Heitkamp Derides Out of State Political Money, Got Just 6.8 Percent of First Quarter Fundraising Haul From North Dakotans


U.S. Sen. Heidi Heitkamp talks about the prospect of temporarily housing refugee children at the Grand Forks Air Force Base during a recent visit to the Grand Forks Herald Editorial Board. photo by Eric Hylden/Grand Forks Herald

End Citizens United, a left wing anti-free speech group, has given North Dakota Senator Heidi Heitkamp an award for her work in trying to pass legislation which would restrict and inhibit the ability of private citizens to voluntarily give money to private groups for expenditure on political activities.

Because what do you think this is, a free country or something?

Anyway, in accepting the award, Senator Heitkamp got all sanctimonious about out of state money influencing North Dakota elections.

“Billionaires outside North Dakota who don’t know anything about our state shouldn’t be able to impact North Dakotans’ opinions or how they vote through secret organizations that don’t have to disclose their donors,” Heitkamp said in a release reacting to the award. “It’s one example of the many problems with our campaign finance system, and it needs to change.”

This is rich.

I mean, I laughed out loud when I read that statement.

Seriously. I startled my wife. I almost woke up the kids last night.

Why so funny? So far in the 2018 cycle Senator Heitkamp’s re-election campaign is being funded almost exclusively by out of state interests.

Just 6.8 percent of the itemized individual contributions in Heitkamp’s most recent fundraising report filed with the FEC (see below) came from North Dakota citizens. Itemized contributions from North Dakota voters made up less than 3 percent of Heitkamp’s total fundraising figure in the report.

The incumbent also took a mountain of money from political committees, even when compared to high-profile Senators in other far more populous states.

Heitkamp is clearly nervous about her re-election chances in 2018. So much so that she and her left wing allies have been launching preemptive political strikes aimed at making her reelection look plausible. Part of that strategy was a leak of her Q1 2017 fundraising figures weeks ahead of actually filing them with the FEC.

The $1.6 million she reported in April is a big number by North Dakota standards, but what she was no doubt hoping we’d gloss over is the fact that less than 3 percent of her total haul is represented by itemized contributions from North Dakotans.

To be clear, unlike Senator Heitkamp, I think Americans both as individuals and when organized into groups should be able to spend their money on politics however they want to (if you give money to a politician that should be disclosed, money given to private groups should be private).

But if she’s going to rail against out-of-state influence in North Dakota politics, she needs to be called a hypocrite.

Because as her FEC filings show, Heitkamp clearly has no problem with out-of-state money as long as it’s flowing into her campaign.

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