The conflicts ranged from business consulting relationships to employers investing in applicants’ projects, as well as a member sitting on an applicant’s board of directors. Each time a member disclosed a conflict at the meeting, the other members decided to allow them to vote anyway, The Bismarck Tribune reported.
The Dakota Resource Council took issue with the process in a letter the group sent to the North Dakota Ethics Commission. Dakota Resource Council Executive Director Scott Skokos wrote that energy authority members with a conflict of interest who participate “can use their vote or technical recommendation to influence a decision that would allow money to flow to them directly, or to their company or institution directly.”
Skokos said the Ethics Commission should require the Clean Sustainable Energy Authority to follow ethical standards similar to banks by prohibiting members from voting or advising on projects in which they have a stake.