TOM DAVIES: The Verdict — Lack Of Legislative Ethics Code Leaves Integrity In Question

Once upon a time, there was a legislator who had to report campaign donations by amount and by donor … one who had to disclose how his funds were spent … one who would explain why a donor was not creating a conflict of interest.

Once upon a time, this same legislator was bound by a code of ethics. It had enforcement provisions to be followed if there was a violation.

Once upon a time, there was a legislator who was not in the state that registered a grade of “F” in a state integrity investigation, the same state that was ranked 43 out of all states by the Integrity Investigation.

Surprise! That legislator could not have been from North Dakota. Each and every point I’ve cited is an issue in North Dakota.

I am amazed that the legislative leaders in North Dakota’s majority party don’t believe there should be enforceable accountability. Why? Because (in my words) our leaders are incapable of doing anything wrong.

My state, North Dakota, is one of the few without proper accountability. That must change.

Consider the following: Donald J. Trump has insulted women, Muslims, African Americans, Latinos and war heroes like his own party’s Sen. John McCain.

He has insulted Gold Star Families, who have sacrificed a family member in the military for love of country. He has bragged that he was womanizing during the Vietnam conflict — he claims that was his “combat experience.” He has insisted that his high school and college military training is the equivalent of actual military service. Oh, and right now, he says he knows more about ISIS than our military generals do.

He has not rejected hate groups like the KKK and its leader David Duke. Duke is now running for office again himself, based on the similarity between Trump’s goals and his own.

Trump has bankrupted many companies because he’s “good at manipulating credit,” never considering the enormous effect his self-centered business decisions have on his former employees.

He is the target right now of hundreds of business lawsuits … not to mention his theft from students in his notorious Trump University scheme.

And that list doesn’t even come close to the total number offensive things this man has done. Lord, he’s against immigration … even though, without, it he wouldn’t have had two of his three wives.

I know, I know. It must make no difference … because I’m from North Dakota, the state that doesn’t (snicker, snicker) need ethics standards or enforcement. Gov. Jack Dalrymple, governor-wannabe Doug Burgum and Congressman Kevin Cramer (who, I hope, is soon to be unseated by Chase Iron Eyes) all support Trump.

Perhaps mental evaluations should be required as a prerequisite to running for elected office.

Marvin Nelson, the Democratic candidate for governor, definitely does not support Trump. It’s sad that people seem to vote only based on the “R” or “D” before a candidate’s name. I’d propose adding another letter to the ballot: “Q” for qualified. That might get rid of quite a few wannabes.

I believe Nelson’s stand opposing Trump would be just as it is now even if Trump somehow was a Democrat. That’s because Marvin stands for what is good for this country. He’s smart enough to know if you have an uninformed racial bigot for a candidate, out of respect for your constituents, you don’t support him.

Marvin is qualified, is in this race for the people, not the moneyed interests and is the only candidate for governor — in my opinion — who’d earn the “Q” designation.

I have to admit that nothing Cramer does surprises me. After all, he’s one of Trump’s advisers and wants to be in his cabinet. (Any cabinet Trump created would meet in Trump Tower, not the lowly White House … assuming the creditors he’s screwed don’t foreclose on his tower first).

When Doug Burgum said he’d support Trump, I stopped breathing for a moment. I truly thought that, while he was a political novice, he had convictions and would want to lead by example. Instead, once he got the nomination, he joined the Good Old Boys Club. That must have hurt Wayne Stenehjem, who I hope doesn’t say one good word about Herr Trump so I can continue to respect him. Amen.

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