Commerce head resigns over email describing ‘perfect man’

October 1, 2018

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — The head of a North Dakota agency that promotes business development and tourism resigned Monday over an email to agency staff referencing Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, describing “a perfect man” as one who doesn’t touch alcohol or indulge in night life.

Commerce Commissioner Jay Schuler said in the email that such a man can only be found in jail. He resigned hours after the email was sent.

Gov. Doug Burgum called the email “unacceptable” in a statement from his office. Schuler apologized in the same statement, calling it an error of judgment.

Burgum spokesman Mike Nowatzki would not comment on Schuler’s email. The Associated Press obtained the full email through an open records request.

Schuler’s email says the “review of Judge Kavanaugh brings up some interesting points for one to reflect on.” He then recalled doing “some not so nice things” while in grade school.

“Do these breakdowns in judgement define me as a person? I hope not,” Schuler wrote. “It was something I learned from.”

Schuler did not immediately return telephone calls on Monday.

Burgum hired Schuler in February 2017. His annual salary was $160,000.

Deputy Commissioner Shawn Kessel was appointed to fill Schuler’s post until a permanent replacement is found, Burgum’s statement said.

Kessel would not comment on his former boss’ email but said it was unusual.

“Communications of this sort were not common,” he said.

The agency has about 50 employees and a two-year budget of about $100 million.

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