We are a week removed from the midterm election. As the dust continues to settle, it is time to discuss winners and losers based on the results. This isn’t the typical, who had the most votes and who did not. This column, much like the column that followed the 2016 general election, is about the possible ripple effect of the results. The unseen impacts. Who benefited and who didn’t. Some will be obvious, others will be subtle. It is an incomplete compilation. All are subject to interpretation.
Not all lobbyists lost in this election. Just the groups and councils who have secretly pulled some levers in North Dakota government and wanted desperately to keep their special level of coziness. The North Dakota Petroleum Council spent $60,000, the Lignite Council along with other lignite related groups spent $175,000, and the Greater North Dakota Chamber of Commerce spent $100,000 to defeat Measure 1. They failed and now threaten a lawsuit.
Lobbyists spent the money and had political allies spread misleading information to try and scare voters. They didn’t want the public to create an ethics commission. They didn’t want more transparency on the interactions between politicians and special interest groups. They simply wanted to keep doing business as usual.
After years of telling the public North Dakota doesn’t need an ethics commission, politicians desperately tried to convince voters they already had one. The group against Measure 1 had the Auditor give remarks claiming we don’t need “out-of-state” special interest groups telling North Dakotans how to run things. The Auditor went on and placed an anti-measure 1 sticker on his vehicle. That sticker was paid for by “Americans for Prosperity” an out-of-state special interest group. The public saw through it.