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Hillary Price, Published July 23 2012

It’s proper to focus on sources of political campaign donations

In this time of increased campaign spending by out-of-state special interests on local and federal races, it’s legitimate to examine the source of that money to see who is seeking to influence elections and candidates. As the recent Forum editorial pointed out, it is unfortunate that the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee chose to focus on an obscure connection to a corrupt fundraiser, instead of pointing to the more worrisome sources of Republican U.S. House candidate Kevin Cramer’s campaign funds.

Instead of cheap political shots, it’s time to focus on some very questionable interests funding Cramer’s campaign. His over-reliance on funding from a single industry with stakes in North Dakota, his potentially illegal fundraising from the same interests he regulates as Public Service commissioner, and his willingness to take more than $100,000 from the Club for Growth, a group that wants to kill the farm bill, deserve more attention.

In the editorial, “Oil money is buying something,” The Forum took Cramer to task for taking almost half of his campaign funding from oil companies doing business in North Dakota. It’s true that “Cramer’s enthusiastic embrace of big bucks from oil and gas executives (and his close relationship with some of them) doesn’t seem to comport with the much-ballyhooed ethical foundation of ‘the North Dakota way.’ ”

Cramer is also being sued for accepting funds from the same interests he was supposed to be regulating as Public Service commissioner, a move The Forum called an “ethical lapse that often is a consequence of political ambition.”

The more than $100,000 that the extreme right-wing Club for Growth has given to Cramer’s campaign is sure to influence him as well. Unfortunately, the Club’s agenda includes ending the farm bill, flood insurance programs and disaster assistance – all programs our state depends on.

We applaud The Forum for their focus on the real issues of this campaign – and that’s what our campaign will continue to focus on as well.

Price is communications director, Pam Gulleson for Congress campaign.