SAB Legislative Hall Of Shame Week 8: Rep. Dave Monson

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The last week of the legislative session before crossover was a busy one. Both chambers of the legislature were in floor session for hours and hours as lots of important and controversial bills got their votes. So picking a Hall of Shame winner this week was tough.

There were a lot of legislators who deserved it for passing the Obamacare expansion of Medicaid, a huge increase in that entitlement program the cost of will eventually fall on the backs of North Dakota taxpayers. The Republicans who voted for it justified their votes by saying that they amended the bill to put in a sunset provision, as if they’d ever be willing to unring that bell years hence when tens of thousands of new enrollees are on the program. They also argued that since we’re all paying our federal tax dollars anyway, they may as well vote for huge expansions to federal entitlement programs so that we get our money’s worth. Which is a bit like saying, “Hey, we’ve got this credit card, why not use it?”

There were also a lot of legislators who deserved the Hall of Shame for helping vote down Rep. Mark Dosch’s school choice bill. Study after study shows that when parents are empowered to make more education choices, including private schools we get better education outcomes. There is nothing – not early childhood education funds or more school milk funds – that could have a greater positive impact on our education system than school choice. But enough House Republicans chose to prioritize the teachers and school administrators over parents and kids that the bill went down to defeat.

And then there was Rep. Jessica Haak, who like an immature adolescent took to Twitter to pout about House Majority Leader Al Carlson being a “Nazi” right after getting called out for posting childish and untrue things about House Republicans to the social media platform, but she apologized (if a bit insincerely) for the posting and that’s that.

But I thought the most deserving member of the ND legislature for the Hall of Shame “honor” was Rep. Dave Monson who slipped into the Parks and Rec budget, and then defended under questioning from Rep. Jim Kasper, a $1.67 appropriation to buy North Dakota taxpayers a ski resort.

Here’s the video:

Expanding Medicaid and killing school choice is certainly bad policy, and Rep. Haak’s actions may make observers wonder if we don’t need to raise the age minimum for serving in the legislature, but Rep. Monson’s defense of this appropriation really takes the cake.

Apparently the idea is that the state would buy the ski slope, then Parks and Rec and other state officials could use the buildings there for office space. Rep. Monson claims that those officials are currently working out of their homes (readers from the area tell me that’s not true, the officials have office space in Walhalla they use), but even if there was a need for office space surely there’s a more practical way of going about getting it than purchasing an ski resort.

And how will the ski resort operate when the chateau, used by visitors to rent equipment, buy snacks and warm up – is used for offices?

There’s something more than a little fishy about the proposal to buy the property. North Dakota doesn’t need a state-owned ski slope to go along with its state-owned bank and state-owned grain mill. For that reason, Rep. Dave Monson is our Week 8 Hall of Shame winner.

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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  • Guest

    We bought a ski resort for $1.67? That’s a great deal! Might want to check your numbers, Rob. I think a few zeros are missing. :)

    • http://sayanythingblog.com Rob

      Thanks! I’ll fix it.

  • jimmypop

    “Rep. Jessica Haak, who like an immature adolescent took to Twitter to pout about House Majority Leader Al Carlson”

    still no concern as to WHY she did it? THAT is STILL the REAL story here.

    • http://sayanythingblog.com Rob

      You clearly haven’t been playing attention.

      • jimmypop

        can al make up rules like that? serious question. ive not seen anything in the media about anything more than the ‘nazi’ thing.

    • ec99

      ” Haak”
      What an appropriate name for an elected official.

  • sbark

    So even the GOP is learning the use of plausible deniability………sunset clause on the Medicare expansion….good greif.
    The N.Dak GOP is a mirror image of the GWBush GOP held Congress from 2000 to 2008—–spending just to spend, to appease the left, spending because its the easiest thing to do, requiring no thinking—the definition of Liberalism.
    ………..and all the while, the N.Dak Left is already constructing the blame game, just as they laid it out on GW, and continue to this day, to that as an excuse for runination of the countries entire economy with 16 plus trillion of debt.

  • ec99

    This is but one example of how they have the cojones to call themselves “citizen legislators.”

  • NDConservative2011

    Let’s see if the Senate has the intestinal fortitude to kill Rep Monson’s bill that smells of cronyism. As the winner of the weekly SAB Hall of Shame, Rep. Monson should be in the running for top honors for the session. He has proven that apparantly there is no shame when it come to spending taxpayer dollars on frivolous items.
    If a failing ski slope is such a great venture, maybe Rep. Monson should purchase it and lease it back to the state.
    Unfortunately Mr. Monson was re-elected to another 4 year term.
    I for one would hope he is given the opportunity to work out of his own home 4 years from now.

  • Ray Seltz

    2 chins don’t make a right

  • borborygmi

    not early childhood education funds or more school milk funds: They are at least consistent because they didn’t vote for these either

  • cylde

    Hey, that money was just laying there, it just had to be spent on something, besides the owner of that ski place needed a sucker to take it off his hands, this is what legislators think their job is.

  • Janne Myrdal

    So we, he taxpayers are shareholders then, right? Do we get free lift tickets then?? Just saying. Unreal!! This is called pork/earmarks.

    • Sue

      I was thinking the same thing. My money, I own it. I will use it my way.

  • Camburn

    The money spent on the Ski Resort will be buying a tangible asset.

    The money spent defending pesonhood bills, which will loose, will be wasted.

    I will take a Ski Resort rather than another layer of precedent cementing Roe/Wade.

  • Sue

    I like how he enjoys his time there with his family and in his district. The poor couple is aged and should actually sell it on the open market. I bet they could get more than the appraised value.

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