Ethics Commission defining the job

Published: Dec. 11, 2019 at 10:27 PM CST
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The North Dakota Ethics Commission was created to investigate and oversee new campaign laws. But the first few meetings have consisted of deciding how they'll conduct those investigations.

2020 Election campaigns are ramping up, and the newly-formed citizen coalition tasked with bringing transparency to the process titled the draft of their rule book: "Not sure we have authority to do this stuff."

In an effort to clearly define their role, commissioners discussed acting as a center-point for information regarding campaign laws rather than as a rule-making body.

"Our role would be to make it so it's easy to understand for the citizens. We capture all that information and put it in a form like the administrative rules that we're trying to get to, so that the public can see this how, tying it all together, this is how we will maintain transparency and accountability,” Commissioner David Anderson said.

They still have the power to investigate complaints, but even the members of the citizen panel admit they have a ways to go.

"As the body of the commission, it's also going to be upon us to make sure we are informed and are aware and cognizant about what those details are," Commissioner Cynthia Lindquist said.

The draft covers how they'll handle financial disclosures, public access to documents, and other administrative affairs

While the rules are discussed, the Ethics Commission has already dismissed two cases, but haven't released the nature of either.

For the first time, the public is seeing how the commission will operate.

There are still some details to iron out, but they say they want to have rules in place for the next meeting in January.

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