State group promoting government ethics seeks ballot measure

BISMARCK – A group seeking to establish a state ethics commission has filed the North Dakota Anti-Corruption Amendment with the Secretary of State as a proposed 2018 ballot measure. The nonpartisan group backing the proposal, North Dakotans for Public Integrity, calls it a common-sense accountability measure.

“This ensures that government in North Dakota is working for you and your family, not just the well-connected and powerful,” said Dina Butcher, Republican co-chairwoman of North Dakotans for Public Integrity.

Key provisions of the North Dakota Anti-Corruption Amendment include:

– bans foreign money from elections.

– prevents personal use of campaign money.

– increases transparency in requiring all significant amounts of money raised or spent to influence elections be fully disclosed and placed online.

– bans lobbyist gifts to public officials.

-bans elected public officials from also serving as lobbyists, and makes it illegal for public officials to take jobs as lobbyists for two years after leaving office.

– strengthens conflict-of-interest rules for members of state agencies.

– creates a nonpartisan ethics commission to receive and investigate complaints, set rules, and provide training.

“We’ve worked with North Dakotans from across the political spectrum on this amendment to hold public officials accountable and reduce corruption in government,” said Ellen Chaffee, Democrat co-chairwoman of North Dakotans for Public Integrity. “The political system is broken, so this amendment is needed to ensure that government and politicians put the people of North Dakota first.”

Once the proposed amendment petition is approved for circulation by the Secretary of State, sponsors will need to gather 26,904 valid signatures from North Dakotans by July 9 to qualify for the November ballot.

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