Sens. Heckaman and Potter demand answers at Press Conference Thursday

Calls for investigations mount as Senate Minority Leader Joan Heckaman and D-35 Senator Tracy Potter demand answers regarding multiple issues that have engulfed the Attorney General’s office over the past few weeks.

“There seems to be a lack of authority to even lease this building, let alone pay for improvements to a building the state does not even own. The benefits of the overrun will only enhance the value of that building for the owners—which is not the state. Also, the committee heard from Mr. Boyle, Facility Manager, that he was unaware of this project. I go back to the old game show on TV, The Weakest Link. There certainly were some weak links here, and I am asking the Governor and Attorney General to initiate a complete investigation into this matter immediately,” urged Heckaman.

Potter sent a letter to the Attorney General’s office on July 26, 2022 noting laws that appear to have been broken when former AG Stenehjem’s email account was deleted.

“We’re seeking legislative solutions. It is better to ask these questions of the Attorney General today, so when we meet on August 24—that’s the next meeting of Government Administration—we’re dealing with answers, not questions.” Potter said, “There are state laws in place. They were violated. They were ignored”

Heckaman also brought up mysterious circumstances about her removal from the Appropriations Subcommittee. “I served in Appropriations and on the subcommittee for the AG’s Budget. I could not recall this happening but just before the conference committee with the House on this budget, former Senator Holmberg removed me from that subcommittee and replaced me with Sen. Mathern, who had not been part of any of this subcommittee work over several weeks. Why did that happen? Did I ask the wrong question or the right question? I don’t know.”

At the end of her speech, Heckaman thanked the media for bringing as much information forward to the people of North Dakota through your work. “The citizens do not have the luxury of attending every committee or subcommittee work. That is our job as legislators, but you have done an excellent job of bringing issues forward.”

Heckaman emphasized, “I’m going to amplify my original request to the Governor and current Attorney General to begin a complete investigation, including the Information Technology Department, who actually did the deleting. Someone is not informed on policies and procedures and that needs fixing, but a complete investigation with an audit of the lease and overrun needs to be done immediately. The longer we wait, the more evidence that fades away.”