Stenehjem: No public funds for ballot campaigns

Chris Rizo Jul. 7, 2009, 12:01am

Wayne Stenehjem (R)

BISMARCK, N.D. (Legal Newsline) -State money cannot be spent in a campaign on a ballot measure in North Dakota, state Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem said in an opinion.

While state law does not bar agencies offering a "fair presentation" to the public on a proposed measure, the Republican attorney general said taxpayer money cannot be used in the campaign for or against a ballot measure, the attorney general said in his opinion released Monday.

"It is my opinion that a state agency or entity may not use state funds or resources to advocate for or against a ballot measure, absent a constitutional or statutory provision permitting it," the attorney general said.

Stenehjem offered his formal opinion in response to a question by three Republican state lawmakers.

Their question by state Reps. Kim Koppelman, R-West Fargo; Dan Ruby, R-Minot; and Mike Schatz, R-New England, came after the state Legislature shot down a bill that would have made it illegal to use either state equipment or services on a ballot measure campaign.

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