Kristen M. Clark

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N.D. finally has U.S. attorney nominee

By Kristen M. Daum

kdaum@forumcomm.com

 

Bismarck attorney Timothy Purdon will be nominated as the next U.S. attorney for North Dakota today, multiple sources familiar with the process told The Forum on Wednesday.

 

Mayville attorney Bill Brudvik, who was one of several nominees for the post, confirmed the news, as well as several other sources who requested anonymity because they did not have the authority to share the information.

 

President Barack Obama is expected to officially announce the nomination today, sources said.

 

Once nominated, Purdon would then need Senate confirmation before being sworn in – a process that can take several more months.

 

Purdon declined to comment Wednesday, saying: “We may talk again in the near future but, right now, I’m not in a position to comment on that.”

 

Purdon, an attorney with the Vogel Law Firm in Bismarck, also serves as the state’s Democratic National Committeeman.

 

He had not yet resigned that post as of Wednesday afternoon, said DNC regional spokesman Frank Benenati.

 

According to Federal Election Commission records, Purdon has donated nearly $12,400 to North Dakota Democrats and national politicians and committees since 2000, including:

 

• $2,250 to Sens. Byron Dorgan and Kent Conrad and Rep. Earl Pomeroy.

 

• $2,300 to Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign.

 

• $5,343 to the Democratic-NPL Party.

 

Purdon was among a handful of names previously mentioned as possibilities for the post of North Dakota’s chief federal prosecutor.

 

Others mentioned included: Brudvik, Assistant U.S. Attorney Janice Morley of Fargo, Bismarck attorney Rebecca Thiem, and Fargo attorney Jasper Schneider, who has since been appointed by Obama to serve as North Dakota state director for USDA Rural Development.

 

Thiem has contributed more than $6,000 since 1997 to Democratic causes. Schneider has contributed $750 to Pomeroy since 2006. Brudvik and Morley had no record of federal contributions.

 

Brudvik said he is not familiar with Purdon’s legal career but is aware of his active participation in the Democratic Party.

 

“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,” Brudvik said, “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.’ ”

 

Brudvik, a former Democratic-NPL candidate for North Dakota attorney general, said he had no knowledge of ever having been vetted for the U.S. attorney position.

 

“When I heard that the competition was someone who was a party activist and a fundraiser, I basically made the decision to move on with my life,” he said. “All I knew how to do is practice law and I don’t have those political connections.”

 

Purdon’s law practice focuses on criminal defense, personal injury and consumer fraud litigation.

 

Recently, Purdon was one of four lawyers who worked on a class-action lawsuit against the city of Fargo, which agreed to pay up to $1.5 million for traffic fines exceeding those allowed by state law.

 

After attending the North Dakota State College of Science and Minnesota State University Moorhead, Purdon earned a law degree from Hamline University in St. Paul.

 

Lynn C. Jordheim has served as North Dakota’s acting U.S. attorney since September, when Bush appointee Drew Wrigley resigned.

 

As of Wednesday, 34 U.S. attorneys out of 93 positions nationwide had been confirmed by the Senate and sworn into office, according to the Department of Justice.

Feb. 4, 2010 • News • Page A1, A6

Democratic Party activist chosen; announcement expected today

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