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Scott Nelson, Grand Forks, Published October 12 2012

Letter: Christmann’s ‘follow the law’ reeks of campaign hypocrisy

I read an article comparing Republican Randy Christmann to Democrat Brad Crabtree for the open seat in the Public Service Commission race. After reading Christmann’s “four-pronged campaign platform,” I had to stop and read it again, twice.

Christmann said the four issues of his campaign platform are, “infrastructure development, development of the state’s agricultural resources, preservation of land and following state law.” Whoa! “Following state law” as a campaign platform element? Why not throw in, “Truth, Justice and the American Way!” for good measure?

Please don’t get me wrong. Honesty and high moral character are necessary traits for public servants charged with protecting our resources, whether they’re natural, manufactured, agricultural or financial. North Dakota’s Oil Patch does face many challenges that Christmann addressed with the first three planks of his platform, each of which can be accomplished in any number of ways. “Following state law,” is always demanded of our elected officials. You can’t work up to it, reach for it or try to do it. You must already know it and be able to articulate it. Obeying the law is part of a man’s integrity, not a plank in a platform that can be jettisoned when a different issue comes around to take its place.

It’s unfortunate that the current commissioners don’t appear to have followed the ethics law in regard to receiving campaign donations from interests that may come before the commission for regulation. Is Christmann admitting that the sitting Republican commissioners were NOT following the law about receiving campaign donations from interests that are now or may be regulated? If he claims to follow the law, then he should disavow contributions from regulated interests like Crabtree has done.

Sen. Christmann can’t pick and choose which laws to obey or how to interpret them. Apparently this law is not one which Christmann thinks he has to follow since he has not accepted Crabtree’s challenge to forgo these contributions. So following the law appears to be nothing more than hypocrisy on Christmann’s part. Do we dare trust yet another Republican who may be willing to skirt the law?

Crabtree has demonstrated his intelligence, knowledge and understanding of the issues throughout the energy industries: fossil fuels, renewable energy, transportation and transmission. He also has intimate knowledge of agriculture and the needs of both producers and purchasers. After reading a few of his reports/articles on energy related issues and hearing him speak about them I’m convinced that he’s a perfect fit for a seat on the Public Service Commission. Yes, he brings some ideas and new approaches to the problems we face from sources outside our state, much like Theodore Roosevelt brought ideas from his home state of New York to the badlands of North Dakota, and took lessons he learned here to everywhere else he went, including the White House.

On Nov. 6 vote for North Dakota’s future. Elect Crabtree to the Public Service Commission.

Nelson is from Grand Forks.