The chairman of North Dakota’s Democratic-NPL Party is criticizing Republican Gov. Doug Burgum for wanting “to buy his own government” through donations to a political group that has targeted GOP races.
“The governor likes to pretend that he’s some average North Dakotan, wearing his undirtied Carhartt for every ad he runs, but regular North Dakotans can’t donate millions of dollars to their own political action committee,” Democratic-NPL Party Chairman Patrick Hart said in a statement Wednesday.
Campaign finance disclosures show that Burgum, a wealthy former software executive, has given $935,000 this month to the Dakota Leadership PAC. Burgum’s former policy director is the group’s chairman.
Burgum campaign spokesman Dawson Schefter declined to comment on Hart’s statement. Schefter has previously said, “The governor has been an active donor to Republican candidates and causes for years and strongly supports the mission of Dakota Leadership PAC.”
Governor’s spokesman Mike Nowatzki did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment.
People are also reading…
Burgum in 2020 gave more than $3.2 million to the committee, which successfully targeted fellow Republicans who lost in party primary races to other Republicans favored by Burgum.
The group also mailed ads supporting State School Superintendent Kirsten Baesler’s successful 2020 reelection bid and blasting a ballot measure that voters defeated that fall.
Hart said, “The rich make themselves richer and more powerful, while regular North Dakotans suffer and lose more and more influence. We need to send a message in November that North Dakota is not for sale. I hope that when North Dakotans see ads from the Dakota Leadership PAC they know it’s Doug Burgum trying to buy more politicians for himself.”
Burgum in 2020 downplayed his donations as nothing unusual in politics, citing previous instances of executive branch officials and legislators supporting each other in elections. But some Republican Party leaders including former Gov. Ed Schafer and former State Treasurer Kelly Schmidt have viewed the Dakota Leadership PAC negatively.
North Dakota’s dominant Republican Party controls the Legislature and every state elected office.
Reach Jack Dura at 701-250-8225 or firstname.lastname@example.org.