Liberal gubernatorial candidate Ryan Taylor has issued a “white paper” on ethics reform in North Dakota. The paper is interesting in that it cites both a Soros-funded Forum Communications report ranking North Dakota at the bottom of the nation on ethics issues (the ranking bizarrely put New Jersey in first place) and a recent Forum Communications report nailing Republicans for taking oil industry contributions (because contributions from unions and other special interests are ok, I guess).
You have to love the cooperative synergy. Two of the three “sources” cited in the “white paper” are Forum Communications report, one of them funded by George Soros.
Anyway, Taylor’s “white paper” calls for more government panels and committees to battle government ethics problems. As though the solution for government ethics issues were more government.
I addressed this position in a column for the North Dakota Policy Council back in April when the Soros-funded report came out (I am the NDPC’s Policy Fellow for government transparency and ethics). I don’t think government panels and committees promote ethics because, as Tacitus put it, “laws were most numerous when the commonwealth was most corrupt.”
But beyond Taylor’s silly proposals to fight government corruption with more government, there’s this from the fundraising email he sent out with his white paper: “Part of that plan is stopping the corrupting influence of huge out-of-state donors.”
That’s rich coming from the member of the state Democrat party which has, historically, gotten 80 – 85% of their money from out of state. Senators Kent Conrad and Byron Dorgan, along with Rep. Earl Pomeroy, routinely got over 90% of their campaign financing from out of state. In this cycle, Senate candidate Heidi Heitkamp has received 73% of her contributions from out of state sources so far (compared to 63% for her opponent Rick Berg).
What’s more, according to the North Dakota Secretary of State’s campaign disclosure site, Taylor himself has taken a total of $36,315 in contributions from 42 out of state sources including a number of unions and liberal special interest groups.
I don’t think Ryan Taylor is motivated by a desire for ethical government as a desire to silence his opposition’s supporters.