Heidi Heitkamp’s Reckless Spending Record

Heitkamp Opposed A Hiring Freeze, Lavished Her Staff With Bonuses, And Secretly Purchased A Pair Of Private Planes

WASHINGTON – Following unenthusiastic turnout last weekend at the North Dakota Democratic Party’s convention to nominate her to run for U.S. Senate, Heidi Heitkamp kicked-off the week with an attempt yesterday to revise her irresponsible fiscal record, but North Dakotans know better.

Throughout her career as a North Dakota politician, Heitkamp came under scrutiny for wasting state funds on lavish staff bonuses, secretly purchasing two private planes, and opposing a hiring freeze.

“From lavish bonuses for staff to secretly purchasing private planes, Heidi Heitkamp’s reckless spending actions speak far louder than her election-year words,” said Nate Hodson, director of state and regional media relations for American Crossroads.  “North Dakotans won’t be fooled by Heidi Heitkamp’s newfound rhetoric of fiscal responsibility which they know contradicts the wasteful spending decisions she has made throughout her career in politics.”

Heidi Heitkamp’s Spending Motto:  “Do As I Say, Not as I Do”

2012 Senate Candidate:  Heitkamp Claimed She Would Cut Her Office Budget And Turn Down Raises

Heitkamp Claimed She Would Cut Her Office Budget If Elected. “Heitkamp also pledged today to cut congressional office budgets by at least 5 percent, which she said is ‘a small thing, but I think it’s in response to people’s concern that they’ve had to tighten their budget and why is it that Congress and the government can’t, too?’” (Kristen M. Daum, “Heitkamp Makes Budget-Control Commitments,” North Dakota Forum, http://ndpolitics.areavoices.com/, 3/19/12)

Heitkamp Claimed She Would Turn Down Raises If Elected. “Lastly, Heitkamp said she’d vote against any congressional pay raise unless the federal budget is balanced. ‘I don’t care if I’m there for 35 years, I will never vote for a pay raise,’ she said. ‘If pay raises are granted, I’ll turn them back to the Treasury.’” (Kristen M. Daum, “Heitkamp Makes Budget-Control Commitments,” North Dakota Forum, http://ndpolitics.areavoices.com/, 3/19/12)

1993-2000 North Dakota Attorney General:  Heitkamp Opposed A Hiring Freeze, Lavished Her Staff With Bonuses, And Once Secretly Purchased A Pair Of Private Planes

Heitkamp Issued An Opinion That State Officials Could Ignore The Governor’s Hiring Freeze. “Gov. Ed Schafer is still considering a court challenge to two opinions issued recently by Attorney General Heidi Heitkamp. One opinion says elected state officials do not have to follow Schafer’s hiring freeze, and the other struck down one portion of Schafer’s line item veto in the state Human Services Department budget.” (Bismarck Tribune, 6/15/93)

In 1993 “The State Attorney General’s Office Acquired In May A Couple Of Four-Seater T-42 Beachcraft Barons. They Are 1965 Model, Twin-Engine Planes Valued At $102,000. “The state attorney general’s office acquired in May a couple of four-seater T-42 Bachcraft Barons. They are 1965 model, twin-engine planes valued at $102,000. One will be used strictly for drug enforcement acitivities [sic] in North Dakota, said Attorney General Heidi Heitkamp. The other will be stripped down and used for spare parts.”  (Kristine Donatelle, Bismarck Tribune, 7/27/93)

“One Hangup, If Any, Is That Some Lawmakers Are Miffed That Heitkamp Declined To Inform Them About Such A Major Acquisition.” (Kristine Donatelle, Bismarck Tribune, 7/27/93)

Heitkamp Claimed That She Can Spend Her Budgeted Amount As She Pleases Without Informing Anyone. “Though Heitkamp says she’s willing to talk to lawmakers who call her, under the law, Heitkamp says she is not obligated to inform them. As long as the attorney general’s office functions within the constraint of its operating budget appropriation, it has the flexibility to spend as it sees fit, she says. State budget officials also concur. Heitkamp explained why informing lawmakers ‘never even crossed our mind.’”  (Kristine Donatelle, Bismarck Tribune, 7/27/93)

Heitkamp Gave Her Staff 15-30% Pay Raises, Far Above The Standard 3% For Public Employees. “She claimed that other attorneys were making more money for doing the same thing. She thereby justified her decision to increase staff attorneys salaries at the attorney general’s office. These raises varied from 15 percent annual increases to over 30 percent annual increases — a far cry above the 3 percent raises authorized for other state employees.” (Ward K. Johnson, Letter To The Editor, Bismarck Tribune, 12/5/94) (“Heitkamp Says Raises Overdue,” Bismarck Tribune, 11/21/94)