Bismarck lawmaker sponsors bill to impose fines for initiated measure fraud
A Bismarck lawmaker has introduced a measure to impose fines for those found guilty of fraud in initiated measures.
This follows fraud allegations against those who circulated the “term limits” measure last year. Then-Secretary of State Al Jaeger initially kept that measure off the ballot, due to what he said were thousands of invalid or fraudulent signatures. The group filed suit – and a district judge upheld Jaeger’s decision. But the state Supreme Court overturned the ruling, and the measure went on the ballot. Voters subsequently passed it.
Rep. Mike Nathe (R-Bismarck) sponsored the measure. It would impose a $1,000 fine for any sponsor, if fraud was found.
"When you're a sponsor of an initiated measure, there is responsibility that comes with it, to make sure it's done legally, above board and according to law," Nathe said.
Nathe said the measure further provides that any company that gathers signatures – and commits fraud – would be fined $10,000, and be banned from collecting signatures for five years.
"We just want to clean it up, and hold these people accountable," Nathe said. "We're talking about changing the state Constitution — that's a very big deal. And we can't let this go out there willy-nilly."
The term limit measure was a Constitutional amendment.