Rep. Ruth Buffalo Is Not a Victim Because Somebody Asked Her About Her Travel Expenses

Recently elected Ruth Buffalo celebrates after being sworn in on Dec. 3 to serve the North Dakota House of Representatives. Photo courtesy of Lea Black Photography

Earlier this week I wrote a post about state Rep. Ruth Buffalo and an appearance she made at a left wing rally in Tennessee sponsored by Represent.us.

That group was one of the big-money backers behind the Measure 1 “ethics” campaign last cycle, and it sure seemed odd to me that a lawmaker attending an event put on by a group that’s supposedly in favor of government transparency and accountability would be reticent to disclose any remuneration she may have received for doing so.

When politicians duck tough questions, that’s a story in my mind.

Instead of talking to me, Buffalo retreated to the friendly and credulous environs of a left wing media outlet. She disclosed to the High Plains Reader that her “Lodging expenses totaled $578.94, and $848 for her economy seat on United Airlines.” She also told the publication she’s thinking of paying the money back, even though she doesn’t believe there was anything unlawful or unethical about accepting it.

How dare we nefarious right wingers ask an elected official for details about her financial relationship with a political group active in North Dakota politics.

To be clear, I don’t think it’s unethical for Buffalo to have accepted that money. I don’t even think it should be illegal. That’s why I opposed Measure 1 and its byzantine restrictions on that sort of activity.

Anyway, the HPR report didn’t get around to disclosing Buffalo’s financial relationship with this group until the ninth paragraph. Instead the lede of the piece was, as the headline states, “RIGHT WING MEDIA ATTACK REP. BUFFALO, AGAIN…”

Yes. How dare we nefarious right wingers ask an elected official for details about her financial relationship with a political group active in North Dakota politics.

Buffalo told HPR she refused to answer the question when I asked it because – and this is “reporter” C.S. Hagen attributing words to Buffalo, not quoting her directly – I’m not a real journalist.

Of course, I’m not sure why one need be a journalist to ask a question like this. It could just as well have come from a concerned member of the public.

It’s a perfectly fair question, asked politely via email. That Buffalo felt her answer was going to be grounds for criticism – “she said she knows her words will be twisted” Hagen writes – is irrelevant.

If Buffalo doesn’t want to be criticized she shouldn’t have run for public office.

Buffalo is not a victim because a member of the media asked her about her travel expenses.

Carrying on as though she were is downright embarrassing.

What Buffalo wants is an echo chamber, and no politician should get that. They should either face the tough questions, or find something else to do with their time.

Rob Port is the editor of SayAnythingBlog.com, a columnist for the Forum News Service, and host of the Plain Talk Podcast which you can subscribe to by clicking here.

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