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Aimed at combating corruption, North Dakota voters pass Measure 1

FARGO – A constitutional amendment that could either combat corruption in North Dakota politics or make it much harder to be politically engaged, depending on which side you believe, went before voters Tuesday, Nov. 6.

In complete but unofficial results., Measure 1 received 54 percent “yes” votes and 46 percent “no” votes with 424 precincts reporting. Some of the strongest support came from Red River Valley counties such as Cass and Grand Forks.

The amendment would, among other things, require the Legislature to pass laws requiring the disclosure of the “ultimate and true source” of money spent on media to influence politics, forbid lobbyists from giving gifts to public officials, forbid politicians from using campaign funds for personal purposes and create an ethics commission to investigate violations.

Opponents, which include business interests as well as some civic groups, primarily attacked the disclosure requirement as being too onerous.

The American Civil Liberties Union of North Dakota warned it would require a private citizen driving to visit with lawmakers to record every dollar spent on the trip from gas to meals.

The North Dakota Catholic Conference warned it would force the church to turn over a list of all members.

Measure 1 supporters, a bipartisan group of activists, said those warnings were false, pointing to how much authority the measure delegated to lawmakers to make exceptions.

Tu-Uyen Tran
Tran is an enterprise reporter with the Forum of Fargo-Moorhead. He began his newspaper career in 1999 as a reporter for the Grand Forks Herald, now owned by Forum Communications. He began working for the Forum in September 2014. Tran grew up in Seattle and graduated from the University of Washington.
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