Prior to her election to the Senate, Heitkamp was Attorney General of North Dakota. It was reported in October 2018 that when she was the attorney general, Heitkamp ignored physical and sexual abuse allegations at an American Indian school, despite campaigning in 2018 as a defender against such abuse.
Heitkamp has exploited sexual assault survivors for political purposes; in 2018 Heitkamp ran a television political ad naming a sexual abuse victim by name without the victim's consent. The survivor who was victimized twice now and forced to relive the nightmare, had to complain.
- Mikelionis, Lukas (October 9, 2018). Heidi Heitkamp didn't push to prosecute sexual, physical abuse at Native American school in 1990s. Fox News. Retrieved October 9, 2018.