The Fargo Forum lavishes praise today on soon-to-be-former U.S. Attorney Tim Purdon who announced that he was stepping down to join a private sector law firm alongside the U.S. Attorney of South Dakota who is also resigning.
Not mentioned anywhere in the Forum’s hagiography is the fact that Purdon was a hugely controversial pick for U.S. attorney and seemed to perform his job more with an eye towards politics than common sense law enforcement.
[mks_pullquote align=”right” width=”300″ size=”24″ bg_color=”#000000″ txt_color=”#ffffff”]…if Purdon was as passionate about these issues as he told us he was, if he cared about them as much as he claimed, why is he abandoning them early?[/mks_pullquote]
His misguided attempt at prosecuting some oil companies operating in North Dakota over a couple of dozen dead ducks brought shame to his office. It was ridiculed by national media as a blatantly political prosecution, and even became an example of the Obama administration’s war on fossil fuels during a 2012 presidential debate.
Purdon may have met the criteria to be feted by the Fargo Forum – he’s an orthodox liberal and Democrat insider with a big chip on his shoulder about fossil fuels – but by more rational measures he was ineffective, at best.
But let’s set all that aside for a moment. Let’s pretend as though Purdon was actually doing a good job as U.S. Attorney. Are we not to question, then, why he’s leaving early?
He arrived late. There was a major delay in Purdon’s nomination and confirmation. 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.
Now, after arriving late, Purdon is leaving early.
After years of Purdon grandstanding on what are very real problems with human trafficking, drug trafficking, and organized crime in western North Dakota, he’s leaving early.
President Obama won’t have time to vet, nominate, and get confirmed a replacement for Purdon by the time his second term is finished next year. So in the mean time these very real problems in western North Dakota, problems Purdon championed while in office, will be left to an interim U.S. Attorney.
Which isn’t to say that the interim federal prosecutor won’t be competent. But if Purdon was as passionate about these issues as he told us he was, if he cared about them as much as he claimed, why is he abandoning them early?
That’s a question Purdon should answer.