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From: Scott Larkin<> Date: Mon, Oct 24, 2016 at 1:00 PM Subject: Formal complaint filed against Measure 4 opposition


Oct. 24, 2016

For more information:

Scott Larkin

Campaign Manager

Raise it for Health ND


Measure 4 opposition repeatedly violates ND election law

Raise it for Health ND files formal complaint with states attorney

The tobacco industry-funded opposition to Measure 4 is running a misleading campaign that is a blatant

violation of North Dakota Century Code.

16.1-10-04 states: “A person is guilty of a class A misdemeanor if that person knowingly, or with reckless

disregard for its truth or falsity, publishes any political advertisement or news release that contains any

assertion, representation, or statement of fact, including information concerning a candidate's prior public


record, which is untrue, deceptive, or misleading

Mike Rud and North Dakotans Against the 400% Tax Increase have deliberately and repeatedly misled

North Dakota voters about Measure 4 in the following ways:

Omitting the word “tobacco” from the majority of their campaign materials– Measure 4 is a

proposed increase on North Dakota’s tobacco tax, so it is essential to include the term “tobacco” in

any discussion of the measure. Instead, the opposition is misleading people into thinking they are

being burdened with a 400% property tax or income tax increase. It’s the only way they can trick

North Dakotans into voting to protect tobacco companies’ profits.

Claiming Measure 4 a $70 million tax hike The North Dakota Tax Department estimates Measure 4 will generate approximately $141.7 million for the 2017-2019 biennium. However, that revenue is entirely dependent on tobacco sales. The opposition’s misleading messaging implies that the state is increasing taxes by $70 million per year and all ND taxpayers are on the hook for the increase, which is absolutely false.

Attacking the Administrative Committee on Veterans Affairs– The opposition’s website falsely attacks ACOVA as “wracked with recent scandal and mismanagement.” They are making baseless accusations that are simply untrue.

Not only are these tactics misleading, they’re illegal.

“The tobacco companies behind the opposition are convicted racketeers, so it’s no surprise they’re trying to deceive and mislead the public,” said Kristie Wolff, program manager for tobacco control and advocacy with the American Lung Association in North Dakota. “The opposition’s campaign follows a deliberate pattern of misleading voters that violates North Dakota election law, and demonstrates a complete lack of respect for the integrity of our electoral process.”

In addition to misleading the public, the tobacco industry-funded opposition’s website and marketing materials also attack the North Dakota Center for Tobacco Prevention and Control Policy (The Center) funding. However, the Center’s funding is a result of the Master Settlement Agreement, and tobacco companies are prohibited by law from commenting on how states use the money from the Master Settlement Agreement.

Two of the tobacco companies named in the Master Settlement Agreement are Philip Morris (now Altria) and R.J. Reynolds – combined, those two companies are spending more than $3.7 million to kill Measure 4.

“Not only are the tobacco companies violating North Dakota’s election law, they’re also violating federal law regarding the Master Settlement Agreement,” Wolff said. “All the while, Mike Rud says he’s glad tobacco companies are ‘protecting their interests’ in our state. It’s clear Rud is happy to take his marching orders from out-of-state tobacco companies, but we believe North Dakotans deserve better from any party involved in the political process.”

Raise it for Health ND has filed a complaint with the Burleigh County State’s Attorney.



● Samples of opposition’s misleading marketing materials

● Screenshot of opposition website statement regarding ACOVA

● Screenshot of opposition website statement regarding Master Settlement funding

● Screenshot of opposition website footer, noting funding from Altria Client Services, LLC, and R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company