It’s turning out to be a rough week for Bismarck Mayor Mike Seminary. And rightfully so. Yet, he has nobody to blame but himself. We published an article earlier in the week in which I wrote about the fact that the even the Bismarck Tribune noticed Seminary’s Corrupt Practices violations. Not only did they notice them, but they followed up with an article demanding an apology from the mayor. An apology that he ended up giving. How sincere it was, well… the voters will have to decide.
The call for an apology came as a result of Seminary releasing his plan earlier in the week to seek budget cuts and greater efficiencies. The mayor not only released the plan, but he did it “using the city’s email address, letterhead and mailing list, as well as posted online using the city’s social media platforms.” In essence, he released campaign material using city resources— something even Seminary admits himself:
“I agree with the Tribune editorial that my message should have been delivered by my campaign, not the city.”
As the week went on, Seminary’s debacle was a hot political topic— and still is. Aside from our article and the Bismarck Tribune, Say Anything Blog weighed in, and even Bismarck resident and State Representative Rick Becker chimed in to share his feelings on the subject. You can see his video here.
But Seminary’s problems didn’t end there.
After refusing an invitation earlier in the week to appear with his opponents on the KFYR Kafe with Todd Mitchell on 550am, Seminary chose to go on with Mitchell yesterday. And it was odd— to put it mildly. Aside from being defensive, he brought local crony and Vice Chairman of the city’s Renaissance Zone Authority, Jim Christianson, with him to throw mud at mayoral candidate Steve Bakken. And in addition to that, at one point in the program, Seminary got so wound up that he announced the break himself and what they would be discussing on the other side of it— as if he was the host. It was nothing short of strange.
But not even that was the worst of it. Seminary went into mayoral meltdown at the end of the show when calls came in and none of them were favorable. But perhaps the most egregious display of the mayor’s tantrum came when one caller mentioned The Minuteman Blog— which completely triggered Seminary. I want to take just a moment to discuss a few points from the exchange.
The caller – who identified himself as having been part of last year’s effort to recall the mayor – wanted to clarify some comments Christianson had read earlier in the program that seemed to indicate fraudulent behavior on the part of those behind the recall effort. And he had a right to make that clarification, because there was no fraud involved. According to the North Dakota Bureau of Criminal Investigation Closure Report #BCI17-00337/2, Dated May 17, 2017:
“On April 28, 2017, North Dakota Bureau of Criminal Investigation (NDBCI) agents met with Bismarck City Administrators in Bismarck, North Dakota, about potential issues with the petitions for the recall of the Bismarck mayor. NDBCI’s assistance was requested from the Bismarck Police Department after the City Administrators wanted some petitions to be investigated. Special Agent (S/A) Casey Miller investigated the petitions in question and found no criminal activity.” (Emphasis Added)
Not only did Christianson share comments that inaccurately portrayed the recall effort, but he also said, “Bakken and his group tried to launch a recall effort…”. This is not true. Not only was Steve Bakken not the one who launched the recall, but he wasn’t part of the effort either. By the way, Christianson was quoting from an article on the Prairie Blog, but he inserted “Bakken and his group” where it doesn’t exist in the original.
But here’s where it starts to get even more interesting. At the mention of The Minuteman Blog (35:33), Seminary goes ballistic. And in so doing, he makes inaccurate statements about the blog. For example, in referencing an article done last month, he rightfully states that we claimed he violated the Corrupt Practices Law with his campaign vlogs. But then comes the lie.
Seminary states that:
“They were absolutely inaccurate and BCI called them out on it.”
While it’s true that BCI chose not to investigate the mayor for Corrupt Practices, BCI never “called [us] out” for our claims that he has. So, unless Seminary wants to provide evidence to the contrary, his statement is what it is— not true.
But here’s the amusing part. While going into complete meltdown at the mere mention of The Minuteman Blog, Seminary also inadvertently admits that even by BCI’s standards our claims are true when we suggested that he violated the Corrupt Practices Law with his vlogs. How is that? Well, you can listen to it here and see the evidence for yourself:
As you can see, BCI’s Director Dallas Carlson specifically expressed that:
“The only way [the vlogs] would be a crime is if he made the video… specifically for his campaign.”
Well, what did Mayor Seminary just admit to? That’s right. He made the videos for his campaign. And whether the time was voluntary or not, the law doesn’t permit him to do so for campaign purposes— which is exactly what they were for. He can “poo poo” that all he wants and it won’t change a thing.
And we’re not done yet. After this appearance on the KFYR Kafe, Seminary appeared on Point of View with Chris Berg. And it was there that he was pressed by Berg on the situation regarding his campaign release earlier in the week— the one in which he used city resources. The same one in which he apologized and acknowledged that he should have delivered it through his campaign instead. Here’s their exchange as Berg presses him on whether he violated the Corrupt Practices Law:
And with that, we not only have his admission in the Bismarck Tribune that he “made a mistake” (i.e. violated the Corrupt Practices Law), but we have the admission on video as well.
As we consider the mayor’s “mistake” earlier in the week, together with his statements on the KFYR Kafe and Point of View, one thing remains obvious— Mike Seminary has violated the Corrupt Practices Law. I have little hope that BCI will reverse course and carry out an investigation for Seminary’s blatant violations. But if nothing else, the one thing that the people of Bismarck can take away from the mayor’s meltdown this week is that it’s time for them to send him packing.