Tag Archives: transparency


John Olsrud: Make No Mistake, North Dakota Has Ethics Issues

John Olsrud: Make No Mistake, North Dakota Has Ethics Issues

The North Dakota House of Representatives recently killed a resolution calling for a constitutional amendment to create an ethics commission for North Dakota state government. I am not sure if an ethics commission is the answer, but I have a few bridges I would like to sell to those people who say we have no


For Lawmakers University System’s Transparency Issues Are No “Misconception”

According to Chancellor Larry Skogen, the idea that the state’s university system and its institutions have problem with transparency is just a “misconception.” That despite nearly two dozen open records violations by the university system and its instittuions since 2010. And to prove just how committed they are to transparency, the North Dakota University System


Rod St. Aubyn: Deck Seems Stacked Against The Public When It Comes To Transparency

ou may have noticed an article in Sunday’s Fargo Forum about North Dakota’s open records/open meetings laws. I am becoming more and more knowledgeable about the issue after two recent open records requests for a lobbying client of mine. As I dig more into it, I have become even more concerned about our current system.


Should Foreign Contributions To State Candidates Be Illegal?

Yesterday I flagged some contributions from a Canadian citizen (Leo Ledohowski, the owner of the Canad Inns hotel chain) to state Senator Lonnie Laffen who represents the Grand Forks area. This evening the Grand Forks Herald picked up the story, noting that Senator Laffen defends the contributions and even checked with Secretary of State Al Jaeger


Rod St. Aubyn: Hillary Clinton Email Scandal A Smoking Gun Or A Strategic Plan?

We are all following with great interest the news on the Hillary Email Saga.  The New York Times broke the story that Hillary was not using the government’s email system, instead using her own server at her residence.  Speculation has run wild on this story and continues to bring more and more “news” and “speculation.”


Senator Accuses House Lawmakers Of “Fouling The Pool” With Records Requests

SB2222 is a bill introduced by Senator Tim Flakoll, a Republican from Fargo and employee of the North Dakota University System. In its original form the bill would have made public records requests from lawmakers made through Legislative Council an open record (currently lawmakers enjoy anonymity), and it also would have put a $5,000 cap


Senate Committee Says Yes To Secret Evaluations For University Presidents

Heading into the 2015 legislative session one of the North Dakota University System’s top priorities was exemptions from open records laws. The state’s universities have put up a horrendous track record on transparency over the last several years, and it seems their solution to that problem is to remove records and meetings from public scrutiny.


Bill To Limit Lawmaker Record Requests Gets Watered Down With Amendment

Originally SB2222, introduced by Senator Tim Flakoll (R-Fargo), would have done two things: Make all legislator requests for records a public record in their own right. Limit legislators to no more than $5,000 worth of requests per biennium unless Legislative Management approves said requests. Requests over that dollar limit not approved by Legislative Management would


Bill Would End Practice Of Obscuring Political Contributions Through “Conduits”

In recent election cycles a development in the method of political contributions has confounded those of us who transparency. It’s the use of “conduits” to funnel money to candidates. Democrats make the biggest use of conduits here in North Dakota. Their candidates, and even their political party, push supporters to contribute to a group called

Fargo Forum's Ivory Tower

Why Is Fargo Forum Obsessing Over Common Core Request That Never Happened?

Last month Fargo Forum publisher Matt Von Pinnon wrote a column that was little more than a litany of all the open records requests his newspaper has filed. The headline of the column was, “Forum continues to take watchdog role seriously.” Numerous people emailed me links to the column asking the same basic question: Are these