Byron Dorgan’s Mansion Profiled In Home & Design Magazine


There’s something ironically hilarious about Senator Byron Dorgan – “the old populist, man of the people” as the reader who emailed me the link described – showing off his McLean, Virginia mansion to Home & Design, “The magazine of architecture and fine interiors.”

“Of course he waited to open his doors until after leaving office,” the reader emails. Indeed, it would have been unseemly for Dorgan to show off these posh digs while simultaneously claiming, as his “official” residence, a dumpy apartment in a Bismarck complex owned by his former colleague Kent Conrad (who claimed, as his official residence, the apartment across the hall).

Anyway, Dorgan and his wife live in a beautiful home now. The pictures are fantastic, as is the article. It’s all about Dorgan’s “fabulous personal style,” and “a continuous color palette of sage, terracotta and warm yellows and conjuring a look that would give the interiors a ‘European edge’.”

But it’s all rather incongruous to the persona Dorgan claimed while serving in the Senate.

Remember when North Dakota Democrats were railing against former Congressman Rick Berg for being one of the wealthiest members of Congress? Senator Heidi Heitkamp made a big stink about it during her campaign against Berg last year.

Well here’s the thing: Rick Berg made his fortune after a life time in the private sector. He has started businesses, made investments, took risks and reaped rewards all in the private sector. He’s a wealthy man now because he made himself wealthy.

Byron Dorgan, on the other hand, spent a lifetime in public office – from being appointed North Dakota Tax Commissioner in 1969 to retiring from the US Senate in 2010 – and made his fortune while working in government.

I ask you, which is the more unseemly? An entrepreneur like Rick Berg making his wealth in the private sector, or a lifetime politician like Byron Dorgan getting rich while serving the public?

Update: A reader suggests that it’s income from Dorgan’s wife that has made them rich, not necessarily his income. That’s fair, Kimberly Dorgan does rake it in. According to the IRS form 990 filed by her employer (see below), the American Council of Life Insurers, Mrs. Dorgan earned nearly $800,000 in salary and other compensation in 2011.

Of course, Mrs. Dorgan’s earning potential is helped along in no small part by the fact that her husband was, until 2010, serving in the US Senate.

Kimberly Dorgan Earnings by

Rob Port is the editor of In 2011 he was a finalist for the Watch Dog of the Year from the Sam Adams Alliance and winner of the Americans For Prosperity Award for Online Excellence. In 2013 the Washington Post named SAB one of the nation's top state-based political blogs, and named Rob one of the state's best political reporters.

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  • whowon

    Another civil servant…

    • Kevin Flanagan

      Yeah, because servants are all millionaires with lifetime income and healthcare for themselves and their family members.

  • The Whistler

    How does one get rich on a Senators salary?

    • Rob

      There are lots of ways.

    • Kevin Flanagan

      You get a ghost writer to write a book and then have all the people you have done political favors for purchase truckloads of them to launder the money.

      Byron was also able to legally engage in insider trading.

    • jimmypop

      you dont pay for much and then get your wife a kick ass job…….

      • Rob

        I just updated on that point.

        Dorgan’s wife made almost $800,000 in 2011 according to the form 990.

        • jimmypop

          she actually made just over $1M.

          if captain combover was a janitor at fargo north high school i have NO DOUBT shed still be in DC making $1m a year. NO DOUBT IN MY MIND…….ha!!!!! riiiight.

      • The Whistler

        A job that she gets because her husband has a lot of pull with the regulators.

        • WOOF

          Mrs Clarence Thomas.

          • The Whistler


    • whowon

      Like poor Jesse Jackson Jr. who got busted, one of many ways.

    • headward

      Most of them do through insider trading because it’s legal for them to do.

    • two_amber_lamps

      Think of it like as in the political form of “insider trading…..”

  • TeamND

    Team North Dakota bunch of frauds pretended to work for the common man, secretly lived like kings in DC all financed by taxpayers. They can let their hair down now & forget about North Dakota.

    • Kevin Flanagan

      Byron’s hair looks silly enough now without “letting it down.”

  • awfulorv

    I’ll bet Lena is, after seeing these digs, gnawing on Ole’s ass for not getting into politics, way back when…

  • No Censorship

    Heidi is the Jessie Jackson Jr. of North Dakota!

    • two_amber_lamps

      Just give her a few years so she can amass some campaign money so she can “mis-appropriate” it….

  • awfulorv

    If Dorgan were a Republican, Harry Reid would be questioning whether he paid for his Senate chair, and AG Holder would be threatening legal action. BTW, where is the shot of him lounging on the pile of hundred dollar bills?

  • Guest

    Byron, we hardly knew ye…

  • bob

    Is he still fighting for us? He was always fighting. Poor guy needs rest between rounds of filling the people of ND with BS.

  • Guest

    Leave it to Rob to condemn the attacks against Rick Berg for his wealth as unfair while simultaneously making the same attack against Dorgan. What a hack!

    • The Whistler

      Berg made his money honestly in the private sector. Dorganoff made in government. People gave his wife money because she had access to his influence.

      • Guest

        Yes, you’re right. There’s no possible way a woman can make a living on her own hard work without her husbands help. No wonder you Republicans are so popular with the women demographic.

        • Rob

          Oh come on, the wife of a Senator getting a high-paying lobbyist gig?

          It’s a cliche.

        • The Whistler

          Not this one. You also have Conrad’s wife that went from Dorgan’s assistant to being a top paid lobbyist.

    • Rob

      You realize there’s a difference between being a private sector entrepreneur and a public servant, right?

      • Guest

        You realize that you condemn the attack for Berg on his wealth and than criticize the Dorgan’s for the same thing on the extremely flimsy argument that their wealth cannot in any way be attributed to Kim Dorgan’s hard work? No wonder Republicans have problems with women if those are the kind of presumptions you hold. What a hack!

        • Rob

          Kim Dorgan’s wealth came from her association with her husband.

          Rick Berg’s wealth came from starting companies that provided goods and services people wanted at prices they could afford.

          • Guest

            You have absolutely nothing to back that up, hack. Moreover, the fact that she’s retained remained an in influential position and been promoted since Dorgan left office totally undermines your contention that her wealth can only be from her association with her husband.

          • Rob


            A) The practice of the spouses of members of Congress becoming lobbyists is widely seen as a big ethical loophole

            B) Senators remain influential long after they leave the Senate.

          • Guest

            So in other words, you have nothing to back that up. Thanks.

          • noblindersonme

            Guest- Now you are learning !The ‘hacks’ at this site and that is too polite a word for them, don’t need proof , all they need is ‘ hate’. ( apologies to Lennon)
            This ‘topic’ is nothing more than pure pettiness , juvenile smirking like high schoolers do.
            The notion that Dorgan needs to be ridiculed because he is profiled as living in a ‘mansion ‘ is partisanship AT IT’S WORST !
            just reread the petty comments and almost all woven out of rotten cloth .Dorgan can not be believed to have acheived his wealth ‘ honorably ‘ because 1. He used to walk amongst us ‘farm types ‘ not in a suit while campaigning . he liked to play the part of the common man! 2. He was in ‘government’ for most of his career. Shockers !!! 3. He MUST of stole most of it through shady deals and that sin of all sins , LOBBYING!! 4. There can be listed 20 more , but the worst sin of all was that he was a DEMOCRAT and once that is knocked silly into the pea brains here, he does not have to be treated with any more respect than they would give a motley bum.
            Any counter point that does PROVE many republicans can be just as equally hung up here to ridicule with much the same kind of juvenile petulence is met with cries of “how dare you ‘ , where’s your proof yadda yadda …! Kevin Cramer has been in the bad ole govt all his life , but but but … Berg , and I love how they TRIED to head his hypocricy off at the pass, earned his wealth ‘ honestly yadda yadda , did you stupid liberals know Berg built Goldmark from ground up , brick by brick, he shovels out the snow from the apartments HIMSELF!!!! He’s SUPER BUSINESSMAN!!!( except when he was accused in that scandal last summer and DENIED ANY connection to Goldmark!! ) and no republican has ever beome a lobbyist in Ndak . Ed Sheafer VOLUNTEERED to go play cheerleader for the BIG oil companies didn’t he !!!
            Yeah we could go go round and round here ,
            the point is NOTHING matters here more than the narrative that PORT WANTS to keep fresh. Facts , truth, ,equal and unbiased reporting means nothing here.
            Democrat in the news = ridicule ridicule ridicule.
            Republican in the news ( for much the same stuff) = defend and praise shamelessly!

          • DelawareBeachHouse

            Rob is right. The practice of spouses of members of Congress being lobbyists is widely seen as a big ethical loophole — especially by the Left. Two examples:
            Lawmakers’ Lobbying Spouses Avoid Hill Reforms

            By John SolomonWashington Post Staff Writer
            January 17, 2007

            When Sen. Byron L. Dorgan (D-N.D.) rose to the Senate floor last summer and passionately argued for keeping the federal estate tax, he left one person with an interest in retaining the tax unmentioned.

            The multibillion-dollar life-insurance industry, which was fighting to
            preserve the tax because life insurers have a lucrative business selling policies and annuities to Americans for estate planning, has employed Dorgan’s wife as a lobbyist since 1999.


            I’m Linda, Fly Me
            LA Weekly, Jan. 16, 2003

            The national press corps didn‘t bother to tell you why Tom Daschle, the Democrats’ Senate leader, decided at the 11th hour not to run for president: In the end, he calculated that he couldn‘t survive scrutiny of his persistent service to the clients of his wife. Linda Daschle has been one of the airline industry’s top lobbyists for two decades — when she wasn‘t busy running the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), which explains why, just 11 days after the 911 attacks, her husband rushed through the Democratic Senate, which he controlled, the $15 billion bailout for the airline industry, a notorious taxpayer rip-off.

            Right after then-Congressman Tom Daschle dumped his first wife for a younger, prettier one, the former Miss Kansas Linda Daschle went to work as chief lobbyist for the Air Transport Association, the airline industry’s main lobby; she then became the senior vice president of the American Association of Airport Executives; and these days hangs her hat at the pricey top Washington lawlobby shop Baker, Donelson, Bearman & Caldwell, headed by former GOP Senate leader and ex–Reagan chief of staff Howard Baker — where she peddles influence on behalf of a long list of lucrative aviation clients. The clients for whom Linda lobbied brought more than $5.86 million into Baker, Donelson in one three-year period, including Northwest Airlines ($870,000 from 1997 through 2001) and American Airlines ($1.26 million in fees). Northwest was already teetering on the edge of bankruptcy even before 911. American, which has had six fatal crashes since 1994 (not counting 911) and has been repeatedly fined by the FAA for a skein of safety violations, had the reputation as the most unsafe major U.S. carrier.

            Yet these two clients of Linda Daschle‘s got nearly $1 billion from the airline bailout her husband pushed into law — thanks to which Northwest (which was the second largest contributor to Senator Daschle’s 1998 campaign, and which scooped up $404 million in government cash) actually posted a $19 million profit in the third quarter after the twin-towers attacks. And, as the lone senator to vote against the bailout, Illinois GOPer Peter Fitzgerald, decried, “The only people who got bailed out were the shareholders. The 1 million airline employees were left twisting in the wind.” So much for the populist noises that occasionally come from Senator Daschle‘s mouth.

          • Kevin Flanagan

            Yeah, and Kim only got where she is on her own efforts; do you have any other fairy-tales to share?

        • two_amber_lamps

          Channeling Dr. Gusty… speak to us from the great beyond!

        • Guest Observer

          You are funny!

  • Anon

    LOL mansion? Did you look at the pictures? A two story three bedroom house is hardly a mansion. Most home makeover or house flipping shows are much more impressive.

    • Rob


      How many of those homes are featured in magazines?

      • Guest

        Any home with fine style and decor can be featured. Since you obviously have not style or sense of decency, I suppose it doesn’t go without saying you don’t need to be a billionaire to have good taste, hack.

        • Rob

          Well, you are right about one thing, I’m not a very stylish person.

          My home will probably never be featured in a magazine.

          • Bob Bird

            You never know, my house was featured in “Trailer Home Quarterly”. There were so many gawkers I had to hook it up and move. Be careful what you wish for.

          • noblindersonme

            smart ass ! Ryan Taylor lives in a ranch house and you Port could not resist ridiculing him for being a phony!!!

            You are not smart enough, Port, to cover your tracks , your best efforts are reduced to bob and weaves, retreat when attacked with the truth and reload with obfuscation.

            Now you want to play the ‘common man’ here, vs Dorgan the ‘ haughty’ politico? Why then do you ridicule a ‘real cowboy’ Ryan Taylor – a real man who you could not walk in his manure encased boots. You seem to have no need to make fun of the suit and tie republican governor Dalrymple ??? (Now I am NOT making fun of the Guv , an agribisnessman , I actually like him , easy to be Guv in ND today!)

            but I am attacking you port! There’s is NO hypocricy in Taylor’s cowboy life YET YOU still found it fodder for foolery .
            You did make one true comment You are not a stylish person.

    • DelawareBeachHouse

      Nicer than the governor’s residence!

      • Rob

        And it doesn’t even have a chancellor’s suite!

  • grandma

    Do any of them ever tell the truth?? Just like Heidi saying that her opponent in the Senator race was so rich, after all his wife is a Dr. and she forgot to mention that her husband was a Dr. All we knew was she was dirt poor from a little town where her Mom was a janitor as she was growing up. They are poor when they need to be and rich when they need to be. I don’t believe any of them.

    • Guest

      Heidi & her Doctor husband live on Fox Island don’t they? Isn’t that the richest area in Bismarck? It was hypocritical to of her to attack someone else’s wealth when she herself, ( lawyer / doctor / 1% er ) was a millionaire herself.

  • Lianne

    He purchased this home 20 years ago. I doubt his wife’s income from 2011 had as much bearing on the purchase as it maybe did with the redecorating, which started after his kids departed for college. Funny how some of us had to wait till AFTER our kids departed for college before we could ‘indulge’ ourselves. Lived there in the great state of ol Virginy ’20 years while ‘serving’ ND, wow

  • Yogibare

    Before our envy runs wild keep in mind this old saw: A penny saved is a penny earned; or Early to rise… etc. See what can come to us if we save our money and live frugally !

  • whowon

    Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul says he will send a $600,000 check to the U.S. Treasury, returning the part of his operating budget as a senator that was not spent.

    Paul made the announcement at press conference in Kentucky on Wednesday. According to a press release from Paul’s office, the sum is over 20 percent of the total operating budget. Hmmm, what exactly do they need this slush fund for. Good for Rand, Byron put his into his Virginia house.

  • ec99

    It’s reflective of the lack of journalistic standards the the ND media never once ran an exposé comparing the apartment house in Bismarck both Dorgan and Conrad declared as their official state residence and their real homes in VA, Georgetown, and Delaware. No mention of Countrywide mortgages either.

  • Dallas

    Rob, to admit you’re not a very sylish person is, in fact, an understatement. Congrats slim.

    You’ved used this line a lot: ….“official” residence, a dumpy apartment in a Bismarck complex owned by his former colleague Kent Conrad (who claimed, as his official residence, the apartment across the hall).”

    Wrong on all counts. The apartment house is not dumpy. It is not owned by Kent Conrad and Conrad does not live across the hall. He does not live in the building and has no financial interest in it.

    No one has ever accused or suggested seriously Dorgan engaged in insider trading. It is illegal for Senator’s to engage in insider trading.

    Dorgan’s wife has numerous degrees and worked as a lobbyist prior to meeting and marrying the former Senator.

    Dorgan did not use any government funding to pay for his home.

    A former Governor of ND is being paid more than a million a year by the oil industrry to gin up republican support for a massive tax cut that will save the oil barons millions. Seldom see or hear that because the oil industry also funded a newspaper in Bismarck and gave Scott Hennen money to pay for his seldom listened to radio stations. I also believe they buy ads to keep this site afloat.

    • JoeMN


      You either shun any and all ad revenue outside public service announcements from Media Matters, become an advocate for big, subsidized, and broke solar, and support the enviro-luddite policies of the left which would transform the economy of ND into one resembling Somalia overnight,

      or you are in the pocket of big oil.
      Meanwhile in the real world
      Plus oil workers with fattened wallets just aching to be spent

      and all the revenue from added unrelated activity.
      Oh well, better there than this Peoples Republic, where drillers would have long since been hung in Salem style witch trials.

    • Kevin Flanagan

      “No one has ever accused or suggested seriously Dorgan engaged in insider
      trading. It is illegal for Senator’s to engage in insider trading.” When Byron held office it was legal; he made a bundle off of Lucent.

    • noblindersonme

      my goodness dallas – how reckless of you to inject fact and reason into this discussion!

  • Dallas

    Hey Tummy tuckder, what happened to the post? Afraid fo the truth?

  • Stuart

    You don’t think that putting on a flannel shirt was for real did you? He’s a poser,puppet,and basically a liar who is worth more than this mansion. Wasn’t his wife along with Conrad’s wife lobbyists that made or make over three figures a year?
    And now both of these LOCK BOX DRUG PUSHERS will have Multi-hundred thousand jobs waiting for them plus their Congressional bennies. Both were poodles for Obama.
    If you were at the Casselton Town Hall meeting you will know what I’m talking about,

    Now to be fair..the Governor of Florida was elected on his campaigning against Obamacare ! But has since changed his mind and capitulated. Can anyone say Rhino?
    Conservatism is in retreat mode. And situation ethics is alive and well.

  • awfulorv

    Though my eyes have weakened, and my language faulty, I believe the words ” We got ours, screw you ” is also, artfully painted, in Norwegian, on that large plate in the foyer.

  • Drain52

    Mrs. Dorgan gets 800K yearly? No wonder insurance costs so much.

    True, Byron Dorgan has lived in a mansion in Virginia for years while holding an apartment room as a fig leaf for ND citizenship. But I’m sure his heart was always in ND.

    • VocalYokel

      “But I’m sure his heart was always in ND.”
      Probably on top of the dresser in his ‘home’…you know…the place where he kept his flannel shirt and jeans.

  • Bruce Hingst

    so many people believed this guys rhetoric..I never did…he used to brag ND gets $7 for every dollar the federal gov….anyone see something wrong with that?…as the debt grew he kept getting re-elected….so many fools voting…america will see its demise for its ignorance soon