Forum Endorses Christmann For PSC
Democrat Brad Crabtree has made central to his second campaign for the Public Service Commission in as many cycles wild-eyed accusations about allegedly unethical behavior by current members of the PSC.
The Fargo Forum, while not exactly dismissing those accusations, points out that Crabtree maybe should have spent a little more time campaigning against his actual opponent.
Brad Crabtree seems to be running against North Dakota Public Service commissioners who are not on the ballot, rather than state Sen. Randy Christmann, the Republican-endorsed candidate. Crabtree, who is making his second run for the Public Service Commission, has been trying to make the case that sitting commissioners broke the law by accepting campaign contributions from interests with matters before the commission. While that allegation might or might not prove to be true, Christmann is Crabtree’s opponent, and the race should be about them.
On balance, Christmann is the better choice for the open PSC seat by virtue of his experience and record in public office and in the private sector. The veteran state senator has been involved in issues that routinely are on the PSC’s plate. He has wrestled with those matters in settings ranging from landowner concerns regarding power line and pipeline rights of way, to wind power installations and the coal country land reclamation. The Hazen legislator has been in the middle of coal country issues for decades.
Indeed, though I’d point out that Crabtree has actually accused Christmann of the same unethical contributions. And, to be 100% clear, Christmann has actually taken contributions from interests regulated by the PSC.
But there’s nothing wrong with that. Opinion editor Jack Zaleski may lack the intellectual honest to dismiss Crabtree’s mudslinging, but I’d point out that those who are regulated should get a say in who regulates them.
Contributions made to PSC members are disclosed to the public. The actions taken by PSC members in their official capacities are also disclosed to the public. If the public starts to feel that a given PSC member is too “in the pocket” for a given interest, then they can elect someone else. But this idea that taking contributions from an interest regulated by the PSC is inherently unethical is ridiculous. Little more than an election-year contrivance manufactured by Crabtree to breathe life into what would have otherwise been yet another listless campaign from him.
And you’ll note, of course, that Crabtree has always exempted environmental special interests from this lofty ethical standard he’s applying to the energy industry. As though contributions from political activists who want to block coal mining are somehow more valid than contributions from people who want to build a coal mine.
Let us hope that Crabtree’s foolish, decidedly undemocratic notions about the relationship between the governed and the governors are thrown on the scrap heap along with his candidacy.
By the way, the Minot Daily News has also endorsed Christmann writing “We believe Christmann’s let’s-work-together attitude and disposition would be less divisive than Crabtree’s ideological approach to the position.”
Exactly.Tags: Brad Crabtree, election 2012, North Dakota News, randy christmann