It would help if the Democrats understood their own talking points.
One such talking point North Dakota Democrats have been pushing over the last couple of years is this idea that North Dakota needs an “ethics commission” to investigate political wrong-doing. Because that has worked out so well in Washington D.C., right?
By way of illustrating just what a shallow talking point it is, consider this reaction from North Dakota Democrat party executive director Robert Haider to news that Republican gubernatorial candidate Doug Burgum has formed a campaign committee:
Burgum did absolutely have a donate button on his website (which is a pretty low-rent site for a guy who made a fortune in the tech industry) last week, apparently before he formed his campaign committee. I’m not sure if that’s a violation. Can a candidate accept donations before a committee is in place? I know other candidates have talked about needing to form committees in order to accept checks already sent to them. Burgum has mentioned that he’s received donations. Is there a grace period before he has to form a committee to officially accept them?
I don’t know. If there is an infraction here, and that seems like a big if, it is a minor one.
But hey, the rules are the rules.
The larger point is that Haider apparently doesn’t understand of his own party’s key talking points. If Burgum did something wrong, why doesn’t Haider file a complaint? We already have laws which govern campaign committees and political donations. We don’t need an ethics commission to investigate wrong-doing. And Democrats certainly haven’t been shy about throwing around utterly bogus and hypocritical accusations in past cycles.
I suspect Haider will restrict his complaints to Twitter, however, which is revealing.
It almost makes you think that when Democrats say they want an ethics commission, what they really want is a mechanism through which they can smear their political enemies with innuendo.
UPDATE: This would seem to answer the legal question:
@robport They have 15 business days after receiving a donation to register their committee as per the Secretary of State's office.
— Ryan Laffen (@rlaffen) January 19, 2016
So not only does the executive director of the North Dakota Democrat party not understand his own party’s talking point, he’s apparently got a pretty lose grasp on state election law too. Which is troubling for a political professional.