MINOT, N.D. — I am not using the word “scandal” in the headline of this column casually. I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about that word, and its definition, and I think it applies to the debacle in Bismarck right now.
It started with a budget overrun for new office space, and deleted emails, and now we know a state lawmaker benefited financially from the Attorney General’s Office leasing space in a building he would come to own, but this rabbit hole goes so much deeper.
On the emails front, our Jeremy Turley has a report today indicating that state ITD officials may not have been as rigorous in trying to retrieve the accounts for former Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem, or his deputy Troy Seibel, that were ordered deleted by Liz Brocker, Stenehjem’s long-time assistant. ITD officials are only just now bringing in outside help to assist with recovery efforts .
But there’s more, much of it coming from a scathing report issued by Auditor Josh Gallion’s office this week. Gallion was among the first people contacted by current Attorney General Drew Wrigley when he became aware of irregularities, and it’s hard to know where to begin with what his audit uncovered.