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Mon, Oct 29, 2012

ND Senate Candidate Accused Of Misuse Of Private Airplane

Democrats Say Republican Rep. Rick Berg Is Not Reimbursing His Own Company For Plane's Use

North Dakota Republican Senate hopeful Rick Berg (pictured), who is currently serving in the U.S. House, has been using an airplane registered to a company in which he is part owner to travel around the state. But Democrats say he has not properly reimbursed the company for the plane's use.

The North Dakota Democratic Party filed a complaint with the Federal Elections Commission about the plane's use. Democratic Party spokeswoman Rania Batrice said he is required to make the reimbursement even though he is partial owner of the aircraft.

The Huffington Post reports that Batrice says that a "commercially reasonable time frame" has passed for such reimbursements to show up on Bert's campaign expenditure reports, and they have not seen any such reimbursements.

The Democrat in the race is former state Attorney General Heidi Heitkamp. The seat is open and considered competitive after the retirement of Senator Kent Conrad (D). Heitkamp said her campaign usually travels by car, but has chartered a plane twice and paid the charter company promptly.

In a statement, Berg campaign spokesman Chris Van Guilder said that the filing was a "desperate attack" on the part of Heitkamp. "Our campaign regularly, and in full compliance with Federal Election Commission regulations, pays for all travel expenses, including the travel specifically noted by the North Dakota Democratic Party. We have a system in place to ensure timely reimbursement and reporting of travel expenses," the statement said.

FMI: www.fec.gov

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