Because Senator Heidi Heitkamp is terrified that Congressman Kevin Cramer might run for her seat this year she’s deployed her surrogates to manufacture a scandal over Cramer paying family members to work for his campaign.
As I’ve already written, Cramer isn’t paying them very much. In fact, he spends to be paying his family a lot less than the sort of pay campaign professionals typically command. His wife, Kris Cramer, is earning a salary as his campaign manager that’s about half what campaign managers typically make.
Still, Heitkamp’s various surrogates are insisting that what Cramer is doing is untoward and unethical. In fact former U.S. Senator Kent Conrad was on KFGO (a pro-Heitkamp propaganda station operated by the Senator’s brother) today suggesting that Cramer paying family to work for his campaign is “reprehensible.”
Which is rich coming from a guy who married the manager of his 1986 Senate campaign just months after getting elected. By the way Conrad’s wife, Lucy Calautti, went on to be a highly paid lobbyist who lobbied her husband and other members of Congress. Which seems to me to be far more ethically dubious than Cramer paying his wife to manage his campaign.
Anyway, if paying family members to work for your campaign is unethical, why weren’t Democrats outraged last election cycle when their gubernatorial candidate Marvin Nelson paid his son-in-law to manage his campaign?
Josh Dryer, who is married to Nelson’s daughter, managed the erstwhile gubernatorial candidate’s campaign and was paid for his efforts as he confirmed to me this afternoon.
Heitkamp and the various media figures who carry her water want us to believe that sort of thing is unethical when a Republican like Kevin Cramer does it, but I don’t remember any of them complaining when one of their own did it.
To be clear, I had no problem at all with Nelson hiring a family member to manage his campaign, but then I also don’t have a problem with Cramer doing it.