'Anti-corruption' measure backers submit petitions for an initiated Constitutional measure

Jun 18, 2018

Ethics amendment supporters gather on the State Capitol steps in Bismarck.
Credit Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

Members of the group “North Dakotans for Public Integrity” submitted petitions Monday to place what the group calls the "Anti-Corruption Amendment" to the state Constitution on the November ballot.

The group needed 26,904 valid signatures to get the measure on the ballot.

"I'm honored to announce that over 38,000 petitioners are on the record to place the North Dakota Anti-Corruption amendment on the November ballot," the group's co-chair, Ellen Chaffee, told a rally on the state Capitol steps in Bismarck.

The petitions were taken to Secretary of State Al Jaeger, who will review them.

Supporters said the Constitutional measure would increase government transparency, prevent any person use of campaign money, ban foreign money from North Dakota elections, ban lobbyist gifts to state officials, prevent elected officials from going to work as lobbyists for two years after they leave office, and would identify conflicts of interest. It also creates a state ‘ethics commission.'

Co-chair Dina Butcher said once the petitions are okayed, and the measure is approved for the November ballot, the work begins to get the measure passed.

"We're going to run a campaign," Butcher said. "It will be an educational campaign."

Butcher said a poll was done earlier on the concept of an ethics commission.

"We had 70 percent of the population that agrees with us on the need for this kind of enshrinement into the Constitution," Butcher said.

In the past, efforts to create a state ethics commission failed in the state Legislature.

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