The chairman of the North Dakota House’s energy committee recently defended a business relationship with the state’s top oil and gas lobbyist.
Mandan Republican Rep. Todd Porter and North Dakota Petroleum Council President Ron Ness are both listed in state records as partners in a commercial real estate investment group. Porter owns 5% of Bismarck Partners, LLP, and Ness owns less than 2%, Porter said.
Porter said the relationship doesn’t affect his decision-making at the Capitol because the oil industry is unrelated to the property partnership, which he said includes 42 partners. He said he and Ness were friends “long before” he joined the Legislature in 1999.