CHRISTMANN DISCLOSURE SHOWS HE WOULD CONTINUE
CULTURE OF CORRUPTION ON PSC
Oct. 25, 2012 Contact: Brad Crabtree
(Ashley, N.D.) – Public Service Commissioner candidate Brad Crabtree today criticized his opponent for accepting a major campaign contribution from interests directly regulated by the North Dakota Public Service Commission.
“By accepting a $5,000 campaign contribution from the political action committee of companies with important and ongoing regulatory business before the PSC, my opponent confirms that he stands for business as usual on the PSC and that he would continue the culture of corruption created by our two incumbent PSC commissioners accepting tens of thousands of dollars from companies and executives they regulate,” said Crabtree.
Crabtree’s opponent Randy Christmann has filed a 48-hour report with the ND Secretary of State of his acceptance of $5000 from Coal PAC on October 20th. Coal PAC is run by the Lignite Energy Council whose member companies’ coal mining and reclamation activities are regulated by the PSC.
Since announcing his 2012 campaign, Crabtree has kept his Public Service Commissioner Pledge of Independence to forgo campaign contributions from political action committees and executives of companies, cooperatives and other entities with business before the PSC. Crabtree repeatedly invited his opponent to join him in this pledge, but he refused.
“Earlier this month, my opponent proudly told members of the Lignite Energy Council that he would never join me in my pledge to refuse campaign contributions from regulated interests,” noted Crabtree. “Christmann has now accepted precisely the kind of political contribution that has mired the PSC in a federal lawsuit, left North Dakota taxpayers footing commissioners’ legal bills, and put our state’s respected regulatory program for lignite coal mining and reclamation at risk of a federal takeover.”
Crabtree stressed this is not a pro-coal or anti-coal issue. “My support for continued development of North Dakota’s lignite coal industry is clear and long-standing,” observed Crabtree. “Unlike my opponent, I have led bipartisan regional and national initiatives involving governors, members of Congress, and private sector leaders to support next generation clean coal technologies that will produce reliable, affordable energy from lignite coal and protect thousands of good-paying North Dakota jobs and the communities that depend on this industry.”
“The real issue is that candidates for the PSC should not accept political contributions from interests they will supervise as regulators, regardless of whether those interests represent wind energy, pipelines, grain elevators—or lignite coal,” said Crabtree.
Crabtree observed that in a recent survey of likely voters, over 75 percent of North Dakotans expressed concern about the practice of PSC candidates accepting campaign contributions from regulated interests such as those represented by COAL PAC.
“At this critical time in the development of North Dakota’s energy economy, my opponent has shown that he is out of touch with North Dakota voters growing concern over our PSC commissioners’ blatant financial conflicts of interest and that he is unprepared for the ethical responsibilities that come with serving as one of our state’s top regulators,” said Crabtree.