Podcast: College Student Says Paid Petitioners Working on Ethics Commission Measure Giving “Middle Finger to Our Values in North Dakota”

Dina Butcher, left, hands North Dakota Secretary of State Al Jaeger a proposed petition for a ballot measure to add anti-corruption policies to the state constitution Wednesday, Jan. 31, 2018 at the state Capitol in Bismarck. John Hageman / Forum News Service

Jamal Omar, a student at North Dakota State University, joined me on the radio today to talk about the tactics being used by petitioners backing what they describe as an anti-corruption ballot measure. Omar said the petitioners have been misleading and overly aggressive.

He described being approached by one of the petitioners. “I said ‘is this the marijuana measure?'” Omar said. “He said it could get marijuana legalized.”

That’s not the case. The ballot measure would create a state ethics commission. It would not do anything with regard to marijuana. There is a separate ballot measure being circulated in North Dakota right now which would legalize recreational use of marijuana, but the two issues aren’t related.

That sort of false claim is the problem, Omar told me.

“They don’t care if you’re informed,” he said. “They tell you anything to get you to sign it.”

“They don’t care if you’re informed,” he said. “They tell you anything to get you to sign it.”

He said Represent.US – the national left wing group that is so far, according to campaign finance disclosures, the exclusive financial backer of the petition campaign here in North Dakota – is giving a “middle finger to our values in North Dakota.”

As I reported earlier, the campaign behind the ballot measure has been hiring petitioners to collect signatures. The group is essentially buying their issue onto the ballot, which is an odd state of affairs for a group of people saying they’re out to elevate ethics in politics.

I have reached out to the campaign behind the ballot measure for comment and will update this post if I receive anything.

RNC national spokeswoman Kayleigh McEnany was also on to talk about the fight that went into getting newly-minted Secretary of State Mike Pompeo confirmed.

Here’s the full audio of today’s show. If you want the audio delivered to your devices every day there’s a new episode, click here and subscribe to the podcast.

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Rob Port is the editor of SayAnythingBlog.com, a columnist for the Forum News Service, and the host of the Rob (Re)Port on Fargo-based WDAY AM970 from noon-2pm weekdays.

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