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N.D. POLITICS NOTEBOOK: Year-end political funding reports come in

BISMARCK - Year-end reports for North Dakota candidates and parties showing final 2006 fundraising results are being compiled on the secretary of state's Web site. Reports were due Wednesday.

BISMARCK - Year-end reports for North Dakota candidates and parties showing final 2006 fundraising results are being compiled on the secretary of state's Web site. Reports were due Wednesday.

Laws require all political officeholders report even if they were not on the ballot and had no contributions.

Only two such officeholders had contributions.

Public Service Commissioner Kevin Cramer got $1,500 from the Florida Power and Light Co. Employees Political Action Committee. FPL is a Florida utility company involved in wind turbine farms in North Dakota.

Insurance Commissioner Jim Poolman got $25,015, $25,000 of it in one lump from Sara A. Bachrach, of Rye, N.Y., an employee of Lehman Brothers.

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He tells us Bachrach's husband worked for New York Gov. George Pataki, and the couple "supports various Republicans around the country."

The report shows the money has been spent, but the state doesn't require him to disclose what it was spent on.

Several 2006 candidate reports were online by late Friday:

-- Tax Commissioner Cory Fong, $167,768; his challenger, Brent Edison, $237,756.

-- Public Service Commission candidate Cheryl Bergian, $139,984; her opponent and incumbent Tony Clark, $66,376.

-- Kristin Hedger, unsuccessful opponent of Secretary of State Al Jaeger: $152,718; Jaeger, $33,213.

-- Attorney General candidate Bill Brudvik, $66,122; his opponent, Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem, did not have a report entered online yet.

Neither state parties' reports were listed yet, nor year-end reports of the agriculture commission candidates from 2006.

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Laughable list

Democratic-NPL senators had a chuckle last week when they received statements from the North Dakota Republican Party chairman telling them it was time to pay their membership dues.

Two who received them, Sen. Aaron Krauter, D-Regent, and Sen. Carolyn Nelson, D-Fargo, showed off the envelopes, emblazoned on the front with, "2007 Membership Statement Enclosed."

Inside, it asked for $36.50, and state Chairman Ken Karls pleaded, "Please Carolyn, join our team today and help us meet tomorrow's challenges. . . . Believe me, your reply will be welcome news at our Bismarck headquarters."

Even while snickering at the letters, Democrats' Communication Director Rick Gion noted his party, too, has had mailings over the years that have gone by mistake to the opposition.

Reporting reformsThe North Dakota House voted unanimously Tuesday to tighten campaign laws to require separate reporting of contributions political parties receive to fund conventions. It's House Bill 1375.

Last year, North Dakota Democrats raised questions when they accepted corporate contributions to fund their state convention. Secretary of State Al Jaeger questioned whether the contributions fit a law allowing a corporation to buy advertising. Then-Executive Director Jim Fuglie defended the contributions but later returned them.

Jaeger said he'd have a bill to close the loophole and Fuglie said he'd ask Democratic-NPL lawmakers to back it.

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HB 1375 also sets a 10-day deadline for submitting corrected political contribution reports. The House voted Tuesday and the bill now moves to the Senate.

Cole works for Forum Communications, which owns the Herald.

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