MINOT, N.D. — On Saturday, Jan. 4, I was the first to report that Republican state lawmaker Daniel Johnston, a Republican from Kathryn, would be launching a campaign for state Treasurer.
Long-time Republican incumbent Kelly Schmidt has opted not to run for another term. So far, Johnston is the only announced candidate in the race. He officially announced his campaign earlier this week on Tuesday.
He's also got a couple of civil cases in his public record that voters may want to consider before putting him in charge of the state's Treasury.
A 2011 civil file from Oliver County shows that Johnston and his wife were sued by the Credit Collections Bureau. The matter was settled with the plaintiff being awarded $1,066.52 in damages.
The record indicates that Johnston settled the matter in February of that year.
A second civil file from 2018, from Barnes County, indicates that Johnston and his wife were sued by DCI Credit Services, Inc. The plaintiff was awarded $705.63 in that matter, and the court record indicates the judgment was satisfied in September of that year.
These are small judgments, and certainly anyone can hit a financial rough patch now and then, but Johnston himself is running on his ability to be accountable and a good steward of the state's money.
“I am running to maintain this important stewardship of the people’s money with integrity, efficiency, and accountability,” Johnston is quoted as saying in a press release announcing his campaign. “The state of North Dakota has tens of billions in various funds in its coffers. It has never been more important to make certain our fiscal house remains in order and that the people of North Dakota continue to benefit from an independent State Treasurer’s office.”
I spoke with Johnston about these files by telephone this afternoon.
"I don't remember," he told me when I first inquired about them.
"I'm not trying to mislead you here, but I will look into it," he continued when I pressed him on the matter. He ultimately said he remembered the files just "not enough to comment."
A search for criminal records related to Johnston turned up several minor traffic violations.
To comment on this article, visit www.sayanythingblog.com
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.