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Dem Gov Candidate Ryan Taylor Ethics Paper

Dem Gov Candidate Ryan Taylor Ethics Paper

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Published by Rob Port
An ethics "white paper" from North Dakota gubernatorial candidate Ryan Taylor.
An ethics "white paper" from North Dakota gubernatorial candidate Ryan Taylor.

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Categories:Types, Letters
Published by: Rob Port on Jul 19, 2012
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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07/19/2012

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State Integrity Investigation; North Dakota Corruption Risk Report Cardhttp://www.stateintegrity.org/north_dakota 
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“WSI worker claims deletions broke law.”
Fargo Forum
[Fargo, ND] Feb. 26, 2012
Ethics Reform White Paper
 
Background
Public officials in North Dakota have a duty to run their campaigns and performtheir jobs with the highest ethical standards. North Dakotans deserve to be able totrust their appointed and elected government officials to have their
constituents’
best interests in mind. Further, there is an expectation that public officials willconduct the work on behalf of North Dakota with fairness and transparency.Currently, North Dakota is falling far short of the rest of the nation with regard toethical safeguards against abuses of power. In a recent investigation by the Center
for Public Integrity, North Dakota received an “F” on its Co
rruption Risk Report Card.
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The study assessed transparency, accountability, and anti-corruption
mechanisms in all 50 states. North Dakota’s dismal ranking landed it 43 out of 50.While North Dakota has long relied on an “everybody knows everybody” honor
 system, the changing times leave open the possibility of exploitation. Many states
 New Jersey, Illinois and Louisiana for example
wait for large-scale scandals toerupt before taking reform measures. North Dakota has the opportunity to lead byexample by proactively enacting measures that prevent bad actors from takingadvantage of the system.As a few recent events have shown, North Dakota is not immune to the perils of ethical misdeeds:In February, 2011 the
Fargo Forum
reported that officials at North Dakota
Workforce Safety and Insurance had been accused of deleting workers’ records in
order to avoid litigation by injured workers.
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While the alleged conduct of theseworkers may not have been illegal it was certainly unethical and contrary to thespirit and goals of WSI. To date, the Governor has still taken no action against theofficials in question.Another example comes as a result of the booming oil industry
. North Dakota’s
Governor serves as the chair of the Industrial Commission and the
commission’s
Oiland Gas Division is the regulating body in charge of issuing drilling permits to oilcompanies. These permits can be worth millions. Many companies have attemptedto better their odds by making large campaign contributions to influential officials.In some cases the contributions are up to ten times the maximum allowable infederal elections. This environment creates a conflict of interest, where electedofficials are beholden to the incoming oil companies, not North Dakotans.
 
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Daum
, Kristen. “Review shows state’s Republicans benefiting more from oil andgas contributions than Democrats.”
Fargo Forum
[Fargo, ND] July 15, 2012North Dakota has no limits on the amount an individual can contribute, whichallows those seeking to influence public policy to donate enormous sums of moneyto ensure their friends are elected. This phenomenon is documented in a studyconducted by the
Fargo Forum.
3
The
Forum
found that the
“state’s Republicansbenefit more from oil and gas contributions than Democrats.” It specificallyhighlighted Kevin Cramer, Jack Dalrymple and Rick Berg as being the state’s largest 
recipients of oil and gas contributions.Overall, pursuing effective and fair ethics reforms will only become more necessaryin North Dakota. People need to be able to trust in those they elect to represent them and those seeking office should have the tools to ensure fair play all around.
The Taylor/Chaffee Plan
Ethics reforms need to address accountability and transparency on two fronts: (1)provide meaningful restrictions against undue influence, bribery, and corruption bygoverning bodies and officials and (2) develop enforceable guidelines on campaignfinance activity.With those objectives in mind, we are pursuing a plan that will protect NorthDakotans from ethical wrongdoing by:
Forming an Independent Ethics Commission
As Governor, I would call for the formation of an independent ethics commission.This commission would be responsible for monitoring the activities of stategovernment officials and agencies and investigating complaints of anyone foundengaging in unethical behavior. Forty other states have mandated this level of transparency an
d it’s time North Dakota stepped up to the plate.
Commitment to Prosecuting Bad Actors
Unlike Jack Dalrymple, I will not let cries of injustice go unanswered. Under myleadership, all complaints of impropriety will be investigated. North Dakotans willknow that with Ryan Taylor as governor that any breach of the public trust will beacted on swiftly.
Reasonable Abstention from Campaign Contributions
As Governor, I will not accept any campaign contributions from officers of companies who have matters of huge financial consequence before the IndustrialCommission. This is to ensure that I, and my administration, remain impartial whenmaking the decisions that affect North Dakotans.
Increase Campaign Finance Transparency 
Currently, North Dakota’s campaign finance regulations are far below the federal
standard and require almost no financial reporting. To limit undue influence fromany one special interest, as Governor I will support legislation to set a limit on

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