It’s been 12 days since the North Dakota House did the unthinkable, by disregarding their own rules and ignoring Due Process, as they expelled Rep. Luke Simons (R – District 36) for uninvestigated allegations of harassment. Approving of the pathetic display of political power was North Dakota Republican Party (NDGOP) Chairman Rick Berg.
In the wake of Simons’ decision not to pursue expensive legal action to regain his seat, the District 36 Republican Executive Committee appointed Dori Hauck to fill the vacancy late last week. But in congratulating Hauck, Chairman Berg couldn’t help but take a jab at Luke Simons too:
“I’d like to extend my sincere congratulations to Dori Hauck for being selected to fill the vacancy in District 36. We know she will bring outstanding conservative leadership to her constituents. Additionally, we stand in full support of the action our legislative leaders took to remove Rep. Simons from office. While we are all entitled to due process under the law, no one is entitled to hold public office, particularly when the detailed allegations against them have been credibly backed by fellow Republican legislators.” (Emphasis Added)
In the days since making that statement, I’ve not only had a number of people voice their displeasure to me about it, but others have done the same on social media. And rightfully so.
Not only is Berg’s statement misguided, but it’s downright stupid— for a variety of reasons.
- Has Berg forgotten the reality that the activist arm of the NDGOP is often the lifeblood of the party? Like it or not, many of those who fall into this category were appalled by the way the Simons’ situation was handled. It could be very unwise to alienate them.
- It’s contradictory. On the one hand, Berg pretends to support Due Process, while on the other parsing the issue and pretending the Luke Simons’ situation didn’t rise to the level of “due process under the law”. It’s a convenient position to take— the very same one used to rush through Simons’ expulsion. The problem is that Rick Berg — like so many others — ignore the reality that rules were in place for handling such allegations and they were completely disregarded. Which still leaves many of us wondering why. After all, if truth was on their side, what was there to be afraid of by having an investigation?
- The last half of the statement actually detracts from its supposed purpose— to congratulate Dori Hauck. All Berg needed was the first two sentences. That’s it. Nothing more. Regardless of how she got into the legislature, this was Hauck’s moment. And she deserved respect while having it. But Berg seemingly couldn’t control himself. He just had to drag Luke Simons — and support for his expulsion — back into it. It was disrespectful, despicable, and showed terribly poor leadership.
I’ve heard it a number of times now that not even those of us who opposed Simons’ expulsion defended him against the allegations— instead, it’s said we just talk about Due Process. Well, duh. That’s because some of us are intelligent enough to want as many facts as possible before final judgments are made. That certainly can’t be said for the likes of Rick Berg and others who simply wanted Luke Simons gone.
Make no mistake about it, Berg’s statement was unnecessary. Both Dori Hauck and Republicans in general deserve better.
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- Rules for Thee, but Not for Me- House Expels Luke Simons – The Minuteman Blog
- Credibility Issues Linger for Luke Simons’ Accusers – The Minuteman Blog
- Dori Hauck to Replace Luke Simons in ND House | AM 1100 The Flag WZFG