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Gov. Burgum got more than just Super Bowl tickets from utility

North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum. Blake Gumprecht / The Forum

BISMARCK—North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum's tab for his trip to Super Bowl LII in Minneapolis was about $2,500 higher than first reported, thanks to payments for tickets to watch the Minnesota Wild, an Xcel Energy brunch, a VIP tailgate party, and the Taste of the NFL fundraiser, according to emails made public after an open records request.

With the $37,000 Burgum repaid to the utility for seats for himself and first lady Kathryn Helgaas Burgum for the Feb. 4 game, that brings his total reimbursement to almost $40,000, governor's office spokesman Mike Nowatzki said Saturday, Feb 17.

Nowatzki said Burgum reimbursed Xcel for the full amount in one payment.

A Jan. 19 email from a firm called New Partners to the governor's office said it was "thrilled to partner with Xcel Energy" to welcome Gov. Burgum to the Super Bowl.

"Our goal at New Partners is to make sure his time in Minneapolis is worry free and a memorable experience for the Governor and his guest," the email continued.

A Jan. 25 follow-up email asking for an update on the governor's itinerary also asked "if he has any dietary restrictions that we should be aware of?"

The governor and his wife attended the Feb. 2 Minnesota Wild vs. Vegas Golden Knights game at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, Nowatzki said.

The pair also attended a private brunch hosted by Xcel Energy and an NFL Host Committee VIP Tailgate Party Feb. 4 at The Depot in downtown Minneapolis.

Burgum attended the Taste of the NFL fundraiser on Feb. 3 alone, Nowatzki said.

The governor will follow the code of ethics for the North Dakota Industrial Commission, of which he is a member, Nowatzki said. He said the governor's office is working on its own ethics policy.

Burgum announced the reimbursement of $37,000 to Xcel for the Super Bowl tickets on Feb. 7 in an effort to "eliminate even the perception of any conflict."

Xcel is the largest utility in North Dakota. It is headquartered in Minneapolis and provides electricity to almost 94,000 customers and natural gas to more than 55,000 customers in North Dakota, according to Public Service Commission documents.

Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton paid about $6,000 out of his own pocket for a ticket to the Super Bowl.

Helmut Schmidt

Helmut Schmidt was born in Germany, but grew up in the Twin Cities area, graduating from Park High School of Cottage Grove. After serving a tour in the U.S. Army, he attended the University of St. Thomas in St Paul, Minn., graduating in 1984 with a degree in journalism. He then worked at the Albert Lea (Minn.) Tribune and served as managing editor there for three years. He joined The Forum in October 1989, working as a copy editor until 2000. Since then, he has worked as a reporter on several beats, including K-12 education, Fargo city government, criminal justice, and military affairs. He is currently one of The Forum's business reporters.

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