randy as a Fort Pierre guy,” Mayor Gloria Hanson told the Capital Journal in October 2015. “This is a high honor and it’s something he’s worked hard for and is certainly deserving of of the post. So I’m very happy about that. But I’m not happy he will have to leave the Council. He’s become an extremely valuable member who works well with others.”

Born in Mobridge in 1946, Seiler grew up and graduated high school in Herreid.

He attended South Dakota State University for a couple of years taking general classes then served in the Air Force 1966-1970, including year, in 1968 and 1969, doing “intelligence communication” in Vietnam.

He was a sergeant when he left the Air Force.

By 1973, he earned a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice at the University of Nebraska-Omaha.

He was a partner in a private law firm in Mobridge from 1981-1995 when he began working as a federal prosecutor.

While working in Mobridge, he was a deputy state’s attorney for Campbell County from 1988-1994, according to his biography he sent to the Senate Judiciary Committee for the Judiciary as a U.S. attorney nominee.

From 1973-1977 he worked as a planner for the state public safety department.

He attended graduate school while working full time and graduated from law school at the University of South Dakota in 1980.

He and his wife, Wanda, have four grown children and two grandchildren.

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