North Dakota’s Democratic National Committeeman stepped down from his post on Feb. 4 — the same day he was nominated to be his state’s U.S. Attorney, Northdecoder.com, a North Dakota political blog, reported last week.
U.S. Attorney nominee Tim Purdon has received criticism for his strong political ties and his lack of prosecutorial experience. Purdon, a lawyer at Vogel Law Firm in Bismarck, N.D., has donated almost $12,400 to North Dakota Democrats and national politicians and committees since 2000, including $2,300 to President Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign, we reported last week. Read his full bio here.
“When President Obama said he wanted to restore the independence and dignity of the U.S. attorney’s office, in light of the Alberto Gonzales fiasco, and then appoints a political activist and party fundraiser, it seems a little to me more like ‘politics as usual’ than ‘change we can believe in’,” Bill Brudvik, who had been a candidate for the job, told the Fargo Forum.
Purdon declined to comment to Main Justice. Spokespersons for the DNC as well as North Dakota’s two Democratic senators - Kent Conrad and Byron Dorgan - didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.
But the North Dakota congressional delegation — which includes Conrad, Dorgan and at large Rep. Earl Pomeroy (D) — said in a joint statement last week that Purdon was an “outstanding choice.”
“He is well respected and an example of how dedication, education, and hard work pay off. He has a distinguished record and has proven his ability to enforce the law with conviction and courage,” the congressional delegation said in the statement. “We are confident he will make a fine U.S. Attorney, upholding the Constitution and protecting all North Dakotans.”
It isn’t unusual for U.S. Attorney nominees to be closely involved with party politics before they are tapped and some have had little — if any — prosecutorial experience. Many Obama U.S. Attorney nominees donated to Democrats in 2008 and some played roles on Democratic campaigns. A few were never prosecutors before they became U.S. Attorneys.
Purdon would replace Lynn C. Jordheim, who has been North Dakota’s acting U.S. Attorney since the Sept. 13 resignation of Drew Wrigley. Wrigley, who had been the district’s head prosecutor since November 2001, is now the vice president of the Fargo, N.D.,-based Noridian Administrative Services, which helps businesses with information management and customer service.
Some of the reported candidates for the U.S. Attorney post included:
- Brudvik, a partner at Ohnstad Twichell Law Firm in Mayville, N.D., and candidate for state attorney general.
- Janice Morley, an Assistant U.S. Attorney in Fargo.
- Jasper Schneider, a state representative and Fargo.
- Rebecca Thiem, an attorney with Zuger Kirmis & Smith in Bismarck.