Two North Dakota groups move forward with a lawsuit involving Public Service Commissioner's Kevin Cramer, Brian Kalk and Tony Clark.
The Sierra Club and the Dakota Resource Council have filed a citizens lawsuit. They say the three men have violated federal campaign contribution rules.
The lawsuit contends that Cramer, Kalk and Clark have all accepted campaign contributions from companies they regulate.
Wayde Schafer of the Sierra Club says, "The Surface Mining Control and Reclamation act is quite specific that the employees of the federal government and there agents, in this case it's the Public Service Commission since they are implementing the federal law that it is illegal for them to accept any contributions."
Public Service Commissioner Kevin Cramer calls the lawsuit frivolous and politically motivated.
He says he and commissioner Kalk can legally take the donations.
Public Service Commissioner Kevin Cramer responds, "The law allows people to contribute, our system encourages people to contribute to elected positions, people that they agree with, people that they think are more likely to carry out there philosophy, that persons philosophy, it's protected in the First Amendment of the Constitution, the same amendment that protects the presses right to exist, the Freedom of Expression."
The two groups are officially suing Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar. The groups say he has failed to make sure conflict of interest rules have been implemented in North Dakota.