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Don’t Assume Kasper Supports Diversion

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“Don’t assume that the State of North Dakota will step up to the plate with those (Diversion) dollars.” 

This statement by Representative Jim Kasper at the September 13, 2012 FM Diversion Public Meeting (1 hr, 19 m) foreshadowed Kasper’s public position only a few short months later.  Kasper was cautioning local leaders not to expect state support for the project.  Kasper’s statement was applauded by Diversion opponents attending the meeting.  And numerous columns written by opponents referenced Kasper’s statement as they vigorously argued against the project. 

Only a few months later during the 2013 Legislative Session, Representative Al amended the State Water Commission budget with what local leaders called ‘diversion killing’ amendments.  Carlson’s amendment reduced state support for Fargo Flood protection by $125 million, prohibited funds to be used for: a river diversion, dikes and levees associated with the diversion, and limited protection to less than the Army Corps 100 year level.

The Forum’s editorial at the time said Carlson insulted local leaders and betrayed the people he purports to represent

But Carlson was not alone.  Jim Kasper was one of two Fargo Republican legislators who publicly supported Al Carlson’s attempt to scuttle the FM Diversion during the 2013 Session (Forum, February 27, 2013).

In contrast, Representative Kathy Hawken (R, District 46) had the following comment about the amendment. “They’re truly awful. We haven’t done what they’re doing to Fargo to any other district on any other water bill. It’s a micromanaging of it.”

It took weeks and a great deal of hard work by Senator Tony Grindberg (R, D41) and Senator George Sinner to undue Carlson and Kasper’s damaging amendments.

It’s now four years later and Jim Kasper and his friends are telling people they are ‘born again’ Diversion supporters.

So here’s a statement of caution for the residents of District 46.

Don’t assume Jim Kasper and his allies will step up to the plate to provide permanent flood protection for District 46.

He tried to scuttle the Diversion once.  

Will you trust him again?

 

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AND GET YOUR VOICE BACK
ELECT
District 46 Billboard 13.6x6.12 PROOF1

Kasper: Ethics and Legislators Don’t Mix

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Teachers, Law Enforcement Officers, Medical Professionals, and Firemen all are are required to abide by an established Code of Ethical Conduct.   Why then, shouldn’t Legislators like Kasper have to follow similar ethical standards?

‘There’s not one instance of impropriety,” Kasper said.  “We don’t have a problem with unethical behavior in North Dakota.” (March 12, 2015, Associated Press)

Jim Kasper has dismissed every ethics reform measure to come before the House of Representatives.

Ethics Standards are about avoiding Conflict of Interest or the appearance of Conflict of Interest.  On those measures, North Dakota scores poorly.  The Center for Public Integrity’s most recent report gave North Dakota a D- overall and an F in categories of Political Financing, Legislative Accountability, Lobbying Disclosure, and Ethics Enforcement Agencies.

A code of ethical conduct and appropriate public disclosure would provide North Dakota citizens basic information on conflicts of interest, self dealing, and  how interest groups are influencing legislators. 

Kasper is the poster child when it comes to industry sponsored influence peddling.  In 2005, Kasper sponsored legislation to provide the internet poker industry a U.S. location to conduct business.  His bill was defeated in the Senate. Kasper was rewarded with industry sponsored vacations to Montreal, Antigua, Las Vegas, Costa Rica, and the Bahamas in exchange for short presentation.  None of Kasper’s trips were reported.  They were known only because of reports published by the industry.

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Kasper at Poker Industry Expo, December 3-4, 2005 in Costa Rica.

Here’s the real truth – The reason we don’t have ethics violations in North Dakota is because WE HAVE NO RULES!

In 2015 the following Bills were introduced, sent to Representative Kasper’s committee, and with Kasper’s recommendation, killed on the House floor on a nearly party line vote.

HCR3060 – A Constitutional Amendment to create a State Ethics Commission

Three bills were introduced related to campaign funding.  HB1253 would have prohibited personal use of campaign donations.  HB1290 required reporting on expenditures of $200 or more.  HB1289 required reporting of gross contributions of $200 or less and cash on hand.

HB1292 required reporting of ‘Scholarship Funds’ – money paid for travel and other expenses by interest groups and lobbyists to attend conferences, meetings, or other events.

In response to a question about creating an Ethics Commission at the LWV Forum on October 18th, Jim Kasper said, “They were terrible bills.”  Shannon Roers-Jones said, “It was a bad bill, because it provided no due process.”  Jim Roers completely confused criminal acts with ethics rules (meant to avoid conflicts of interest or their appearance) saying, “If you have a complaint, go to the States Attorney.”

Not one Republican candidate mentioned that D46 Republican Representative Kathy Hawken was a co-sponsor of HCR3060 in the 2015 session.  Hawken broke from her caucus to vote in favor of HCR3060 and all four ethics related bills mentioned above.

Speaking in favor of the resolution, Hawken said she’s noticed a change during her 20 years in the Legislature, “and it’s a very sad one.”

In reality, language set forth to establish an ethics commission was model legislation adopted in other states.  It is the non-partisan commission’s responsibility to recommend legislation, establish codes of conduct, and rules (including due process) of operation.  An Ethics Commission clears the path for a more ethical state government.

North Dakota will never have an Ethics Commission or establish a Code of Ethical Conduct for Legislators until we get rid of Jim Kasper.

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Get Your Voice Back

District 46 Billboard 13.6x6.12 PROOF1

Jim Kasper’s Costly Special Session

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As the 2015 Legislative Session was winding down, Al Carlson, Jim Kasper and their extreme cronies put personal interest above the public interest when they adjourned without resolving the SB2022, the Public Employees Retirement System (PERS) Budget Bill.

This last minute dysfunction, led by Carlson and Kasper, resulted in a special session that unnecessarily cost ND Taxpayers at least $69,000.

In February of 2015, the ND Public Employees Retirement System Board awarded health coverage for state employees to the Sanford Health Plan after a competitive bid process.

Note: As legislators, Carlson and Kasper participate in the NDPERS Health Plan.  Despite statements that they were trying to ‘protect’ state employee benefits, it isn’t a big leap to believe they were more concerned over how this change in coverage could affect them!

HB1475 was introduced and referred to the House IBL Committee where Kasper is a member.  The amended measure was intended to interfere with the contract awarded to the Sanford Health Plan by the NDPERS Board.  On March 26th, HB1475 passed the House.  The Senate voted 46-0 to defeat the measure after concluding approval of the bill would be a breach of contract.

Late in the session, however, the House insisted on adding the provisions of HB1475 to the PERS Budget Bill.  The Senate did not agree and appointed new conferees to resolve their differences.  Meanwhile, Kasper, Carlson and their cronies adjourned the Legislative session in a risky attempt to force the Senate to comply.  They did not.

Because of concern, related more to personal interest than public interest, Kasper and Carlson lost at a risky game of chicken.  And ND taxpayers had to pay more than $69,000 for their dysfunctional actions.

Fire Jim Kasper & his Extreme Cronies on November 8th!

AND Get your Voice Back

Re-Elect George Sinner

Elect Kirsten Diederich and Dan Fisher

DONATE TO THEIR CAUSE!

Kasper’s Voter ID Law Ruled OUT OF ORDER!

The “ill-advised repeal of all such ’fail-safe’ provisions has resulted in an undue burden on Native American voters and others who attempt to exercise their right to vote.
August 1, 2016 Opinion by U.S. District Judge Hovland
        With this statement, U.S. District Court Judge Daniel Hovland issued an injunction preventing the State from disallowing thousands of North Dakota residents their right to vote.
        This decision was a victory for Native American citizens and others who have been denied their fundamental right to vote in elections since the Legislature approved voter restrictions in 2013.
        The decision was also a major defeat for Representative Jim Kasper (D46-Fargo) and his gaggle ideologues who presented the voter restriction game plan promoted by the corporate funded American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) headquartered in Arlington, VA.
        HB1332 was originally introduced during the 2013 Legislative Session by Fargo Representative Randy Boehning )(D27) with other Cosponsors Bette Grande (D41-Fargo), Blair Thorseson (D44-Fargo), Alon Wieland (D13-West Fargo), Mike Nathe (D30-Bismarck), Roscoe Streyle (D3-Minot), and Sen. Spencer Barry (D27-Fargo).   
                    Note: Boehning is a member of ALEC’s Civil Justice Task Force that promoted voter restriction legislation throughout the country and Roscoe Streyle served as ALEC’s State Chair.

        As introduced on January 17, 2013, HB 1332 was a one paragraph amendment intended to restrict the voting rights of college students by changing residency requirements to a date preceding the beginning of classes.

        The bill was assigned to the House Government and Veterans Affairs Committee Chaired by Representative Jim Kasper.  A hearing on the original bill was conducted on February 7th.  On the morning of  February 10th, Boehning verbally informed the committee of his intentions to amend the bill (although no language was presented).
        When Kasper reconvened his committee on February 11th, Boehning presented his ‘hog-house’* amendment to HB1332 which represented ALEC’s model voter restriction plans.  This was the FIRST TIME Committee members saw this language.  Five minutes later, Kasper insisted on action which sent the hog-housed bill to the floor on a 10 to 4 party line vote in the committee.
                    *Hog-house amendment – refers to an amendment that fundamentally changes the content after public hearings have been held on the original measure, thereby preventing public notification and input.
        During floor debate, Democratic-NPL legislators complained about the committee actions which circumvented public notice on a brand new voter restriction measure, Kasper defended the actions suggesting that Boehning’s verbal description was somehow sufficient and that 5 minutes of amendment availability was more than enough time for public input and notification!
        The amended bill was first approved by the House on a party line vote of 72 to 21.  It was passed by the Senate similarly on April 3rd by a vote of 30 to 16.
        When the measure came to the House floor for final approvalKasper justified the legislation suggesting affidavits signed by citizens (under penalty of law) were somehow a voter fraud issue.  Kasper stated that the bill would “assure rightful voters are able to vote”.   During the entire debate, proponents could not demonstrate that ND had a voter fraud issue.  What Kasper and his allies did say was that there was a ‘student issue’ and they suggested voters who didn’t have a picture ID who signed affidavits were somehow committing fraud.  
        Those affidavit voters included college students, the elderly, the poor, Native Americans, etc.  Demographically speaking, these groups tend to vote in greater percentages for Democrats. THIS was the real reason for the bill – to restrict the voting rights for political advantage.

        Judge Hovland clearly understood this when he admonished the State by writing, “The public interest in protecting the most cherished right to vote for thousands of Native Americans who currently lack a qualifying ID and cannot obtain one, outweighs the purported interest and arguments of the State. No eligible voter, regardless of their station in life, should be denied the opportunity to vote. ”

        Hovland’s decision was a clear slap down of Jim Kasper’s efforts to tilt elections in his favor.  It was an ill advised effort meant only to restrict voters’ most cherished right.  
        Judge Hovland’s decision is just one more instance where Kasper’s agenda has been denied by the courts or rejected by ND voters.  Simply consider his votes in favor of every bill on women’s health that were determined to be unconstitutional, his vote to for a constitutional measure to politicize higher education (rejected by voters) and his vote allow corporate farming (rejected by voters).
        This election it is time to remove Al Carlson’s First Lieutenant, Representative Jim Kasper, and refocus the legislative agenda toward toward issues citizens really care about.
        We can do just that in District 46 by re-electing George Sinner to the State Senate and electing Kirsten Diederich and Dan Fisher to the ND House of Representatives. 
 
ITS TIME!!!