Judge Tosses Grand Jury Petition Accusing Dalrymple Of Bribery


Southwest Judicial District Judge William Herauf ruled yesterday that a petition to empanel a grand jury to investigate bribery accusations against Governor Jack Dalrymple was not only short signatures but also filed in the wrong jurisdiction, proving that the people behind the petition may not have as firm a grasp on the issue as they’d like to think.

The petition had 173 signatures and needed at least 167 to meet the requirement of 10 percent of the voters who participated in the last general election.

Herauf identifies seven petitioners who indicated that their addresses are in Bismarck, Fargo, Dickinson, Laverne or New Town. Absent those seven signatures, the total falls to 166.

Herauf also questions 55 signatures that list post office boxes, which is a mailing address not a residential address. In addition, Herauf notes that 16 signatures were absent addresses and also subject to exclusion.

Attorney Dave Thompson, who is based out of Grand Forks and who was retained during the campaign by former Democrat PSC candidate Brad Crabtree who has made similar bribery accusations against other Republicans in the state, tells Forum Communications reporter Amy Dalrymple that “Just because someone doesn’t put an address down doesn’t mean they can be excluded.”

“I don’t think the judge or anybody else could conclusively determine just from a piece of paper whether somebody could have voted in Dunn County on Election Day,” he said.

Right. So just because we can’t verify that the signatures are from valid voters doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be counted as valid. That’s some brilliant logic, there.

Thompson says their options now are either to appeal Judge Herauf’s decision or collect signatures for a similar petition in Burleigh County (the judge also ruled that they picked the wrong jurisdiction, noting they need to file their petition in Burleigh County where Dalrymple’s campaign is headquartered). Neither choice can be appealing for this group of cranks. There’s not a lot of wiggle room in Herauf’s ruling, and the number of signatures required in Burleigh County is going to be a much bigger hurdle to get over.

In Dunn County just 167 signatures were needed to qualify the law’s requirement for 10% of the number of voters who cast their ballot for governor in the last election. In Burleigh County 42,958 ballots were cast for governor earlier this month (up from 41,691 in 2008) which will require roughly 4,296 signatures.

That’s a tough mountain to climb, especially in a county Governor Dalrymple just won with almost 70% of the vote.

Meanwhile, despite having endorsed Governor Dalrymple on stage at the NDGOP convention and despite having previously denied that he had any official involvement in this matter (both publicly and to me privately) this article reveals that the petition was circulated and filed at the behest of former independent gubernatorial candidate Paul Sorum (not that it’s any great surprise):

Herauf issued his ruling Wednesday on the petition that was submitted Nov. 2, days before Dalrymple was up for re-election. Paul Sorum, who challenged Dalrymple as an independent candidate in the election, asked Thompson to draft the petition.

Whatever you may think of Sorum – and I’ll admit that in the past I had a great deal of respect for his willingness to stand up to the Republican establishment in the state – someone who lacks the gumption and integrity to be honest in his intentions and motives is not someone worthy of public service.

If Sorum felt this way about Dalrymple he shouldn’t have granted him an endorsement at the NDGOP convention. If Sorum truly believes in this petition, which was filed just days before the vote on a ballot he was a part of, he should have stood out in front instead of hiding in the back.

This entire spectacle is a joke, making a mockery of certain notions about free speech and the consent of the governed, and it’s all the more sordid for the cowardice of some involved with it.

Rob Port is the editor of SayAnythingBlog.com. In 2011 he was a finalist for the Watch Dog of the Year from the Sam Adams Alliance and winner of the Americans For Prosperity Award for Online Excellence. In 2013 the Washington Post named SAB one of the nation's top state-based political blogs, and named Rob one of the state's best political reporters.

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  • Dustin Gawrylow

    These things distract from the real issue which is the exponential growth in the size, scope, and budget of the state government which has been going unchecked due to the abundance of revenue generated by the oil boom; an abundance that is foolish to rely upon for the long term.

    • http://sayanythingblog.com Rob


      Though remember that, aside from a few useful fools like Sorum, this is being pushed by Democrats. This was Crabtree’s strategy. This was Taylor’s strategy. This will be a part of the Democrat strategy in the legislative session and well into 2014 and 2016.

      They don’t care about the size and scope of government. They’re looking for anything that will give them some leverage to get into office.

      • Dustin Gawrylow

        Well, I wouldn’t say that because I think Paul’s intentions are good here. And there is an argument that the complaint is really about the size and scope of government and steamrolling the “local yokels”, but it’s just done in such a way that it turns people away from the greater message.

        • http://sayanythingblog.com Rob

          No, it’s not “really” about the size and scope of government. It’s about whether or not people are free to contribute to politicians without being accused of bribery.

          You don’t get to just move the goal posts like that.

          And I have no doubt that Sorum think he’s doing right. That doesn’t change the fact that he’s wrong.

  • ChocolateChip

    Paul Sorum’s winning streak continues…

  • ObservingTheProcess

    Question is>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>Was Sorum using the libtards or were the libtards using Sorum. My impression of Sorum has greatly diminished. Prior and during the GOP Convention, Sorum had some very good and thought out ideas for his platform. Unfortunately, these ideas were not enough to garnish the GOP endorement. Now, he makes his bed with the establishment that he so called radical……………..Crab Apple Tree and Tinkerman Taylor. I guess Sorum had me fooled and now I see he is the fool.

  • Lynn Bergman

    Unfortunately, this misguided attempt was a result of “ego” ruling over “reasoned thought’. The way to fight “croney capitalism” is through activist activity during the legislative session, and has also included participation in district candidate selection throughout the state.
    Behind the scenes activities to insure that “selfless conservatives” were selected and elected were relatively successful in 2011 and 2012. Ego-driven attempts by “selfish conservatives” like Romney and Berg… NOT. Selecting candidates based upon their being “rich enough” to get elected will never be a successful strategy “on its own”. A degree of “empathy” toward those less fortunate will always be an asset to any candidate from any party.
    Another four years of Democrat leadership will be instructive to Americans, educating them as to the difference between the logical roles of “government” and “society”. While “preventive education” would have been preferrable prior to re-electing a socialist, education through “living the nightmare” of a socialist government will be far more effective. The future beyond 2016 should be bright… if we can, each of us individually, survive the interim uncertainty…
    The risk of an economic collapse with a socialist in office dictates that we take care of our personal economics until the next 4 year period of uncertainty ticks away. But we should also remain positive about our own individual future and not let the federal government discourage our dreams and aspirations.

    • two_amber_lamps

      Another four years of Democrat leadership will be instructive to
      Americans, educating them as to the difference between the logical roles
      of “government” and “society”.

      It’s a shame they should need such instruction….

      “Socialism, like the ancient ideas from which it springs, confuses the
      distinction between government and society. As a result of this, every time we
      object to a thing being done by government, the socialists conclude that we
      object to its being done at all. We disapprove of state education. Then the
      socialists say that we are opposed to any education. We object to a state
      religion. Then the socialists say that we want no religion at all. We object to
      a state-enforced equality. Then they say that we are against equality. And so
      on, and so on. It is as if the socialists were to accuse us of not wanting
      persons to eat because we do not want the state to raise grain.”

      ― Frédéric Bastiat, The Law

  • Rick Olson

    Even if a judge were to grant the petitioner’s request to empanel a grand jury, there are still no guarantees that any indictments would ensue.

    Here in North Dakota, the use of grand juries is rare, because prosecutors charge people with crimes via the direct information process. The prosecutor convinces a judge that there is probable cause to arrest someone for violating a law and the judge issues an arrest warrant. The person is arrested and then is brought to court for his or her arraignment. The criminal justice process proceeds from there.

    In other states and the federal government, the prosecutor must present his information to a grand jury who is empowered to call witnesses and conduct their own investigating. If a majority of the grand jury is convinced there is probable cause in which the person should be tried, then an indictment is brought forward and the criminal justice process proceeds from there.

    Under the kind of grand jury that was being sought in this case, the 11 members of the grand jury with the assistance of the state’s attorney’s office would investigate the matters at hand and then issue a report containing their findings to the judge who empaneled the grand jury. North Dakota law caps the number of grand jurors on any one panel to 11.

    I agree that this whole thing was a seriously misguided attempt to discredit Governor Dalrymple just days before the election. The judge did the right thing in throwing out the request.

  • Tim Heise

    Zero chance of successful appeal.

  • Grand Junction

    I guess I look at it as there is corruption plain and simple. Everyone knows it. To expect the insiders, the state appointed DA’s to actually do anything is beyond ridiculous. This is not about sour grapes IMO, anyone who’s looked at the corruption in ND politics knows those in the system are there to protect it. Rob’s completely out-of-bounds with his attack. What better group than frustrated citizens and a former GOP member who’s seen the corruption first hand to bring it to light? The kool aid runs deep with Rob and this blog. Never can the GOP do anything wrong. It’s always the Dem’s bringing frivolous law suits. Then a group of citizens use what’s left to them, the grand jury, and Rob like clockwork goes all Jack Zaleski on them.

    • http://sayanythingblog.com Rob

      I’m not completely out of bounds. I’m spot-on accurate. These are absurd accusations.

      Take a look at what you’re saying:

      I guess I look at it as there is corruption plain and simple. Everyone knows it. To expect the insiders, the state appointed DA’s to actually do anything is beyond ridiculous.

      Right. So it’s such a huge conspiracy that everyone is on it.

      Or maybe the people pushing it are just a bunch of cranks.

      • Grand Junction

        Nice comeback Mr. Zaleski. The law is very clear. Whether you rule in favor or rule against, anyone sitting on a board/commission cannot except donations from anyone involved with the decision. It’s pretty simple. It’s not a bunch of cranks, however Jack Jr, it would certainly appear you are the crank and GOP corruption apologist who can’t read nor comprehend clear, precise English.

        • http://sayanythingblog.com Rob

          Whether you rule in favor or rule against, anyone sitting on a board/commission cannot except donations from anyone involved with the decision.

          The law prohibits the acceptance of anything with pecuniary value from a politician in order to take action benefiting the person contributing the thing of value.

          Here’s the problem.

          It’s not at all clear that campaign contributions have pecuniary value. By law, politicians cannot spend campaign dollars on whatever they want. Dalrymple cannot use his campaign fund to buy himself a new car or a new house or go on vacation. Politicians who do that end up in jail. Ask Jesse Jackson Jr. about that.

          What’s more, there is no doubt what soever that defining political contributions as bribes is an affront to free speech. If I am an oil executive, or the head of an oil industry PAC, I am allowed to make contributions to support politicians who will implement policy that benefits me.

          That’s called democracy. And if you believe it’s a crime, then I’m waiting for the charges to be filed against Ryan Taylor who accepted plenty of money from the labor unions and, if elected, would have had his Lt. Governor chairing the state investment board which oversees the state’s pensions funds.

          Pensions, I shouldn’t have to tell you, are of the utmost importance to unions these days.

          Bottom line is, you’re wrong. Political contributions aren’t bribes. This is a big joke.

          • Grand Junction

            I support going after Ryan Talyor as well. Then remove all politicians from any boards, including the PSC. Not that tough.

          • http://sayanythingblog.com Rob

            So who will govern then?

            Unelected bureaucrats?

            Give me a break.

          • Grand Junction

            Rob, the problem is buying influence. You know it, so does everyone else. Campaign contributions or support for a candidate based on how they will vote is bribery. You know this. You are simply playing a word game as the politicians do. It’s nothing more than semantics. End the donations period. Require the state to put the money out per position running for said position. Get the monopoly men and cronyism out of it. This isn’t that tough, however, very tough to get changed as the fraud and corruption goes away, and so many are involved it would indeed be tough. That doesn’t change the fact, politicians are bribed every single day and it needs to end. Stop covering either party’s ass and start trying to fix the problem and stop being part of it.

          • Flyby_Knight

            Who sets the limits on or disperses the government funding of campaigns then? It’s either other politicians or the bureaucrats that are going to wind up working for them. You’re just swapping out who will be offering the “bribe”

          • http://sayanythingblog.com Rob

            Campaign contributions or support for a candidate based on how they will vote is bribery.

            This is exactly why I’ve been writing that these charges against Dalyrmple are an affront to free speech.

            If I donated $1,000 to Barack Obama because he will push for more EPA restrictions on oil companies, does that mean I’m bribing him?

            If I donated $1,000 to Mitt Romney because I thought he’d push to cut taxes, does that mean I’m bribing him?

            IF I donated $1,000 to Kevin Cramer because I think he’ll vote to build the Keystone XL pipeline, does that mean I’m bribing him?

            Maybe I’m a free citizen, and as such am free to support candidates based on how they’ll govern?

            You have a very, very distorted view of democracy.

          • Grand Junction

            Yes – you are bribing them. You could simply vote for or against them. The threat of losing their job should be enough. Get the money out. Not very difficult. You are part of the problem as you are condoning buying votes. This game you and the party’s play has to end or nothing will change for the better.

          • http://sayanythingblog.com Rob

            Sorry, but I believe in freedom.

            It’s my money. If I want to spend it on advancing my political views by supporting candidates I like, that’s my business. And the Supreme Court agrees, having already ruled that political contributions are free speech.