An appeal has been filed with the North Dakota Supreme Court after a Dunn County petition was thrown out last month that called for a grand jury to look into campaign contributions made to Gov. Jack Dalrymple.
Grand Forks attorney David Thompson, who drafted the petition, said Thursday an appeal had been submitted and accepted by the Supreme Court.
The original petition called for a grand jury investigation into alleged bribery involving approximately $81,600 in oil industry contributions made to the Dalrymple campaign between Jan. 1, 2011, and May 23 of this year. Some of the contributions came during a time when the North Dakota Industrial Commission was hearing a controversial case relating to drilling a large area in Dunn County that includes the Little Missouri State Park. Dalrymple is an Industrial Commission member. Bribery is a Class C felony in North Dakota.
South Central District Court Judge William Herauf ruled in November that the number of qualified Dunn County signatures on the petitions were inadequate for the grand jury process.
North Dakota law states that a grand jury can be called if the signatures of qualified county voters totaling at least 10 percent of the vote cast in the county for governor in the previous general election are submitted.
“There’s another petition (circulating) that’s virtually complete that will be filed shortly,” Thompson said.
The original petitions, which were submitted
Oct. 31, contained 173 signatures. Dunn County had 1,670 votes cast in the 2008 general election, which would require at least 167 petition signatures. Herauf’s ruling stated that at least seven signatures appeared to come from non-Dunn County residents, bringing the number of signatures to 166.
Election results from the North Dakota Secretary of State’s office website show 2,017 Dunn County votes were cast in November. Because the November election is now the most recent general election, a new petition would require at least 202 qualified signatures.
No date for a hearing on the appeal has yet been scheduled. A spokesman in Dalrymple’s office said the office hadn’t received any information on the appeal as of Thursday afternoon.