Unscrupulous Again: Measure 5 Proponents Caught Using Illegal Polling Practices

In the 2012 election cycle the proponents of a constitutional ballot measure to create a conservation fund saw their signature collection effort fail when petitioners they hired – mostly NDSU football players – were caught forging tens of thousands of signatures.

In the current election cycle the conservationists, backing another measure, claimed that they’d be using only volunteers to collect signatures, something that was clearly untrue.

Now, adding to a laundry list of unsavory political practices, the conservationists who are backing what is now Measure 5 on the November ballot have been caught using less-than-legal polling practices.

BISMARCK, N.D. — A Democratic polling firm representing backers of a state conservation fund will pay $2,000 to resolve a complaint alleging violations of North Dakota’s do not call law, court records show.

The North Dakota attorney general’s office and Las Vegas-based Campaign Communication Solutions Inc. reached the agreement Wednesday. The company, which has offices in Washington, D.C., and California and also does business as Stones’ Phones, did not admit wrongdoing or liability, court records said.

The company allegedly made illegal prerecorded calls on behalf of North Dakotans for Clean Water, Wildlife and Parks, a group pushing a ballot measure that would funnel some of the state’s oil extraction taxes into a conservation fund. Backers of the measure want 5 percent of the state’s oil extraction taxes over the next 25 years, a sum opponents said would set aside almost $5 billion during that time for conservation projects at the expense of other state needs. …

“We clearly believe they violated the law,” Grossman told The Associated Press. “But the primary goal is to ensure that the calls are discontinued and we achieved that.”

Just another facepalm moment for the conservationists.

Given this pattern of behavior, maybe it’s time to start holding the conservationists accountable for the tactics they deploy. We all have our opinions about the proper way to implement conservation policy, but do we really want to make a massive fiscal commitment to a plan hatched by a bunch of people who are clearly ethically challenged?

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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