Senator Heidi Heitkamp, despite her carefully cultivated public demeanor, is a petty and vindictive politician.
But don’t take my word on it. The attack Heitkamp’s partisan surrogates launched on Congressman Kevin Cramer (a man on the verge of announcing a campaign for Heitkamp’s Senate seat) this week is evidence enough.
It was a two-pronged assault, the first having to do with Cramer’s campaign making payments to his wife and other family members.
This isn’t exactly news. Kris Cramer has been a paid member of her husband’s campaign since the 2012 cycle when he was first elected to office. According to disclosure reports filed with the FEC, from that cycle through the 3rd quarter of 2017 Kris Cramer has been paid a total of $139,055.07 including $119,000 in salary and just over $20,000 in expenses.
There are four years and 10 months between the first campaign payment to Kris Cramer and the last one recorded in September 2017. That means she’s been paid an average of $2,051 per month in salary or about $24,000 per year.
According to PayScale.com the average political campaign manager makes just a bit under $54,000 per year.
It sounds like Congressman Cramer is getting a bargain from his wife, even if we understand that many of those months fall outside of campaign season.
Cramer also employs his daughter Rachel Wegner at times. Since the 2012 cycle she’s collected $13,766.95 including $6,424.60 in expenses (the rest is salary). Reel Love Videos, a company owned by another of Cramer’s daughters, has been paid $11,334.45 for services since 2012.
The Democrats would like us to believe that the Cramer family is enriching themselves from political contributions, but that hardly seems to be the case. Cramer hasn’t paid his family very much at all. Absent some evidence that the family members are doing nothing in return for these dollars – I can attest to working with Kris while scheduling interviews with the Congressman – It’s hard to see where the scandal is.
I wonder if this line is attack is coming from all of the out of state political operatives Democrats hire into North Dakota during campaign season? Those folks probably don’t understand that North Dakota is a small business state. A lot of us here work with family. Cramer working with his family probably doesn’t seem untoward to most voters here.
The second gripe Democrats had yesterday is that Cramer sent an unethical tweet. In fact, they’re demanding an investigation into the tweet in question which state Democratic Party executive director Scott McNeil described as “undermining the credibility and dignity of the House.”
Here’s the tweet in question:
— Rep. Kevin Cramer (@RepKevinCramer) December 30, 2017
Supposedly this tweet represents Cramer using official taxpayer resources in a political campaign, but c’mon. Is Twitter really a taxpayer resource? I mean, it’s free. It doesn’t cost the taxpayers anything for Cramer to tweet.
You know what does cost the taxpayers a lot of money? Partisan operatives demanding quixotic investigations into trivia. “While the only evidence of such misuse of resources presented here is a single tweet, the OCE must treat any evidence of the use of official resources for campaign purposes as significantly undermining the integrity of the House,” McNeil is quoted as saying of his party’s demand for an investigation.