Anti-Corruption Amendment Supported By North Dakotans Who Believe it Essential to Protect the Integrity of Government from the Influence of Unaccountable Special Interests
Oct., 30, 2018, BISMARCK, ND—North Dakotans for Public Integrity, the committee sponsoring Measure 1, announced a long list of endorsements today that span the political spectrum. Farmers and ranchers, business leaders, women’s organizations, historians, former elected and appointed officials, teachers, public employees, community groups, unions, academics, artists, students, and authors have all pledged their support for Measure 1, the North Dakota Anti-Corruption Amendment.
“It only takes one look at the list of individuals and organizations who have endorsed Measure 1 to know this measure is a common-sense reform that will protect the interests of North Dakota voters. Measure 1 is supported by a broad array of groups representing the people of our state—farmers, ranchers, workers, and everyday voters—as well as advocates for more accountable government and individuals with a deep background in public service,” said Dina Butcher, President of North Dakotans for Public Integrity.
“On the other hand, the vast majority of the opponents to Measure 1 are corporate interests and lobbyists,” said Butcher. “It’s crystal clear why they don’t want it to pass—they like being able to influence our government outside of public view. They don’t want to be held accountable.”
“Opponents of Measure 1 are arguing that the measure would violate First Amendment free speech rights by requiring individuals to report personal expenses incurred when testifying or otherwise trying to influence legislation or other actions by public officials,” said John Olsrud, former Director of the North Dakota Legislative Council. “This is a straw man argument that has no merit because the language in Measure 1 is a mandate to the legislative assembly to enact legislation, and that legislation should be drafted to address the intent of the constitutional measure without violating the First Amendment.”
“The powers that control North Dakota have turned down ethics legislation similar to the Anti-Corruption Amendment the last four times it was offered,” said John Stern, Past President of the Fargo Chamber of Commerce and former Board Member of the Greater North Dakota Chamber of Commerce (and grandson of Greater North Dakota Association Founder, Herman Stern). “You’ve got to wonder why they don’t want transparency, limits on lobbyist gifts, and accountability. We the people have a chance to correct this by voting for the Anti-Corruption Amendment in November. As my father used to say, 'Trust the people!'”
In addition to increasing transparency and banning gifts from lobbyists, Measure 1 would ban foreign political spending, prohibit lobbyists from simultaneously serving as elected officials, close the revolving door between public service and lobbying, and establish a state ethics commission to provide oversight and ensure accountability.
“The common ground North Dakotans stand on—whether you’re a Republican, Democrat, Libertarian, or Independent—is that we deserve a government that is transparent and accountable, one that works for We, the People,” said Ellen Chaffee, Vice-President of North Dakotans for Public Integrity. Inc. “We deserve a government for everybody, not just the well-connected and powerful special interests who are able to spend unlimited amounts of money to secretly influence our elections and pass policies that favor them—often at great cost to North Dakotans.”
“The North Dakota Anti-Corruption Amendment, developed by North Dakotans for North Dakotans, was clearly and carefully written by former elected and appointed public officials, educators, public policy specialists, and attorneys to preserve and protect the integrity of North Dakota and its government from the undue influence of special interests,” said Chaffee. “Who wouldn’t want more transparency and accountability in our state government? The only people who fear transparency are those with something to hide.”
“This flood of unaccountable money from lobbyists and out-of-state corporations will inundate a system that has run on trust for 120 years, drowning out the voices of people who actually live here,” said Chaffee. “We owe it to our grandchildren, and their grandchildren, to take a stand now and restore a healthy democracy to our state—the type of democracy that our ancestors left to us. This measure will do just that.”
More information and the full text of the North Dakota Anti-Corruption Amendment can be found at www.ndintegrity.org.
AAUW Dickinson — Represent Fargo
Presided over Fargo Municipal Court for 45 years and practiced law for 55 years
I believe an ethics code and an ethics commission, to assist in interpreting that code, is something that would improve the credibility of state officials and would increase the confidence the people of North Dakota have in decisions made by our elected officials.
AAUW National Public Policy supports meaningful campaign finance reform which this amendment addresses with the public accessibility of campaign finance information. AAUW Jamestown also believes that our election process should not be influenced by foreign interests. AAUW Jamestown strongly feels that North Dakota does need an Ethics Commission to assure our citizens that our government remains open, ethical and accountable. For these reasons we support voting YES on Measure 1 - The North Dakota Anti-corruption Amendment.”
It's the right thing to do—it just makes good sense.
NDSU Department of Agribusiness and Applied Economics
and Treasurer of North Dakotans for Public Integrity
Bob Peterson: former ND State Auditor
Byron Dorgan: former U.S. Senator
Darrell Dorgan: journalist
David Schwalbe: rancher
Dina Butcher: agriculture, state government, community services
Earl Pomeroy: former U.S. Congressman
Ellen Chaffee: former President of VCSU & Mayville
Jeanne Prom: tobacco prevention and control policy
John Stern: business owner
Kent Conrad: retired U.S. Senator
Mary Rennich: human rights advocate
Rebecca Thiem: attorney
Sarah Vogel: former Agriculture Commissioner
Susan Wefald: former Public Service Commissioner
Waylon Hedegaard: labor leader