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Sun Jun 30, 2019, 07:22 PM

Legislator as landlord: Financial disclosures don't highlight state agency leases with North Dakota

Legislator as landlord: Financial disclosures don't highlight state agency leases with North Dakota elected officials


BISMARCK — At least several current or former elected state officials in North Dakota have an interest in property rented by state agencies, but those financial relationships weren’t readily apparent on campaign disclosure forms.

The officials defended the leases, which aren’t awarded through a formal competitive bidding process, as a byproduct of North Dakota’s citizen-run Legislature and said they don't affect their decision-making.

“Should a teacher not be in the Legislature because the state funds education?” said Bismarck Republican Sen. Michael Dwyer, who owns a building rented by the Housing Finance Agency. “I think you can carry that to the extent nobody could serve.”

Dina Butcher, who led the charge to pass last year's ballot measure etching new ethics rules into the state constitution, didn't directly criticize the state officials because the arrangements are not illegal and she wasn't aware of any leases being unfairly awarded. But she said the ethics commission created by Measure 1 may take up the issue once it's formed.

Read more: https://www.thedickinsonpress.com/news/government-and-politics/2725479-Legislator-as-landlord-Financial-disclosures-dont-highlight-state-agency-leases-with-North-Dakota-elected-officials

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