A Study on State Lobbying: A Closer Look at North Dakota
By TBOR Staff
AUBURN, AL- In our review of states with the highest growth rate, big states like California, New York, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, and Texas seemingly fit in. Ranked at #7, however, North Dakota stood out on the list.
A rural state, North Dakota saw its number of lobbyists increase 31% from 2006 to 2015. During this period, it was also graded as an ‘F’ by The Center for Public Integrity– 43rd out of 50 states, ironically roughly the same positioning it has in a ranking of lobbyist reduction.
Interestingly, North Dakota has a biennial legislature and is considered to be conservative in its approach to the size and scope of government. Neither, one would think, would lend itself to lobbyist growth.
In fact, in our study which has thus far indicated that Democrat states are more likely to see growth, North Dakota joins Texas as the two states that were led by Republican governors and legislatures for the entire 10 years. Any time such a situation exists, there is always the possibility that such control could lead to a solidarity of thought that runs counter to reform efforts.
Discussions with policy experts suggest that many in North Dakota believe its campaign finance laws, reporting expenditures, and disclosures are sufficient and that most believe that the current system effectively prevents corruption. The consensus appears to be that the laws have worked well for many years and do not need to be changed at the present.
The growth of the oil industry lent itself to some growth in lobbying, but there is no hard evidence that these influencers radically shaped the North Dakota legislature. However, as is true for almost all states, North Dakota might benefit from a periodic review of its lobbying system to ensure that it operates in the best possible manner.
Some of the top industries in North Dakota are energy, agriculture, and tourism, and these industries certainly undertake lobbying efforts. While the growth in lobbying- which we have stated before is not a negative in and of itself- seems natural and others report that North Dakota’s operations are no worse than other states, we do encourage interested North Dakotans to reach out to us regarding how they can engage in the state to ensure that lobbying efforts continue to function effectively.
Take Back Our Republic has engaged heavily in South Dakota in the past and looks forward to continuing to take a closer look at its northern brother.
We would love to hear from you. Join the conversation at https://www.facebook.com/takebackorg/ and continue to check Take Back.org for the latest thoughts on reform.