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Thursday, July 18, 2024
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    HomePoliticsNorth Dakota Gov. Burgum once again making hefty political donations - InForum

    North Dakota Gov. Burgum once again making hefty political donations – InForum

    BISMARCK — During the 2020 election cycle, North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum gave more than $3.2 million of his personal fortune to a secretive political committee that spent heavily to support candidates who aligned with him and to oppose those who didn’t.

    Campaign finance records filed last week indicate Burgum is making moves to be a major political donor again in 2022.

    The former tech mogul recently gave $935,000 to the Dakota Leadership PAC, a committee that spent nearly $3.5 million on political advertising in 2020.

    Nate Martindale, Dakota Leadership PAC’s treasurer, did not immediately respond to Forum News Service’s voicemail seeking comment about the committee’s campaign finance filing.

    In response to Forum News Service’s voicemail seeking comment about the governor’s donations, Burgum’s campaign spokesperson Dawson Schefter emailed the following statement:

    “The governor has been an active donor to Republican candidates and causes for years and strongly supports the mission of Dakota Leadership PAC,” Schefter said.

    Calculations made using the filings reveal that the committee has spent $232,000 this year, but Dakota Leadership PAC’s designation as a “multicandidate committee” means it does not legally have to report exactly how or where it spends money.

    In 2020

    the group’s name appeared

    on widely distributed political mailers and multimedia ads. Many of the ads promoted Burgum-aligned campaigns, like former state Rep. Thomas Beadle’s run for state treasurer.

    However, some ads took shots at Burgum’s conservative political adversaries. Most notably, the group targeted powerful House Appropriations Chairman Jeff Delzer, R-Underwood, in his race against two Burgum-backed Republican challengers, David Andahl and Dave Nehring. Delzer lost to Andahl and Nehring in the GOP primary, but

    Andahl died of COVID-19

    before he could begin serving in the Legislature and local Republicans reappointed Delzer to fill the vacancy.

    North Dakota Republican Rep. Jeff Delzer chairs a meeting of the House Appropriations Committee at the state Capitol on March 14, 2019.

    Forum News Service file photo

    Leading GOP lawmakers said at the time that Burgum’s financing of attack ads aimed at fellow Republicans

    amounted to an improper interference in legislative races

    by the state’s executive branch.

    Though Burgum has denied having a strained relationship with the Republican-held Legislature, lawmakers have said the governor’s seven-figure campaign spending in 2020

    drove a wedge

    between the two branches.

    There is no state law prohibiting a public officeholder from making campaign contributions, but Rep. Jeff Magrum, a Hazelton Republican targeted by the Dakota Leadership PAC,

    sponsored an unsuccessful bill

    last year to bar North Dakota governors from making political contributions in legislative races.

    Citing a likely increase in required paperwork, lawmakers

    also killed legislation

    that would have required political committees like Dakota Leadership to disclose which campaigns they have supported or opposed with donations.

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