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Associated Press, Published August 06 2012

Activist says ND regulators need donation curbs

BISMARCK — A campaign finance expert says state utility commissioners shouldn't be accepting campaign money from industries they regulate.

The issue has arisen in North Dakota's race for public service commissioner.

Democratic candidate Brad Crabtree says incumbent commissioners Brian Kalk and Kevin Cramer have taken money from coal and wind power companies in North Dakota.

Craig Holman is a lobbyist for a Washington group called Public Citizen.

He says Public Service Commission candidates could just avoid taking money from businesses they regulate. Holman says they could seek contributions instead from companies that don't have dealings with the PSC.

Crabtree says the industry donations to Kalk and Cramer are tantamount to bribery. Holman says he doubts any prosecutor would take the case. But he says the donations don't "pass the smell test."

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Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.