Jasper Schneider Claims He’s Not Using His Federal Position To Campaign For State Office
I’ve been critical for some time of USDA Department of Rural Development Director Jasper Schneider’s “North Dakota 2.0″ project. I think the methodology of the project, which asked North Dakotans questions about state policy but only let them choose pre-selected answers, was deeply flawed. I also don’t think it’s appropriate for an federal Department of Agriculture employee to be using his federal position to try and influence state policer.
Schneider is a federal bureaucrat, not a state official.
In an article about Schneider’s project, the Huffington Post cites some of my criticism of Schneider who responded by saying the project wasn’t about his political career (no word on whether or not he said that with a straight face):
Schneider said his agency took on the project because it works as part of their mission to promote rural communities, noting that the state’s two largest industries — agriculture and energy — are rural in nature. A former Democratic state legislator and 2008 state insurance commissioner candidate, Schneider — who, at only 33-years-old, is thought of as a future statewide candidate — said his own political career did not play a role in deciding to commission the report.
“If there is anything that drives me to do this, it is that we should do this right,” Schneider said. “I care a lot about this state. Times are good in North Dakota but we have a lot of areas to catch up in. We have to set this up for long term growth and success and not squander an opportunity.”
The young, up-and-coming Democrat who is widely acknowledged in state political circles as having ambitions for statewide elected office engaged in this months-long study of questionable methodology not because he thinks it will advance his career but just out of the goodness of his heart.
Undermining Schneider’s claims that he’s not using his federal office to mount a political campaign is his hiring of a half dozen former staffers from former Senator Byron Dorgan and former Rep. Earl Pomeroy’s offices. These include former Dorgan staffers Lee Kaldor (who has to resign his office in the state legislature after accepting the federal job) and Marion Houn, former Pomeroy staffesr William Heigaard, and former Kent Conrad staffer Samantha Evenson.
So, we’re supposed to believe it’s all just a coincidence that Schneider engaged in a lengthy (and no doubt costly) tour around the state championing himself as a policy problem solver while larding up his office with Democrat political operatives. It’s got nothing to do with his political career.
And if you believe that, I’ve got a bridge to sell you.Tags: election 2012, jasper schneider, North Dakota News, USDA