We the people of the United States of America give notice to the government that we will run our own elections without government interference in compliance with Article II, Section 1 of the U.S. Constitution.
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Pat Foster, Chair
By Pat Foster
Energy Partners’ Dakota Access Pipeline requested and received permission to build beneath the Missouri River and across the ancient burial grounds of the Sioux Indians. I’m an accountant, so I asked myself one simple question. If the Indians are not being paid to run oil across their sacred property protected by treaty, who is being paid? There is an old saying that says: “follow the money.” Remember, every elected official can have a tax-free, secret campaign finance bank account, but they are public documents subject to public review. In North Dakota you just have to know what you are looking for before you can get approval to audit those accounts.
If I was working for the pipeline company with orders to get complete government approval of our pipeline across the Dakota’s, then I would go to David A. Bockorny, the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the Bockorny Group, Inc. In Sioux Falls, South Dakota. The Bockorny Group is a registered lobbyist company paid to influence political decisions. It has long been felt that a lobbyist just takes politicians to lunch or dinner to talk over the issues. It goes further than that, as a good look at Mr. Bockorny’s connection to Bismarck, ND.
In his website, Mr. Bockorny is described as: “A life-long South Dakotan, Mr. Bockorny brings a Midwestern approach to his efforts in Washington, D.C. Under his direction, the Bockorny Group has become known for exemplifying the highest ethical and professional standards and practices. In addition to building a national and international practice, Bockorny is honored to represent numerous leading corporate and public sector clients in his home state.”
Just north of the Standing Rock Reservation on the Missouri River is the City of Bismarck. If there was going to be any conflicts with the Indians protesting the pipeline, then that is where the cases would be heard. The Honorable Bruce A. Romanick ran for District Judge and on his Secretary of State (SOS) campaign filings 2014 and 2015, he showed “no contributions” reported to his campaign. Other District Court Judges in Bismarck with no reported campaign contributions are the Honorable's Bruce B. Haskell, David E. Reich, and the Presiding Judge Gail Hagerty. Do they have campaign finance bank accounts? We don’t know because they never reported anything.
Judge Sonna Marie Anderson, a Bismarck judge did report contributions to her campaign finance account. She filed a Statement of Organization on 7/9/07 naming her Committee Chair David Bockorny of Sioux Falls. Her Committee Treasurer was Jill Bockorny, David’s relative.
On Judge Anderson’s Committee’s Report of Receipts and Expenditures filed 11/2/06, she reported receipts of $43,500 from David A. Bockorny, her Chairman. I guess that would be OK if it was for Judge Anderson’s campaign, but on the last page, Schedule E, she paid out $48,350 to multiple senators and representatives including Governor Mike Rounds who got $4,000. The contributions from a lobbyist became contributions to public officials from a judge. Who can argue with that.
Judge Anderson filed a Campaign Finance Disclosure Statement for 2007 on 1/25/08. She received only one contribution for $75,000 from David A. Bockorny in Jun-07. She only had one distribution of $350 to the Minnehaha County Republican Party.
Judge Anderson’s year-end statement for 2008 showed only two contributions of $10,000 each from David A. And Jill Bockorny. On 11/21/10, she filed a Campaign Finance Disclosure Statement with no receipts, but $36,020 in political contributions paid to candidates including $25,000 to the SD Republican Party.
Mr. Bockorny in “exemplifying the highest ethical and professional standards and practices” uses Judge Anderson as the go-between so as not to look like he was attempting to buy the Dakota’s politicians. All judges are supposedly non-partisan so as to give impartial rulings.
If the Standing Rock and Pine Ridge Reservations ran their own elections, they could put the issues that are important to them on their own ballots. If the politicians are all taking money for their decisions to use Indian property into their secret bank accounts, then the Indians could ask for and receive money from the pipeline company for every barrel of oil crossing their property. They have more rights than a bunch of crooked politicians. That would certainly make them think again about using what belongs to the Indians without compensation. A bunch of beads will not hack it. Money for schools, education, health care, and community projects are now on the table for discussion.