You may have seen my blog post on the ad in the Bismarck Tribune seeking reports of corruption in North Dakota. (If not, click here.) I expressed some concern about the ad. I had questions so I connected with the person behind the ad.
Here's our question and answer session:
NorthDecoder: Who are you, where are you from, what do you do?
ND Corruption Reporter: [The ND Corruption reporter indicated he's from Northeastern ND, identified himself to me, but asked that I not disclose here who he is. He indicated he has some concern for his personal safety. For the record, I had gotten a tip as to who he was before he told me, but I didn't tell him that. He probably knows now.]
ND: What inspired you to place the ad in the Bismarck Tribune? (Are you, by chance, the victim of some government corruption?)
NDCR: I had some dealings with corruption but a friend of mine is the reason I decided to get involved in this.
ND: Did you put the ad in any other newspapers or magazines? Any radio or TV ads?
NDCR: I put the ad in the Grand Forks Herald, Cavalier Chronicle, Bismarck Trib, and Walsh Cty Record. I haven't done TV ads yet, because I wanted to see how many stories I got from the newspaper ads. I have only gotten a few stories. I think its because people think saying something will come back to bite them in the ass. I don't want names of private individuals because I can't print them without getting sued. You can say just about anything about ELECTED OFFICIALS THOUGH.
ND: How many people have you heard from? How many stories have you been able to verify?
NDCR: I have only heard from about 3 people. I heard from one that I think is from the Gov's office or Atty Generals office who wanted to know who I was and I told them. I am sure the BCI and swat team will be at my door soon!
ND: Before you do your Corruption Report, will you do any independent verification of the stories people tell you? If so, are you willing to give an example or two of what kind of verification you're doing (generally or specifically)?
NDCR: Yes I will do some independent verification of the stories if I get enough to print. I can give an example of what kind of verification I am going to do when it happens. I have a regular job, so I have to do this at night. If someone does send a story, about the only way I can verify it is through court transcripts and affidavits I think.
ND: When and where do you plan to release your report?
NDCR: I was going to print a small tabloid type paper and deliver them to stores and gas stations and various places all over North Dakota. Not sure when.
ND: Are you planning to focus on any particular kind(s) of corruption?
NDCR: I have heard mostly stories about family courts and the corruption of judges and social services so I was going to focus on that aspect mostly. If it is one thing I hate, it is child abuse, and people that do the child abuse and the people in the courts, and social services that enable people to abuse children. NOTHING MAKES ME MORE ANGRY THAN PEOPLE ABUSING HELPLESS CHILDREN!
ND: I noticed your ad references "family courts" first. Do you have a special interest in family courts?
NDCR: I do have a special interest in family courts. I have a friend who had his children taken away from him by a corrupt judge and he never did anything to hurt the kids, but the judge told him that he can NEVER see or talk to his kids ever again! Gee, I didn't know that was legal. Oh yeah, it isn't but the judge let the order stand.
ND: I also noticed your ad doesn't include "state agencies," "city government offices" or "county government offices." Did you exclude those intentionally because you're not interested in corruption in those kinds of offices, or is there some other reason you didn't ask for those types of corruption? (I'm wondering if you're interested in pursuing reports of corruption in those types of offices.)
NDCR: Yes I am interested in it, but didn't really think about it when I put the ad in the paper.
ND: What about corruption in private businesses? Say, for example, a business that has a "cost plus" contract with the state and is cheating on what its costs are; are you interested in those kinds of stories of corruption?
NDCR: Iam interested in those kinds of corruption. I just didn't have any first hand experiences or stories of that type of corruption.
ND: Are people asking you to protect their anonymity? Are you offering to protect reporters' anonymity?
NDCR: Yes they are asking to protect anonymity and I will protect them. I will need to verify stories and I wouldn't print any names of anyone except Elected Officials. I can only use fake names or initials or fake initials.
ND: What kinds of assurances can (and do) you make to people who send their stories to you regarding anonymity? I'm thinking of a whistleblower whose job might be at risk if they are identified after you release your report and it becomes clear you've gotten inside information from a state or county office, or a business.
NDCR: I would have to make sure to show the person that sent the story to me gets to read it to make sure it is ok to print before it is printed. I would never want to jeopardize someones job, personal life, or safety for any reason. I think of the people that worked for WSI and went to the AG and said give me whistleblower status and he said he would and then they got fired. Another example of a criminal in power as far as I am concerned.
ND: Besides outrageous outcomes in family law cases, are you willing to share a "teaser" (before your report comes out) on some of the corruption that's been reported to you?
NDCR: Yes I will.
That's our Q&A exchange. I should note that I've edited exactly two things in this: (1) there was one typo [an extra letter "L" that I've taken out]; and (2) there was something that I assume was directed to me, personally, and I took that out.
Though I'm interested in seeing what comes of this, I have to admit I'm really not all that interested in hearing people's complaints about the outcomes in their divorce cases. I get enough of that in my job and in my personal life, so I'm not all that interested in those cases even if some of you are.
I'm just not.
But stay tuned...