Protecting North Dakota’s Constitution or protecting their own self-interests? The group ‘Protect North Dakota’s Constitution’ sounds innocent but is one of the most well-connected “grassroots” groups that have been involved in changing ND’s measure process. Rightfully, there’s already pushback to this deceptive measure.

Big business, big bankers, and energy lobbyists are leading the charge to limit what voters can do for themselves in our state. Often those voter-approved changes come as a result of the legislature failing to do what residents want. Simply put, this wealthy group wants North Dakotans to vote away their rights. It is a power grab by those who want to maintain the power and influence they already have over state officials. They’ll have the money to plead their case.

There are big moneyed interests invested in these desired changes. They’re pushing the idea that to change the Constitution, measures need to achieve 60% of the vote instead of 51%. To increase that threshold, they only need the same simple majority they’re complaining about, and telling voters isn’t sufficient enough.

Their hypocrisy on voter thresholds isn’t all. They want to demand that all future measures be limited to one item. Their own measure demands two changes. They aren’t even living up to the standards they want to place on others in the future. What do they think about voters and their intelligence?

Unsurprisingly, the boogeyman of out-of-state money rears its ugly head. At their press conference, this group couldn’t even declare they’d reject out-of-state special interest money. With corporations and energy lobbyists involved, do you think money from out-of-state will be funding this deceptive measure?

This all comes back to their anger at voters for creating an ethics commission. These big-monied groups were wining and dining lawmakers and voters took that away from them. Instead of steaks, it is Spaghettios. This change hasn’t stopped lawmakers from doing the bidding of these same groups. Why are these well-funded special interest groups so afraid of voters?

Those same voters would be kidding themselves if they didn’t understand the unpopular Legislature is likely involved in this power grab. Numerous lawmakers have pushed this idea over recent years. They’ve failed to convince voters to give away their rights. Now they will have the assistance of their powerful lobbyist friends and special interest money pouring into the campaign.

North Dakota has a proud history of people-powered initiatives. It gave us the oil extraction tax, approved the Legacy Fund, and created the ethics commission to name a few. This power grab from big business and well-connected lobbyists attacks that great tradition. Don’t be fooled by the name when the motives are this clear.

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