Let me be clear, this is not an anti-NRA nor an anti-gun post. I own guns, and I hunt. I shoot a lever action .243 for deer hunting that was passed down to me from my dad. I enjoy getting back to rural Benson County and taking my good friend’s AR-15 out for target practice. No, this post is about political integrity.
You may know, every election year the NRA sends out surveys to candidates and elected officials to fill out and send back. From those surveys and previous voting records (if available) they’ll give candidates a rating or endorsement. For the second election in a row, I chose to not fill out my survey. I’ve come to the conclusion I do not need an out-of-state special interest group telling me or others how I should feel about guns. Remember, I am a happy and responsible gun owner just like so many in North Dakota. This cycle I wasn’t the only candidate. Others took to their local paper to publicly state why they wouldn’t be sending the survey back.
Rather, this post is about a message sent from a Rep. Todd Porter’s state email account. The email showed answers for an “A rating” to the above-mentioned survey. Take note the email pictured below was sent to all the current elected Republicans in the North Dakota House and Senate. First, I question whether the use of a state-owned account for these purposes is prohibited by the state’s Corrupt Practices Act (N.D.C.C. s 16.1-10.2). The message from Porter also gives direction to pass these answers along to Republican candidates in this year’s election so presumably they too can get an ‘A rating’ and potential endorsements over their opponents. You know, “political purposes.”
Often you’ll see candidates and officials pounding their chest in pride for receiving this ‘A rating.’ Take for example this tweet from the ND GOP boasting about current Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem’s ‘A+ Rating’ during his contested race for Governor in the ND GOP primary. Ironically, Porter was a large backer of Stenehjem’s and had little respect for Doug Burgum until he later begged for his endorsement in his legislative race.
— ND Republican Party (@NDGOP) May 16, 2016
So I ask you, does this evidence not call into question the integrity of the ratings and endorsements from the NRA in the State of North Dakota? This is the equivalent of a Senior in High School saving the answer key to their math test and handing it to the Juniors, so they too can get a passing grade. It will feel good showing your mom and dad how well you did in getting an ‘A’ but it was not out of conviction, hard work, honesty, or integrity.
Lastly, if this state email questionably used by Porter for political purposes does pass the Corrupt Practices Act test this clearly lays out yet another case of the state needing an ethics commission. I wonder if Rep. Jim Kasper will still claim there are no examples of unethical behavior by legislators in North Dakota?