Plain Talk: Let's talk about big money in politics

Chad Oban and I discuss the controversy around spending in North Dakota's legislative races, and Cody Schuler from the ACLU of North Dakota joins to chat about his new job and what his organization will be prioritizing going forward.

Rep. Jeff Magrum, R-Hazelton, holds up an attack ad paid for by Brighter Future Alliance at a press conference in the North Dakota Capitol on Thursday, May 26, 2022.
Jeremy Turley / Forum News Service
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MINOT, N.D. — Gov. Doug Burgum is spending big to influence the North Dakota Republican Party's legislative primaries.

The people on the pointy end of that stick, namely the Bastiat Caucus wing of Trumpy populist candidates, don't like that so much, and they've even come up with some dubious legal arguments claiming it may be illegal.

Are they right? Almost certainly not. But even beyond the legalities, is what Burgum doing kosher from just an ethical point of view?

I discussed it on this episode of Plain Talk with my Wednesday co-host Chad Oban. We also hit on the state of some of those legislative races around the state — it's not looking so good for the Bastiats but District 8 is still a battleground — and touched on some upcoming conversations about gun control we're going to have on the show.

Also on this episode, Cody Schuler, the new advocacy manager for the ACLU of North Dakota, joins to talk about his job and what issues his organization will be prioritizing going forward, with abortion being a big one given that the U.S. Supreme Court is expected to overturn the Roe v. Wade precedent.


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The North Dakota Republican Party no longer has any obligation to pretend as though Rick Becker is a member in good standing, whatever Becker himself might have to say about it.

Opinion by Rob Port
Rob Port is a news reporter, columnist, and podcast host for the Forum News Service. He has an extensive background in investigations and public records. He has covered political events in North Dakota and the upper Midwest for two decades. Reach him at Click here to subscribe to his Plain Talk podcast.
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