Odd news for North Dakota’s U.S. Attorney today. Tim Purdon, who was appointed by President Barack Obama to serve North Dakota as the top federal prosecutor, is stepping down halfway through the President’s second term.
He says he’s going into private practice which, frankly, is a little weird.
The 46-year-old says he’s returning to private practice and will be establishing an office in Bismarck for a national law firm. He would not name the company.
Purdon says his office has made ”tremendous progress” in the past 4 1/2 years on key priorities, including improving safety on American Indian reservations and tackling crime in the state’s oil patch.
Purdon, of course, is the “dodo of the year” who made national headlines when he attempted to prosecute a group of oil companies for a few dead ducks.
There was a major delay in Purdon’s appointment. Obama, who was elected in 2008, didn’t give him the nod until 2010, and Purdon’s appointment directly from the Democrat National Committee created some hurdles for his confirmation.
So, basically, Purdon got a late start in office. Now he’s leaving early, and with little fanfare it seems.
What’s going on? Here are some possibilities:
First, this could be all about the money. Maybe Purdon is sick of being on the federal payroll and wants to cash in. It sounds, from the AP report, as though Purdon is going into lobbying. Purdon is refusing to name the company, which is also strange. Some political observers I’ve spoken to have speculated that it could be Alston Bird which hired former ND Congressman Earl Pomeroy when he was defeated, but that’s just speculation.
Second, maybe Purdon has aspirations for public office. He was very politically involved during his time before being appointed by the Justice Department – again, he was a member of the Democrat National Committee. Democrats have a very thin bench of candidates. Maybe Purdon is thinking of organizing a campaign for 2016, something he couldn’t do while on the federal payroll.
Third, given the odd timing and the lack of a press conference for this major change, maybe Purdon messed something up and the DoJ wants him gone. I’m not sure what that would be, but again the timing and method is strange.