Democrat Crabtree’s Criminal Complaint Flops

PSC Candidate Brad Crabtree

If there was a theme to the campaign style of Democrats in North Dakota this last election cycle it was efforts to try and silence speech critical of them, and supportive of Republicans, by claiming the speech in question was illegal. They accused Republicans of taking bribes in the form of 100% legal, 100% transparent political contributions (no kidding) and, in the case of Democrat PSC candidate Brad Crabtree (who took an almost 14-point shellacking at the polls) also accused a third-party group of illegal campaigning.

Unfortunately for Crabtree, in addition to having lost his race, his criminal allegations against Brighter Future Committee (started by former Republican House candidate Shane Goettle) just got tossed by Burleigh County prosecutors who won’t be going forward with charges.

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) – Burleigh County prosecutors will not file charges over radio ads that criticized Democratic Public Service Commission candidate Brad Crabtree.

A nonprofit corporation called the “Brighter Future Committee” bought the ads. Crabtree filed a complaint last month, saying that violated state laws that bar corporations from spending money for political purposes.

Let’s be clear that these charges from Crabtree weren’t anything more than an election season stunt. Much like the lawsuit filed against Public Service Commissioner Brian Kalk, and Representative-elect Kevin Cramer, alleging bribery because both men took political contributions from members of industries they regulate, these charges were timed so that they would loom over the Republicans during the election season and not be resolved until well afterward.

These allegations Democrats have been pushing – whether they’re targeted at independent conservative groups or public figures like Kalk, Cramer and even Governor Jack Dalrymple – aren’t about ethics. They’re about politics. They’re about calculating candidates representing a marginalized party that is desperate to be relevant in North Dakota politics again.

The Democrats want to make gains by silencing certainly political constituencies that are supportive of Republicans. That has no place in a free and open democratic process.

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Rob Port is the editor of SayAnythingBlog.com. 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. He writes a weekly column for several North Dakota newspapers, and also serves as a policy fellow for the North Dakota Policy Council.

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