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Financial Breakdown: Rick Berg vs. Heidi Heitkamp - Valley News Live - KVLY/KXJB - Fargo/Grand Forks

Financial Breakdown: Rick Berg vs. Heidi Heitkamp

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The biggest race on this year's ticket in North Dakota has also attracted the most money, and you're seeing a lot of it spent on television political ads. Between the two candidates, Rick Berg and Heidi Heitkamp have raised more than $6 million, but we wanted to know, who is funding these campaigns. We did some digging on where the money is coming from.

Heidi Heitkamp Campaign

According to opensecrets.org, which lists federal campaign contributions, Heidi Heitkamp has raised more than $2.1 million.  She has spent almost $1.5 million of that, leaving her with nearly $680,000 cash on hand.

When you look at the contributors, here's who's at the top of the list.

  1. Motley Rice, LLC: $40,750
  2. Weitz & Luxenberg: $22,400
  3. The Council for a Livable World: $12,276

Motley Rice and Weitz & Luxenberg are both among the nation's leading law firms. The Council for a Livable World is a non profit, non partisan group dedicated to reducing the danger of nuclear weapons and increasing national security

When you group Heitkamp's contributions into industries, it's no surprise to find legal and law firms at the top of the former attorney generals list.

  • Legal & Law Firms: $277,589
  • Leadership pacs: $251,000
  • Lobbyists: $80,634

We asked her campaign specifically, how many of those firms had ties to the environment, an area where republicans have been critical of her.  A spokesperson admitted they don't know how many environmental attorneys have given money to the campaign.  They added that republican claims that she might try to ban fracking, which is key to western North Dakota oil production, are trumped up charges.

A Heitkamp spokesperson also pointed out that Weitz & Luxenberg, as of two years ago, is no longer taking on fracking cases.  Despite this information, our investigation found that the firm is still very active in other environmental cases including petroleum spills, landfill odors and water contamination cases.

Rick Berg Campaign

According to opensecrets.org, which lists federal campaign contributions, congressman Rick Berg has raised nearly $4 million. He has spent more than $1.7 million of that, leaving Berg with a whopping $2.1 million cash on hand.

When you look at the list of contributors, here's who tops the list.

  1. Verizon Communications: $43,666
  2. Elliott Management: $29,413
  3. Norpac: $26,700

Elliott Management is a marketing consulting firm, and a company that spends a lot of money on candidates. Norpac is a non-partisan pac that supports candidates who show a commitment to Israel.

When you group Berg's contributions into industries, oil and gas clearly tops the list:

  • Oil and Gas Companies:$402,949
  • Securities and Investment: $270,083
  • Leadership Pacs: $250,163

Leadership pacs are pots of money that help other politicians, in this case, Republicans. Lawmakers can use their leadership pacs to gain clout among their colleagues and boost their chances for leadership posts or committee chairmanships.

Politicians also use leadership pacs to lay the groundwork for their own campaigns for higher office. In this case, Rick Berg's bid to go from the U.S. House to the Senate.

One thing to point out for both campaigns: There is a lot more money being spent on television ads right now, attacking one candidate or the other. That money is coming from outside sources, 3rd party funds, that will continue to flow right up until election day.

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