Democrat PSC Candidate Words Accusations Carefully To Exempt Himself From His Own Standards
Public Service Commission candidate Brad Crabtree learned in the 2010 election, in which he was given a shellacking at the polls by incumbent Kevin Cramer, that he can’t win an election in North Daktoa based on his far-left environmental views. So in the 2012 cycle he’s taken a new tact, which is to smear the opposition under the guise of raising questions about their ethics.
Crabtree has used a politically-motivated lawsuit filed by left-wing environmental groups like the (publicly funded) Dakota Resource Council and the Sierra Club as a basis to launch a borderline libelous set of charges against Public Service Commissioners Brian Kalk and Kevin Cramer (neither of whom, I’d note, are actually Crabtree’s opponents in his race).
I say borderline libelous because even as Crabtree tacitly accuses these men of crimes in his public writings on the matter he refuses to call for an official investigation into the matter.
I guess an exoneration of Cramer and Kalk would be inconvenient for Crabtree’s election year innuendo.
But if you read what Crabtree writes about this matter carefully, you can see what his real motivation is. And it’s not ethics. From Crabtree’s column in the Grand Forks Herald linked above:
The term “direct financial stake” is interesting, and I don’t think it was mere coincidence that Crabtree used it. After all, a review of Crabtree’s campaign disclosures shows his base of support coming from a veritable who’s-who of North Dakota environmental activists. These activists and the groups they’re a part of regularly testify before the Public Service Commission on matters related to mining, etc., etc. Now, they have no “direct financial stake” in the decisions of the PSC, but they certainly have an ideological stake in the decisions made by the commission.
But Crabtree and his carefully-worded diatribes against contributions from energy companies conveniently exempt his supporters. In Crabtree’s views, coal companies ought not get to influence the politics of the PSC, but those who would see coal mining shut down should face any such restrictions.
Convenient how that works, isn’t it? I can’t imagine that Mr. Crabtree would recuse himself from a case before the PSC in which one of his environmental activists friends had an interest. He’s only willing to hold the employees of coal and oil companies to that standard.
And yes, the Public Service Commission is political. The members of the commission are elected. Politics, or “democracy” as it is also called, settles who gets elected to the PSC. As long as both the political contributions to members of the PSC, as well as the actions of the commissioners themselves, are transparent to the public we need no further restrictions.
If we are going to elect the members of the PSC, then we need to recognize that everyone – especially those who get regulated by the PSC – gets a say in that process be it through spoken words or campaign contributions.Tags: Brad Crabtree, Brian Kalk, election 2012, free speech, Kevin Cramer, North Dakota News, Public Service Commission