Heidi Heitkamp Has Received Nearly $50,000 In PAC Money From Unions, Trial Lawyers And Senators

The FEC filing deadline for 2011 fundraising was January 31st, but despite that Democrat Senate candidate Heidi Heitkamp’s report hasn’t been posted on the FEC website yet. This, to me, smacks of a tactic. “In my experience, candidates with poor results or something to hide like to file as late as possible, hoping their pre-spin makes the news,” a reader wrote to me this morning.

It is interesting how many of the candidates (not just Heitkamp) release their spin on their fundraising numbers to the media first in a press release, and then file their actual FEC reports days or even weeks later. Thus, reporters hungry to be first with the news report based on the spin-filled press release, and are less likely to cover the issue again when the official report comes out.

Regardless, despite a full report still not being available, some of the political action committees (PACs) that have contributed to Heitkamp’s campaign have reported their numbers, giving us at least a partial picture of where Heitkamp is getting her money.

In that picture are unions, trial lawyers and Democrat Senators:

The American Association for Justice used to be called the Association of Trial Lawyers. The union PACs are self-explanatory. The rest are PACs run by various Democrat Senators including Mark Warner, Kristen Gillibrand, Patrick Leahy, Jack Reed, Ben Nelson, Mark Pryor and Tom Harkin.

It’s not surprising that Heitkamp would be getting a lot of money from the trial lawyers given her cozy, apparently quid pro quo relationship with Jack McConnell, a trial lawyer Heitkamp appointed to represent North Dakota in the tobacco class action lawsuits (an appointment which contributed to the millions he earns from that settlement to this day) who, contemporaneously to that appointment, contributed tens of thousands of dollars to both Heitkam’s 2000 gubernatorial campaign and the North Dakota Democrat Party.

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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  • http://nofreelunch.areavoices.com/ Kevin Flanagan

    In other words, her benefactors are the usual suspects. 

    • Rick Olson

      It certainly looks that way.

  • http://ndgoon.blogspot.com Goon

    Anyone know how much she has got from ND groups?

    • http://sayanythingblog.com Rob

      The full report isn’t out yet.

  • headward

    I’m surprised I don’t see the Fargo Forum on this list with the editors.

    • http://sayanythingblog.com Rob

      Their contributions will likely be in the intemized receipts from individuals. ;-)

  • Cherz1967

    Who the hell else would give her money?  Even ND Dems shy away from her.  I don’t see any Heitkamp signs on lawns in Fargo.

  • Dakotacyr

    Wow, 10% of her money.  Let’s look at Berg’s and see where his PAC money comes from. I’ll be waiting for that post, Rob.

    • http://sayanythingblog.com Rob

      Oh, I’m sure Heidi’s full report will be chock-full of rich trial lawyers ponying up the cash.

      • Dakotacyr

        When are you going to post Berg’s report, which I believe will be chocked full of oil companies, banks, bankers, oil execs from Texas and OK.  Whada ya wanna bet?

        • Facts are stubborn

          Yeah, about as one would expect (requiring three zoomed out screenshots). I’m sure we’ll get some of that in-depth analysis and original reporting that SAB is known for explaining why IOKIYAR.

  • Ralph

    Heidi may be using Byron Dorgan’s FEC tactic.  The agency offers an electronic filing option, which means the on-line report could be available almost instantly.  But Byron continued to file paper reports.  It means an FEC employee has to manually enter the data, so the report isn’t publicly available until days or weeks later.  Maybe Heidi did the same thing.

  • Guest1

    One thing I think you will see from the Heitkamp campaign. I think that she is going to be very low key, so that she doesn’t rile up people. I don’t expect to see her on the campaign trail in a huge way. I think she will try and rely on her name and party support to pull her through. Remember the lack of open health care meetings by our delegation? Do you really think Heitkamp wants to go out and do open forums and debates – and have Obamacare continually brought up? I think for that reason alone, it’s why you haven’t seen her out much, and you won’t in the future.

    • Rick Olson

      Exactly.  She’ll run as much of a campaign that is out of the spotlight as she can.  I believe the term is “Running a Closet Campaign.”  She is just not ready to face either the public or whoever her opponent will be and debate them.  She will rely almost entirely upon her name recognition and support from the Democratic Party machine to pull her through.

  • ec99

    Let’s be real.  Given the parsimony of North Dakotans, what candidate for national office could ever fund a campaign based on in-state donations?

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