Rep. Marvin Nelson playing with dark money

Roger Sundahl

Gig Harbor, Wash.

Several months ago, I publicly asked State Representative Marvin Nelson to disclose who is paying for his lawsuit against the state of North Dakota and mineral owners. In a telephone conversation with Rep. Marvin Nelson last week, I asked him again who is footing the bill for his group’s high priced Edina, Minnesota legal team, in their effort to block implementation of S.B. 2134, which was overwhelmingly passed by the North Dakota Legislature and signed into law by Gov. Burgum in 2017.

This bill was passed to delineate ownership of mineral acres inundated and affected by Lake Sakakawea.

Rep. Nelson’s response was it is none of our business who is paying their legal bill. Well, Rep. Nelson, it is our business because your lawsuit will set unprecedented public policy against the overwhelming intent of the state legislature and it is our business since our family has paid hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal bills to get our mineral acres returned by the State of North Dakota. Thousands of other mineral owners are also affected by your lawsuit, Rep. Nelson, so yes, it is our business to question who is paying your legal bill.

Our family was forced, at our own expense, to take on big government and wrestle with oil companies, who were caught in the middle of this dispute, in our efforts to get our mineral acres returned.Thanks to your lawsuit, Rep. Nelson, we are now having to face one more hurdle, a large out-of-state law firm. Is it unreasonable to ask who is funding your lawsuit?

They must have a substantial reason for pouring dark money into your lawsuit and the public deserves to know why.

The North Dakota Industrial Commission will be holding a hearing (June 26) to hear comments from impacted mineral owners. We would hope the Commission has a thorough appreciation of personal property rights as they hear comments and make their decision to resolve this complicated matter.