Democrats Continue Smear Campaign Against Public Service Commissioners
Democrat legislator Lonny Winrich has a letter to the Grand Forks Herald today accusing Public Service Commissioners Brian Kalk and Kevin Cramer of illegal activities in taking contributions from interests the PSC regulates.
These wild claims and accusations are nothing new – Democrats and environmental activists in the state have been chattering about them for more than a year now – but since the theme of Democrat campaigns this year seems to be poo-slinging they just keep repeating the same claims over and over again hoping they’ll get traction.
Rep. Winrich puts a twist on the latest claim pointing out that the lawyers defending Cramer and Kalk in the lawsuit filed against them by two far-left environmental groups work for hundreds of dollars an hour. Yawn.
But Winrich leaves out several pertinent facts. He claims that what Kalk and Cramer did was against federal rules instituted by the Office of Surface Mining, but when this matter was originally brought before that agency it was dismissed, which prompted the lawsuit.
Winrich also doesn’t mention that the lawsuit filed by these environmentalist groups asks for North Dakota’s local control of surface mining to be removed by the federal government. Liberals have long sought end-runs around the legislative process by running to the courts, and this lawsuit against Cramer and Kalk is no different. This isn’t about ethics. That’s just cover. This is about the liberals taking local control over mining out of the hands of elected North Dakota officials, and that’s why it’s justified that the state pay for the lawyers.
Also, Winrich writes that it was “coal mining interests” that made the contributions to Kalk and Cramer. That’s certainly true, but it was also wind power interests that made contributions. Which is interesting because, as a candidate for the House, Cramer has publicly opposed extension of subsidies for wind power.
Perhaps that’s why Winrich doesn’t mention the wind power contributions in his diatribe. It’s rather hard to argue that a candidate is in the pocket of a given industry when he’s busy opposing subsidies for that industry.
It worries me how little respect Democrats like Winrich – not to mention PSC candidate Brad Crabtree and House candidate Pam Gulleson – have for democracy. The first principle of representative government is the idea of the “consent of the governed.” Meaning the governed get a say in who governs them. Of course interests that are regulated by the PSC contributed to PSC candidates. They should be free to do so, just as environmentalists should be free to contribute as well.
That’s a gaping hole in the case Democrats make. They talk until they’re red in the face about contributions from coal mines, but they don’t seem at all worried about contributions from environmental activists (such as those who support Crabtree’s campaign) which try to stop coal mines from being built. Which is sort of the point, I think. The Democrats want to silence the pro-coal people, leaving only the anti-coal people with a voice.
That’s an idea Democrats – Winrich and others – should be criticized for. Shame on them.Tags: Brian Kalk, election 2012, Kevin Cramer, lonny winrich, North Dakota News, Public Service Commission