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Thursday, September 01, 2011


Note BLACK SPOT (clip-on sunglasses)

In early May of 2011 I became aware of the North Dakota Highway patrol sending an officer to the home of LaVonne Geotsch of Bellfield. The office was sent as the result of Senator Curtis Olafson, Republican, of Edinburg (District 10), contacting the N.D. State Highway Patrol (HP). It seems that a letter was placed on his senate desk. A May 5, 2011 story in the Bismarck Tribune explained that according to Olafson:

“We are told if any document or message we receive has any tone that we question, we should turn it over to Highway Patrol for their attention,” Olafson said. “There’s nothing wrong with disagreeing with someone in the Legislature, but when the tone causes you to question what they’re thinking, that’s when you hand it over to Highway Patrol, and they put their good judgment to work.”

So, what was the tone? Obviously such that the HP must be contacted and they must do something. The letter, dated March 29, 2011 from Mr. Goetsch stated:

“Dear Senator Curtis Olafson,

One of your colleagues told me you are sometimes your own worst enemy. My observation is your ego, pride and arrogance maybe the problem.

In this day and age do you really think you can keep secrets at the capitol?

So you are pro-life! Proposed amendments to HB 1450 (Draft #3) blows your cover. Page 5, after line 19 inserts tells it all about you and your pro-life stand. The lies, pretense and deception you have used on your constituents who believe you are pro-life will now be exposed by you yourself. HB 1450 will not die.

You being elected again may be another story. I for one will be glad to help educate District 10.


LaVonne H. Goetsch”

In the lower right hand corner of that letter as it was submitted to the Highway Patrol by Olafson was the handwritten notation:

“Dropped off @ desk Daniel Woodard”

But the fact was that Olafson knew exactly who Daniel Woodard is. Olafson knew that Daniel Woodard was a lobbyist for the North Dakota Life League. Olafson knew exactly how to contact Woodard. Olafson and Woodard had had extensive email correspondence. Olafson did not make any attempt to contact Woodard. No, instead, Olafson spent taxpayer money to send the HP to investigate.

From the May 5, 2011 Bismarck Tribune story on the matter:

Olafson said if the letter was email or mailed, he wouldn’t have given it a second thought.

“If you just let people walk in there and drop whatever package or letter they want, it bypasses any level of security".

Olafson also knew that lobbyist come and go within the North Dakota Senate Chamber and are ONLY constrained from being on the Senate floor (in front of the “railing”) during, according to Senate rule 205, Duties of Sergeant-at-Arms, “the time period commencing sixty minutes before the Senate convenes on any legislative day and ending when the Senate recesses for that calendar day.” There are no rules of security that were bypassed. Olafson is making this up.

Obviously the tone was such that most any legislator would become alarmed. In fact Olafson even wrote a letter that was published by several state daily newspapers around April 20, 2011 where he clarifies his concerns:

“Many members of the North Dakota Senate felt threatened and intimidated by some of the supporters of HB1450. Some supporters will not accept the fact that many of us who are pro-life do not see the issue in extreme black-and-white terms as they do. We were told that if we didn’t fall into lockstep agreement with them, our votes would be scored and used against us in the next election.

I can think of no other issue wherein such threats and intimidation are used in the Legislature.”

Knowing of the Highway Patrol visit to Ms. Goetsch and the claim by Olafson, I made an open records request of the North Dakota Highway Patrol on May 5, 2011, in order to substantiate the “threats and intimidation” of which he was speaking, writing:

“Major Johnson,

I am writting to make an open records request of your agency.

Please provide me with any and all records between your agency and North Dakota State Senator Curtis Olafson.

Thank you,

Steve Cates”

To my great astonishment I found that Olafson had also contacted the Highway Patrol concerning The Dakota Beacon website and myself! Following is Olafson’s email of complaint.

“From: Olafson, Curtis

Sent: Sunday, May 01, 2011 6:49 AM

To: Prochniak, Col. James J.

Cc: Armendariz, Sgt. Pedro R.

Subject: Threatening comment


Good morning Colonel Prochniak,

I want to bring your attention to the comment made my Lynn Bergman on the attached link wherein he labels me as a “murderer.”  I will leave it to your good judgment as to whether you feel this warrants action on the part of the Highway Patrol.  Note that they intentionally used a picture that would cast me with the worst image possible.  I believe the picture was intentionally distorted, including adding a black spot on my t-shirt.  The Dakota Beacon is published by Steve Cates.  If you deem the comment inappropriate, Mr. Cates is the one you should contact to direct that it be removed and an apology posted for allowing the comment to be posted on the site.  Thank you. 

Senator Curtis Olafson

13041 84th St NE

Edinburg, ND 58227

701-993-8240 Home

701-265-2356 Cell

(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)


It seems that when I posted the letter signed by the Executive Directors of the North Dakota Family Alliance, North Dakota Right to Life, and the North Dakota Chapter of Concerned Women of America which I titled, “The Appalling Duplicity of Senator Curtis Olafson”, Mr. Bergman commented on April 29, 2011 that:

“Senator Olafson received a “C” grade in my 61st North Dakota Legislative Session Vote Analysis. Three points to make here.

1. I cannot wait to compile my 62nd Session Analysis.

2. This is a classic example of the kind of slick moves that these two-tongued ” Moderate” Republicans pull on those who believe they voted for a conservative.

3. Conservatives…you had better get infinitely more active in the Republican Party District Reorganizations currently under way. Or don’t complain when murderers stay in office.”

Later, on May 6, 2011 Mr. Bergman made the clarification that:

“Albert Einstein said “The world is a dangerous place, not because of those who do evil, but because of those who look on and do nothing.”

We have all “looked on” far too long regarding abortion in our state. It is time to take political action to reveal any folks who are in the wrong political party but will not admit it.



I regret calling a fellow Icelander a murderer; the reference should have been “accomplice to murder”. To clarify, I mean no harm to the Senator, just cannot stand by and “do nothing”.”

The fact is that Olafson has my telephone number and email address. He could have called or written to register his complaint. But…..he contacted the Highway Patrol! He wanted THEM to make me do something! Olafson wanted the HP to make me change the Beacon website! How much did that cost the North Dakota taxpayers?

This is not all.. My first exposure to the tactics of Olafson was during the 2009 Legislature. Representative Dan Ruby of Minot made a comment that Olafson took offense to. At the time I was unfamiliar with Olafson when he approached me to be an intermediary asking Ruby for a public retraction of the comment. Olafson would not contact Ruby and like a man ask for the retraction. No, he had to use someone like myself to bully by proxy. It took longer than I would like to admit but I finally understood how I was being used. Since that time I have had absolutely no respect whatsoever for Curtis Olafson as a state lawmaker.

This last legislative session his dishonest effort to kill the Human Life bill was despicable. Those of you who are regular readers of this publication know that I seldom make such overt statements about anyone in public office except the provably dishonest. This case is different. Dishonest bullies should be extricated from public office and from the Republican Party in North Dakota for the sake of honest governance. These types of people in elective office always bring grief to the party eventually. Strong language I know. But I am not alone in my recognition of this Senator’s arrogance and dishonesty. His reputation is well established in both of the legislative houses.

I await the knock on my door as Olafson uses your money to harass those that disagree with him

Click here to email your elected representatives.


North Dakota is a dangerous place for the unborn. Albert Einstein perhaps put it best: “The world is a dangerous place, not because of those who do evil, but because of those who look on and do nothing.” The question now is, will the voters in District 10 look on and do nothing?

Lynn Bergman on September 4, 2011 at 12:31 am
Avatar for Joe

Excellent article Steve!  I’m still upset about what he did over HB 1450.  I really hope he loses his primary.

Joe on September 6, 2011 at 03:56 pm
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