BISMARCK, ND – When President Obama appointed North Dakota lawyer Timothy Purdon as US Attorney and chief federal prosecutor for the state of North Dakota in February, 2010, it drew substantial criticism as a move that further politicized what is supposed to be a fair and impartial bench.
Now Purdon’s political impartiality is coming under fire again, with his legal filing against 7 oil companies in North Dakota for the loss of 28 birds over a 45 day period in May-June this year, the same time that most of North Dakota was experiencing torrential rains and breaking all time flood records.
In addition to Purdon’s own past political activism, his wife, Carmen Miller, formerly worked as a lobbyist for the National Environmental Trust, a public relations firm whose goal is to educate and shape the public’s perception of environmental issues.
Steve Moore, an economist and editorial board member for the Wall Street Journal, cited the lawsuit as part of Obama’s coordinated effort to reduce domestic oil production.
The lawsuit has also been publicly criticized by Senator Jim Imhofe (R-OK) and former VP Dick Cheney. Imhofe called it an outright attack on American energy interests, while Cheney said it was all too typical of the Obama administration’s approach to the natural gas and oil industry.
Even the Los Angeles Times questioned Purdon’s nomination, noting that Purdon had zero experience as a prosecutor at the time. As an attorney, Purdon specialized in personal injury lawsuits, criminal defense and plaintiffs’ class action litigation, according to the Times.
Just prior to his appointment, Purdon was a prominent fundraiser for the Democratic Party, the ND party’s state committeeman, as well as the state chairman for John Edwards’ presidential campaign. FEC records show that Purdon donated $12,400 to Obama, Conrad, Dorgan, Pomeroy and others.
Bill Burdvik, who had also been up for the job, told the Fargo Forum that the move hardly lived up to Obama’s promises of restoring the political independence of the courts.
PlainsDaily has left messages for US Attorney Purdon to ask him about his partiality in filing the lawsuit, but has not yet received a call back.