According to public records, a number of North Dakota lawmakers and their associated businesses have received millions in federal paycheck protection program (PPP) dollars. In total, nearly $6 million federal dollars have been received by businesses connected to 33 lawmakers. You can view the amount received broken down by lawmaker, business, the amount received, and its use at the bottom of this article.
Let me be clear, this isn’t a judgment on whether or not the federal PPP was warranted. The last year was difficult for many businesses. NDx supports the PPP as well as additional state programs we pushed early in the pandemic to offset the economic hardship on businesses and workers. Readers can see below how many payroll jobs and rents were covered by federal assistance.
However, if you look at some of the legislators who received federal assistance and compare it to their bombastic rhetoric against government assistance to other North Dakotans in need of relief, it isn’t difficult to find their hypocrisy. Some of the “pull yourself up by the bootstraps, no need for government aid” crowd appeared to crowd the lobby of their bank to make sure they were in line for their 100% federally guaranteed assistance.
Here are a couple of questions that should be asked How have some of those same legislators voted on government assistance for their constituents? How can some of these legislators justify their refusal to lend a hand up to fellow North Dakotans while they extend their own hand out for federal dollars?
By applying for and receiving these federal dollars, there is an acknowledgment government assistance plays a role in helping individuals through troubled times. It should be difficult for some of those lawmakers to reject government assistance to others in need. They’ll likely try to find a way to justify their rejections for others in need of temporary assistance.