Even Democrats Think Heitkamp’s Goldmark Attacks Are A Bit Of A Stretch

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With Republicans pointing out some painful truths about Heidi Heitkamp’s political duplicity this campaign season – including having as her #2 source of contributions a law firm engaged in anti-fracking legal activism even as Heitkamp herself claims to be pro-fracking – Democrats have tried to distract with furious attacks on Rep. Rick Berg’s business record including his involvement with Goldmark Property Management.

But those attacks have seemed a bit petty to most political observers, and now Politico is reporting that they’ve inspired much wincing and eye-rolling among even Democrats:

Republican Rep. Rick Berg, running for Senate in North Dakota, has close ties to a controversial property management company that has been the target of dozens of tenant complaints, been cited for alleged fire safety violations and received a less than stellar grade from the Better Business Bureau.

Berg, one of the wealthiest members of Congress, personally owns apartment buildings run by Goldmark Property Management Inc., one of North Dakota’s largest landlords. Employees of the firm and related companies, including business associates Berg has known for decades, have donated tens of thousands of dollars to Berg and GOP committees to back his runs for federal office.

Yet Berg does not, as alleged by Democrat Heidi Heitkamp, have any formal legal ties to or control over Goldmark Property Management. And even some Democrats have winced at her attempts to link the company’s actions to proposals to change Social Security and other entitlement programs.

Heitkamp has tried to counter Berg’s business record by highlighting the controversies surrounding Goldmark Property Management, which controls more than 9,000 units with over 25,000 residents, a sizable chunk of North Dakota’s 670,000-plus residents.

Heitkamp attempted to link Goldmark Property Management — and Berg’s alleged involvement with it — to efforts to privatize Social Security, which even Democratic operatives will privately admit is a stretch.

I’ll say it’s a stretch.  The article notes “dozens of complaints” from tenants about Goldmark Property Management, but also notes that the company owns over 9,000 units with some 25,000 residents.  That actually sounds like a pretty good track record to me.

I actually think the Berg campaign made a mistake in not pushing back on the Heitkamp campaign’s assertions that GPM is a bad company in the first place.  Instead Berg chose to note his separation from the company years ago and that Heitkamp’s attacks, as Politico affirms, are inaccurate.  That’s all well and good, but while the truth is the truth, we also shouldn’t be letting Heitkamp get away with trashing a private business on her way to a petty and inaccurate smear on Rick Berg.

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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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