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GOP criticizes Pomeroy for financial interest disclosure

What Democratic Rep. Earl Pomeroy did include -- and, more notably, did not include -- in a state financial disclosure form is drawing the attention of North Dakota Republicans.

What Democratic Rep. Earl Pomeroy did include -- and, more notably, did not include -- in a state financial disclosure form is drawing the attention of North Dakota Republicans.

On Thursday, the party issued a news release pointing out that Pomeroy turned in a mostly blank form, a required document for getting on the ballot.

It comes just two days after Democrats filed a complaint against Rick Berg, Pomeroy's Republican challenger, for not including Bismarck-based Northern Plains Capital Corp. on his list of financial interests.

In a written statement, state GOP chairman Gary Emineth said documents show Pomeroy didn't follow guidelines in the North Dakota Century Code. The code states it is a Class B misdemeanor to "intentionally" violate requirements of the statement of interest forms.

Candidates are also stricken from the ballot if the omission was intentional.


"Pomeroy did not even make a 'good faith' effort to comply with state law when filling out his statement of interest," Emineth wrote.

Pomeroy's campaign issued a statement Thursday that said all his assets are on file with the Secretary of State's office. The statement said Pomeroy also gives to the state -- voluntarily -- a copy of his annual financial disclosure statement to the U.S. House of Representatives.

Pomeroy's latest federal disclosure statement, submitted last May, listed several investments, mutual funds and IRAs.

"Congressman Pomeroy's assets are a home in Bismarck and retirement accounts," his campaign said in a written statement. "If it is determined this time around that the state election form requires the level of detail in the federal form ... the campaign will happily submit amended paperwork."


The GOP sent out the news release to point out the "hypocrisy" of the situation, Emineth told the Herald.

"The Democrats came after Rick Berg. ... He accidentally left a couple things off and the Democrats made such a big deal about it," he said. "Here you have Congressman Pomeroy, who appears to have intentionally violated the Century Code."

Emineth said the Democrats' request for an investigation into Berg was maybe the start "of a really negative Washington-style campaign" that diverts from the real issues. He's not sure if the Republican Party will file an official complaint against Pomeroy for his disclosure form.


"We're still reviewing if it's necessary to do that," he said.

Secretary of State Al Jaeger, a Republican running for a sixth term, said his office by law simply makes sure each candidate submits a disclosure form.

"We do not have any authority to review or to audit or to check and see what they've provided to us regardless of who the candidate is," he said. "This is a requirement to have your name placed on the ballot, that's essentially it."

There also aren't specific rules on how long candidates have to amend their statement of interest, Jaeger said.

If a complaint is filed, the attorney general or state's attorney investigates the alleged violation and decides if there is enough evidence to bring the matter to district court.

The complaint filed against Berg has been referred to the Burleigh County state's attorney's office.

Jaeger said few people usually have asked for copies of candidates' disclosure forms.

"During my time in office, this is the first time I can recall a statement of interest form being an issue."


Johnson reports on local politics. Reach him at (701) 780-1105; (800) 477-6572, ext. 105; or send e-mail to rjohnson@gfherald.com .

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