Sand camp questions Pomeroy fundraiser at resortBISMARCK — U.S. Rep. Earl Pomeroy, D-N.D., is hosting a $2,500-per-head campaign fundraiser this week at a sprawling Pennsylvania resort, an event Duane Sand’s campaign says illustrates the congressman is out of touch with North Dakotans.
By: Janell Cole, N.D. Capitol Bureau
BISMARCK — U.S. Rep. Earl Pomeroy, D-N.D., is hosting a $2,500-per-head campaign fundraiser this week at a sprawling Pennsylvania resort, an event Duane Sand’s campaign says illustrates the congressman is out of touch with North Dakotans.
The e-mailed invitation to the event asks contributors to “please join Congressman Earl Pomeroy for a weekend of championship golf, world-class spas and family entertainment at Nemacolin Woodlands Resort,” Farmington, Pa.
Advertised as “a whimsical place where you can escape life,” Nemacolin boasts 10 restaurants, two tennis courts, five pools, multiple golf courses, a shooting academy, guided fly-fishing, horseback riding, petting zoo, off-road driving academy, zebra and black bear habitat, bison, live animal shows, paintball combat, mountain biking, ropes courses, wall climbing and an airfield, in addition to skiing in winter months. It is in southwestern Pennsylvania, between Pittsburgh and Washington, D.C.
The event was set for Thursday through Saturday this week and was organized by a Washington, D.C., Democratic campaign consultant, Fraioli and Associates, which also represents campaigns of several other Democrats in the U.S. House, including South Dakota’s Stephanie Herseth Sandlin.
“I think this demonstrates how out-of-touch Earl Pomeroy is with the people of North Dakota to go to a tony resort—really a junket,” said Matt Dabrowski, spokesman for Sand, Pomeroy’s Republican opponent.
Pomeroy campaign manager Dianne Mondry said the congressman has “always done a variety of events to help raise funds for his re-election efforts, including risking personal embarrassment by swinging a golf club at occasional events like this one.”
Dabrowski said North Dakotans should ask themselves whose interests Pomeroy is looking out for, noting that Pomeroy has raised more than $1 million from political action committees, a figure available on watchdog group OpenSecrets.org’s Web site. The PAC contributions represent 76 percent of Pomeroy’s campaign income through early June, while the other 24 percent, more than $329,000, came from individuals.
The Nemacolin event seems geared to PACs, because as Fraioli and Associates notes on the invitation, individuals can’t donate more than $2,300 per election.
The top industries contributing to Pomeroy are insurance, health professionals and hospitals-nursing homes, according to OpenSecrets.org.
Dabrowski, a veteran of national campaigns, said the Pomeroy fundraiser “is entirely different from what he’s done before” and that “North Dakotans need to ask what’s going on and why you see lobbyists junkets and millions of dollars in PAC contributions.”
Mondry counters, calling it “interesting that Duane Sand would criticize Earl for raising money outside of North Dakota when nearly all of Sand’s contributions have come from outside the state.” She said Pomeroy has received money from “nearly 1,800 North Dakotans who have contributed an average of $141 each over the last couple of years.
Sand’s pre-primary campaign report to the Federal Election Commission shows no money raised from PACs and nearly $716,000 from about 160 individuals, 23 of whom live in North Dakota. The rest are spread around the country from nearly every state and Washington, D.C.
Janell Cole works for Forum Communications Co., which owns The Dickinson Press.