The biggest single source of contributions to Senator Heidi Heitkamp’s 2012 campaign, according to OpenSecrets.org, was the Motley Rice law firm. But why was a South Carolina-based law firm so interested in electing a Senator in North Dakota?
It’s because Senator Heitkamp, back when she was North Dakota’s Attorney General, hired the Motley Rice law firm to serve as the state’s legal counsel in the tobacco class action lawsuits she also championed. Heitkamp has tried to muddy the waters around the cozy financial relationship between herself and the law firm by claiming the state didn’t pay the firm anything for representation. And while that’s certainly true, the firm absolutely collected a heavy fee as a part of the settlement which was bolstered by the State of North Dakota’s participation.
The point-man from Motley Rice, representing the State of North Dakota’s interests, was Jack McConnell who has since been appointed to the federal bench by President Barack Obama but continues to collect millions of dollars a year for his part in the tobacco lawsuits.
In short, the relationship between Heitkamp and Motley Rice has been a lucrative one, but don’t expect Senator Heitkamp to send out any press releases today upon the news that one of the founders of the law firm, trial lawyer giant Ron Motley, has passed away.
No word yet on who is getting his 156-foot, $15.3 million yacht.