On December 15 Fargo businessman Doug Burgum will stop being North Dakota’s Governor-elect and start being our state’s Governor. But his inauguration won’t happen until January, with his inaugural ball celebration happening January 4th.
And that event will be pricey, at least per the flyer below advertising sponsorship opportunities for it.
The document was sent to me by a reader and confirmed by Pam Kinsey of PKL Consulting, a fundraising and business development organization out of Illinois which is handling the sponsorships.
As you can see, $25,000 will get you two seats at the same table as Governor Burgum and his First Lady as well as some other benefits like photo opportunities and accessing to a VIP viewing area for the party.
There are $10,000 and $5,000 sponsorship tiers as well, though those come fewer perks and with no guarantee of proximity to the new Governor.
Kinsey told me that the money is flowing into the Citizens Inaugural Committee which has existed for multiple governors now. You can see a mention of the committee in this 2005 Bismarck Tribune article about then-Governor John Hoeven’s inauguration.
It is described as a “volunteer organization.”
I checked with Lee Ann Oliver, elections specialist at the North Dakota Secretary of State’s Office, and she said that since this committee exists to fund a party and not the election of a candidate there is nothing reported to the state.
I’m not necessarily being critical of this. It’s been happening for a while now, and I guess if people want to shell out big bucks to hob nob with the political elite that’s their right. But it is interesting, particularly for a Governor whose campaign took a decidedly populist bent.
Remember when Burgum was telling us about how he was a political outsider who wouldn’t even accept his gubernatorial salary? We’re a long way from there, I think.
So it goes.
UPDATE: Originally this post stated that the date of the inaugural part was January 5. That was incorrect. I’ve updated it to the correct date.
Here’s the flyer: