ND needs ethics commission

Sharon E. Buhr

Valley City

Measure #1 is a “North Dakota Grown” amendment, written and sponsored by a group of North Dakotans from across the political spectrum who believe it is essential for us to protect the integrity of our state and our government from the influence of unaccountable special interests.

I urge you to vote ‘yes’ on Measure #2.

The measure will guide how elected officials act. Most of us drive a car or truck. We follow the speed limit. But remember when, a number of years back, Montana did not have a speed limit? Then many of us drove considerably faster than was safe.

Measure #1 will be a guide for all of our public officials. It will require full, prompt, and online disclosure of all spending over $200 to influence our elections and government.

Measure #1 will restrict lobbyist gifts to public officials, will ban lobbyists from serving as legislators, will require public officials to wait two years after leaving office before becoming lobbyists, and will strengthen conflict of interest rules for members of state agencies.

And Measure #1 will create a nonpartisan ethics commission to set clear ethics rules, maintain a confidential whistleblower hotline, and investigate violations. This commission will serve as a resource for citizens, elected officials, appointees, state employees, and even lobbyists.

Most organizations, professional and those established for profit, and most states have an ethics board/commission. North Dakota is one of only seven states without an ethics commission. It’s time our public officials had the support of an ethics measure and an ethics commission.

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