President Barack Obama has come under fire for his nomination of Tim Purdon for North Dakota U.S. Attorney, with some critics saying the prominent Democrat received the nomination for his party allegiance rather than his experience, Fox News reported Saturday.
Critics say that Purdon was chosen over more-qualified candidates due to his political connections. Purdon — who was on the executive committee of the North Dakota Democratic-NPL Party from February 2006 until his resignation earlier this month — has no prosecutorial experience. Read about his full background here.
Bill Brudvik, who had been a candidate for the job, initially criticized Obama for the nomination of Purdon in an interview with the Fargo Forum, but on Saturday he declined comment to Fox News. “I’ve said way too much,” Brudvik told Fox.
Others who were under consideration for the job were Jasper Schneider, a state representative and Fargo attorney; Janice Morley, an Assistant U.S. Attorney in Fargo; and Rebecca Thiem, an attorney with Zuger Kirmis & Smith in Bismarck.
Scott Hennen, a conservative commentator in North Dakota, blasted Purdon’s political connections and his background as a criminal defense attorney, Fox News reported.
“Talk about the fox guarding the hen house,” he wrote on his Web site. “Looks like Purdon’s lifetime service to the Democrats — raising mega bucks for big government-loving tax-hiking liberals — is getting rewarded.”
Purdon has the support of his state’s delegation.
Democratic Rep. Earl Pomeroy, in a statement, called Purdon 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,” Pomeroy added. “We are confident he will make a fine U.S. attorney, upholding the Constitution and protecting all North Dakotans.”
In a written statement to Fox News, Sen. Kent Conrad (D-N.D.) also defended Purdon.
“Tim Purdon is a talented attorney with a distinguished legal record. As has been stated previously, Senator Conrad has complete confidence in Mr. Purdon’s ability to enforce the law and serve the people of North Dakota,” Conrad wrote.
If confirmed, Purdon would replace Drew Wrigley, who was the district’s U.S. Attorney from 2001 until Sept. 11, 2009. The district’s current acting U.S. Attorney is Lynn C. Jordheim.
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Tim Purdon (Moorhead State University, Hamline University School of Law) is nominated to be U.S. Attorney for North Dakota. He would replace Drew Wrigley, who was the district’s U.S. Attorney from 2001 until Sept. 11, 2009. The district’s current acting U.S. Attorney is Lynn C. Jordheim.
- Born in Oakes, N.D., in 1968.
- Earned an associate’s degree in liberal arts from North Dakota State College of Science.
- Has worked at Vogel Law Firm in Bismarck, N.D., since May 2005. He joined as an associate as was made a partner on Jan. 1,2006.
- Was on the executive committee of the North Dakota Democratic-NPL Party from February 2006 until earlier this month.
- Worked at Dickson & Purdon in Bismarck, N.D., from June 1996 to May 2005. He joined as an associate as was made a partner in 2001. At that time the name of the firm was changed to Dickson & Purdon.
- Was an associate at Olson & Cichy in Bismarck, N.D., from September 1995 to June 1996.
- Clerked for the Honorable Bruce M. VanSickle, a senior judge in the U.S. District Court in in Bismarck, N.D., from September 1994 to September 1995.
- Worked as a summer associate at Briggs & Morgan in St. Paul, Minn., in 1993.
- Was a summer associate at Jeffries Olson & Flom in Fargo, N.D., in 1992.
- Worked on the grounds crew at Moorhead Country Club in Moorhead, Minn., during the summer of 1991.
- Has tried more than 40 jury trials. In at least 95 percent of these cases, he served as sole or chief counsel.
Click here for his full Senate Judiciary Committee questionnaire.
UPDATE: On his Office of Government Ethics financial disclosure Purdon reported that his salary and bonuses for 2008 and most of 2009 was $182,000. He also reported $22,000 in LLP income for 2008 and most of 2009 from the law office’s building.
On his Senate Judiciary financial disclosure he reported assets of $1,738,800, mostly in securities, and liabilities of $243,000 for a net worth of $1,495,800.