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WAYNE STENEHJEM

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It's time for state officials to get serious about this. There are too many red flags, too many convenient connections between family, political allies, and business partners, for us to believe that this deal was above board.
Did Rep. Jason Dockter, a Bismarck-area Republican, really think that this sort of dealing, assuming it's all technically in compliance with state law, would pass the smell test with the public? If he didn't, he's a fool, and if he did, you have to wonder why he went ahead with it anyway.
"It's obvious that whatever was deleted was deemed more harmful than any heat the deletions might bring. In Wayne Stenehjem's case, Liz Brocker read the tea leaves correctly. Stenehjem's replacement, Drew Wrigley, has chosen to simply look the other way."
This week, InForum columnist runs through three things that stink, including the vault bathrooms at the Fargo National Cemetery, the deletion of Wayne Stenehjem's emails and Rep. Michelle Fischbach's recent actions on Capitol Hill.
"I am only aware of the information reported by the media and there is not anything that has been reported that causes me to believe a crime occurred to make a referral," Julie Lawyer says of the deleted email scandal in the North Dakota Attorney General's Office.
Attorney General Drew Wrigley is the hero of this story, not the villain.

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There are plenty of honest questions about this situation that are unanswered. A thorough, independent investigation could perhaps answer some of them. At the very least, it could illuminate which steps need to be taken to keep this from happening again.
State agencies are required to maintain a records retention schedule with the state's chief information officer. The Attorney General's Office has one for electronic communications, but it doesn't do much.
"You have been very understanding and patient as we worked together during the transition, but I believe we both now recognize that we will not achieve the close working relationship that is vital between the Attorney General and his Executive Assistant," Liz Brocker wrote in an email to Attorney General Drew Wrigley.

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