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OFFICE OF ATTORNEY GENERAL aye Siesta ATTORNEY GENERAL March 19, 2019 Sen. Rich Wardner Rep. Chet Pollert Senate Majority Leader House Majority Leader ‘Senate Chambers House Chambers 600 E. Boulevard Avenue 600 E. Boulevard Avenue Bismarck ND 58505 Bismarck ND 58505 Dear Senator Wardner and Representative Pollet: ‘A few weeks ago, the Land Commissioner raised the possibilty that the Common ‘Schools Trust Fund may not have received its entire portion of the oll and gas extraction tax as provided in the Constitution and state law. | am aware that while considering this matter, there has been discussion regarding a 2012 email from an assistant attorney general in my office that touched on the topic. |Lhave reviewed the email, and note that this 2012 email was sent to an employee in the State Auditors office, and it summarized a conversation the assistant attomey general had with the Treasurers office three years before that, in which he gave the Treasurer ‘advice on this issue. The email discussed the ambiguity in the various statutes dealing with the oil and gas extraction tax. In the end, the assistant attorney general advised the ‘Treasurer to seek guidance from the legislature. ‘The email did not discuss the constitutional requirements provided for distribution of cil tax revenues contained in Article X, Section 24 of the North Dakota Constitution, ‘The assistant attorneys general in my office routinely provide legal advice to dozens of state agencies, boards, and commissions every day. However, this routine legal advice should not be construed as a formal opinion from my office. The same would be true for the 2012 email. Had anyone sought a formal opinion from my office, it would have been handled in due course, following thorough research and direct approval by me. | wanted to ensure there was no misunderstanding. As o am happy to discuss —— mh Fase Ti tenehjem Attorney General ‘Copy: Governor Doug Burgum