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

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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