Watch the floor debates in the North Dakota legislature long enough and you’ll eventually see a lawmaker stand up and ask to be excused from voting on an issue because of a conflict of interest.

Sometimes it’s in earnest; sometimes it’s a joke.

At one point in this session one wag jokingly asked to be excused from voting on legislation related to traffic fines because he once got a speeding ticket.

But when legislation to limit the powers of the state auditor’s office came to the House floor – legislation which has proved so controversial it has inspired a referendum campaign – one lawmaker with a direct familial connection to a recent headline-making audit didn’t ask to be excused.

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