Tag Archives: ethics

Photo of North Dakota lawmakers and lobbyists taken while attending a conference in Nashville. Photo via Rep. Jake Blum

Dinner for Lawmakers, Paid for by Lobbyists, Was Legal Only Because There Aren’t Any Ethics Rules Yet

Dinner for Lawmakers, Paid for by Lobbyists, Was Legal Only Because There Aren’t Any Ethics Rules Yet

Recently a group of 29 North Dakota lawmakers took a trip to Nashville, Tennessee, which cost the taxpayers nearly $90,000. You probably haven’t heard much about it since both Republicans and Democrats were on the trip and most of our media commentators are so thoroughly addled by partisanship they get frozen when the controversy is

ND State Capitol (Korrie Wenzel/Grand Forks Herald)

North Dakota Politics Needs More Transparency, Not an Ethics Committee

This Fargo Forum editorial over the weekend struck the right tone on the need for more transparency when it comes to the financial interests of state lawmakers (and probably other elected officials too). It was based on a report by my colleague John Hageman which found that a few state lawmakers are, in addition to holding

Plain Talk: Lawmaker Says Criticism of Legislature’s Ethics Moves Are Inaccurate

After voters passed Measure 1 last year, a so-called “ethics” amendment to the state constitution, the Legislature was tasked with implementing it. But the left wing supporters of the amendment have claimed that the legislature hasn’t done a good job, leaving loopholes in the law which they say would allow unethical activity to continue. State

Dina Butcher, left, and Ellen Chaffee were involved with changing the North Dakota constitution when voters approved Measure 1 in November. TOM STROMME/Bismarck Tribune

Measure 1 Bans Lobbyists on the Ethics Commission, but a Measure 1 Lobbyist Has Applied Anyway

Yesterday I wrote about a lobbyist for the North Dakotans for Public Integrity – the local front group for the Hollywood activists behind Measure 1 – who wants to serve on the state ethics committee Measure 1 created. Governor Doug Burgum is currently accepting applications to serve on the committee. Greg Stites, who was a

Plain Talk: Republican Senator Says Democrat Complaints About Ethics Legislation Are “Posturing”

On this episode of Plain Talk, Republican state Senator David Hogue describes the tricky process of implementing with statute the constitutional amendment voters approved last year with Measure 1. The so-called “ethics” measure, which free speech groups criticized as too burdensome on political activities, must be implemented because it’s in the state’s constitution now. But

Ben Tucker, who farms near St. Thomas, N.D., is one of many private citizens who bring ideas to the Legislature and seek help from lawmakers and Legislative Council staff to guide them through the legislative process. Diane Newberry / North Dakota Newspaper Association

This Is the Sort of Citizen Activist Measure 1 Will Hurt

Over the weekend reporter Diane Newberry from the North Dakota Newspaper Association had a very interesting report about citizen-driven politics at the state Legislature, focusing on an activist named Ben Tucker who has been working on the expansion of Medicaid benefits. Tucker is from St. Thomas, and his lobbying activities at the Legislature are backed

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

Offer of Free Ballet Tickets Sets Off Emailed War of Words Among Lawmakers, Measure 1 Activist

A legislative source forwarded me an email exchange which illustrates perfectly the Legislature’s efforts to implement Measure 1 (ethics) approved by voters last year. And why many observers, including myself and the ACLU, opposed the measure as an infringement on speech and political activity unreasonable to the point of being unconstitutional. The whole thing is

Alex Hilzendeger, left, and Norton Lovold hold a banner in front of boxes of petitions outside the state capitol in Bismarck TOM STROMME/Bismarck Tribune

Of Course Ethics Investigations Should Be Secret

During the last election cycle a left-wing, Democrat-aligned group filed an ethics complaint against Republican candidate Tom Campbell because one of his campaign ads featured him standing in front of a truck with his business logo on it. The complaint was announced to the media by the left wing groups filing it. The complaint went

The Pioneer Family” statue seen in front of the North Dakota State Capitol on July 14, 2016, in Bismarck. Forum file photo

If We’re Really Concerned About Ethics in North Dakota We Should Have Given Lawmakers Their Free Lunch*

There is a lot of Sturm und Drang about ethics in North Dakota right now. Most of it – especially the clouds of smug coming from the Measure 1 supporters – isn’t so much about ethics as a group of partisan cranks out to shift the state’s political winds by regulating political activity. Because what do you

If the Voters Approve Bad Policy, Does That Make It Good Policy?

I talked about this on today’s podcast, but I thought the Fargo Forum’s Sunday editorial was worth responding to in the form of a blog post as well. (Full disclosure, I’m employed by the Forum Communications Company.) “Legislative leaders are taking steps to gut the constitutional amendment that voters approved in the November election to establish

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