Kylie Oversen Ought Not Lecture Us About Integrity

The North Dakota Democrat Party is currently being run by children, as evidenced by the fact that the party thinks a 20 minute profane polemic from John Oliver is a foundation they can build on for political success.

Rep. Kylie Oversen, a twenty-something still attending college in Grand Forks when she’s not acting as the titular chairwoman of her party, is of the generation which grew up thinking that ranting comedians like Oliver and Jon Stewart were actually reporting the news. Which is why they see Oliver’s rant on HBO as some sort of a transformative moment for a state and not a comedy routine that will be forgotten soon.

Anyway, here’s Oversen in the Jamestown Sun lecturing about integrity.  “We have been fighting for more transparency and accountability in how our elections are run and how our officials perform, and in our opinion, the public deserves that fight,” she writes, though what Democrats really want is an ethics commission and restrictions on political activities which they believe can be used to batter Republicans for their own partisan gain.

Though are some improvements the state can make on campaign transparency – the state doesn’t but should require that candidates report every political penny they receive and spend, something I’ve called for previously – but anyone thinking that Democrats have pure motivations in demanding the creation of an ethics committee should be patted on the head and treated like a simpleton.

Political ethics committees are little more than political weapons to be used for partisan fishing trips and grandstanding recriminations.

[mks_pullquote align=”left” width=”300″ size=”24″ bg_color=”#ffffff” txt_color=”#000000″]Hypocrisy, I’m pretty sure, is no virtue.[/mks_pullquote]

But what’s ironic about Oversen writing about integrity is that recent revelations show she and some of her fellow Democrats have very little of it.

Oversen joined Rep. Josh Boschee and Senate Minority Leader Mac Schneider in filing criminal complaints with prosecutors in Grand Forks and Cass counties (ultimately found to be baseless) against a Republican-aligned marketing firm, alleging that the firm violated state law in requesting student directory data from the North Dakota University System.

“We believe that it is wrong for the private information of college students to be shared for any political or commercial purpose,” Oversen and Boschee said in a statement released from the party shortly before the 2014 election. “In order to comply with Odney Advertising’s request, state employees at each of our colleges and universities are pulling lists for Odney Advertising. This essentially means state employees are doing political work on behalf of Odney Advertising and their political clients, which includes the North Dakota Republican Party and other interest groups. This raises the likelihood that the Corrupt Practices Act could be violated.”

The thing is, in 2014 North Dakota Democrats requested and received a database of every North Dakotan who received a hunting or fishing license in the state. That’s tens of thousands of names and home address grabbed by Democrats for political purposes. Because what other purpose what a political party have for such data?

Democrat executive director Robert Haider didn’t respond to my inquiries about the request – I wanted an explanation for why the data the Democrats received was any different from what they claimed was criminal to obtain when Republicans requested it – but he didn’t respond.

Democrats should have to answer that question. Especially if they are going to presume to lecture us about accountability and integrity.

Hypocrisy, I’m pretty sure, is no virtue.

Rob Port is the editor of SayAnythingBlog.com, a columnist for the Forum News Service, and host of the Plain Talk Podcast which you can subscribe to by clicking here.

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