Grand Jury Petition Filed In Dunn County Over Dalrymple Bribery Allegations
Under North Dakota law, a grand jury can be empanelled through the petition process. Section 29-10.1-02 of the North Dakota Century Code reads:
Any judge of the district court for any county must direct, in the manner herein provided, that a grand jury be drawn and summoned to attend whenever…A petition in writing requesting the same is presented to the judge, signed by qualified electors of the county equal in number to at least ten percent of the total vote cast in the county for the office of governor of the state at the last general election.
I’ve been told by organizers of a petition drive that they’ve filed the requisite signatures Dunn County to convene a grand jury to investigate allegations of bribery being made against Governor Jack Dalrymple.
I’d written about these allegations previously here.
The folks behind the measure are conservatives not entirely happy with Dalrymple’s governance, but this effort is more than a little misguided. In fact, I’d go so far as to say that they’re putting political speech in serious jeopardy with this.
The contention made by Democrats this election cycle – notably Dalrymple’s opponent in the gubernatorial race Ryan Taylor as well as PSC candidate Brad Crabtree – is that campaign contributions can represent bribery. Which might be true if you could prove some sort of a defined quid pro quo relationship, and not only do the backers of this measure have no evidence of such a defined arrangement, they’re defining perfectly legal and transparent efforts to influence the political process as corruption.
Which is ridiculous.
Are oil companies contributing big money to Dalrymple’s campaign? Absolutely. Are they doing so in the expectation that Dalrymple will generally come down their way on policies? Of course. That’s how politics works, and this entire exchange is transparent for the public to see. We know who supports Dalrymple, and we know what his policies are.
If citizens get the idea that Dalrymple is too “in the pocket” of the interests supporting him then they can vote for someone else (there will be three other candidates on the ballot). That is the proper response, not trumped up conspiracies about bribery.
If the premise of these charges are upheld, then the ramifications mean that not one of us can contribute to a political campaign without worry that our money will be identified as a “bribe.” Influencing the political process is the basis of democracy, which the backers of this petition don’t seem to understand.
Expect this case to be dismissed quickly.Tags: election 2012, jack dalrymple, North Dakota News