Pay-to-Play: Cramer’s “Conflicts of Interest” as Public Service Commissioner

(BISMARCK, ND) – Kevin Cramer’s history of pay-to-play is well-documented. While he was on the Public Service Commission, Cramer “willingly took thousands of dollars in campaign contributions from a coal mining company they were making decisions about.” This lead to a suit alleging that Cramer took “improper campaign contributions,” with the judge writing that Cramer’s actions were “ill-advised, devoid of common sense, and raises legitimate questions as to the appearance of impropriety.” As The Forum’s Jim Shaw writes, his actions “sure didn’t pass the smell test.”

Bottom line: Kevin Cramer always has, and always will, put himself first.

More on Cramer’s political opportunism:

Associated Press:

  • The Dickinson-based Dakota Resource Council and the Sierra Club filed a lawsuit last year aiming to stop the PSC from regulating the mining industry. The groups accused […] former [Public Service] commissioner Kevin Cramer — now the state’s sole member of the U.S. House of Representatives — of taking improper campaign contributions from coal mining officials.
  • [The judge who ruled on the case] said that while accepting such contributions maybe be legal, the decision to do so is “ill-advised, devoid of common sense, and raises legitimate questions as to the appearance of impropriety.”
  • The environmental groups allege $50,000 had been funneled to the commissioners from coal industry officials since 2006. According to the lawsuit, Cramer received more than $10,000 in donations from Houston businessman Corbin Robertson Jr. and his wife, Barbara, from 2008 through 2011.

Bismarck Tribune editorial:

  • “[W]hen it comes to campaign contributions and industry regulation, perception is reality.” Cramer’s decision to take these contributions “raises questions about… impartiality.”

Politico: “Paying family with campaign funds could dog Cramer in Senate bid.”

HEADLINE: KFYR: Rep. Kevin Cramer’s campaign fund use comes into question

McFeely: “It looks for all the world like Cramer is running because the pieces were in place to get a better job, even if he wasn’t convinced he wanted it in the first place. Opportunism.”

High Plains Reader: “Hamm and his net worth of $19.5 billion became the decision maker for Cramer accepting Hamm as his national finance chairman.”

WDAY: “[Cramer] didn’t want to risk losing his seat in the House… It was a call from oil tycoon Harold Hamm, whose net worth is $18 billion, that finally tipped the scales” to him running for U.S. Senate.