MINOT, N.D. — Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos threw a party in Washington, D.C., this past weekend.
Among the invitees were Microsoft founder Bill Gates, former Secretary of Defense James Mattis, Jared Kushner and wife Ivanka Trump, Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) and North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum.
According to a report by the Daily Mail, the event was a sort of after-party for the glitz Alfalfa Club Dinner, which was also held this weekend. Romney was the keynote speaker at the dinner.
That dinner was also the reason Burgum was on the scene.
"Gov. Burgum was in D.C. on personal business as a guest of his longtime friend Bill Gates at the Alfalfa Club dinner," Burgum spokesman Mike Nowatzki told me. "No tax dollars or state resources were used."
Nowatzki added that the event was an opportunity to build relationships and promote North Dakota with people at the highest levels of government and business. "They did it all on their own dime," he said.
The location of the fete was the 27,000-square-foot, $23 million Washington D.C. mansion Bezos bought in 2016.
Burgum isn't mentioned in the Daily Mail article, but a photo of him alongside Gates and North Dakota first lady Kathryn Helgaas Burgum is featured.
The Alfalfa Club was founded in 1913 by a group of Southerners wanting to honor the birthday of Civil War general and Virginian Robert E. Lee. It now exists to hold, at the end of each January, the black-tie party Burgum attended.
The group began admitting blacks in 1974, and women in 1994. In 2009, then-President Barack Obama attended and addressed the event. "This dinner began almost 100 years ago as a way to celebrate the birthday of Gen. Robert E. Lee," Obama told attendees. "If he were here with us tonight, the general would be 202 years old. And very confused."
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Rob Port, founder of SayAnythingBlog.com, a North Dakota political blog, is a Forum Communications commentator. Listen to his Plain Talk Podcast and follow him on Twitter at @RobPort.