Doug Burgum is on a mission to refuse his governor’s salary, which he doesn’t need because he’s extremely rich.
“You’d think that as governor that on the first day you could say, ‘I refuse my salary,'” Burgum said recently. “But this thing is hard-wired into a bunch of different places. So we’ve still got lawyers looking at trying to figure out how to get this thing done.”
Burgum could easily take his salary and donate it, but he’s so hell bent on doing it his way that he’s got lawyers involved.
Lawyers cost money. So who’s paying for them? Are they Burgum’s personal lawyers or the taxpayer-funded lawyers of the state?
“I guess I don’t have any comment,” Burgum spokesman Mike Nowatzki told us today.
We asked again: Is state money being used for Burgum’s salary refusal mission? Again, Nowatzki issued a no comment.
Assuming that the lawyers aren’t working for free, it’s ironic that Burgum is spending money in order to refuse money. Especially when he could simply accept his salary and give it away to a worthy cause if he doesn’t want it.
Burgum, who has promised to “reinvent” the state, believes that the difficulty he’s facing in refusing his salary exemplifies “some of the things that are wrong with government.”
That’s just stupid. Hey you — the reader — try going to your boss tomorrow and say that you want to refuse your pay from now on but keep working anyway. You might run into a problem called labor law.
At a previous job, we were once reprimanded for working on a project on our day off, because the company could get in trouble for letting us work without being paid.
Even the conservative blogger Rob Port is tired of the governor’s antics. “Burgum’s vow to decline his salary was shallow politics in the first place,” Port wrote today.
We also asked Nowatzki for a list of everyone who works for Burgum, the first lady and the lieutenant governor, as well as their salaries. Nowatzki told us to file an open records request, which we plan to do shortly.