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Grand Forks Herald - Ryan Taylor Pledges Full Transparency; Calls on Governor to Speak Up for Higher Standards

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In the wake of North Dakota's failing grade for government transparency, Democratic-NPL Gubernatorial Candidate Ryan Taylor called on Governor Dalrymple to increase transparency in North Dakota government.

"As North Dakotans, we shouldn't be satisfied with our state receiving a failing grade on anything, especially something as important as good government. Rather than just continuing to take credit for jobs the government didn't create, we should be striving to improve in areas within government where we're failing," Taylor said. "There are steps we can take to make our elections and politics more transparent and more responsive to the people of North Dakota without interfering with the direct access and interaction we all so rightly enjoy."

Taylor pointed to opportunities presented in the last legislative session that could have held candidates and elected officials more accountable, including creating a board of ethics -- something North Dakota currently does not have. In 2011, the North Dakota House of Representatives defeated a bill that would have created an ethics commission on a 25-68 vote.

"Some argued that an ethics commission was not necessary, but when a state legislator goes years without paying her own taxes, it says something to the contrary. Elected officials should be held to at least an equal, if not higher, standard as our state's residents."

Taylor is also asking that Governor Dalrymple lead by example by increasing asset disclosure form requirements and reporting how campaign money is spent. Known as "statements of interests,' asset disclosure forms are filed by candidates seeking public office and only provide basic information--usually without monetary figures -- of the individual's assets. In addition, Taylor is calling for a change in reporting how campaign dollars are spent.

"The way the laws currently stand, candidates can collect campaign contributions and spend them however they wish. If that means buying a boat or a lake cabin or a tractor, there's nothing prohibiting them from that. It's absurd."

"We have the opportunity to run a clean and responsible campaign for the Governor's office, one that puts transparency and honesty front and center and gives the people of North Dakota a greater awareness of potential conflicts of interest. We owe that to the people of North Dakota, and I hope Governor Dalrymple will join me in that effort," said Taylor.

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