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Common Interest response: ‘Well within the bounds of the law’

In response to the Idaho Republican Party's announcement that it plans to file a complaint with the IRS over Keith Allred's letter to The Common Interest members telling them he was running for governor,  Common Interest board member Marguerite McLaughlin of Orofino says the communication was "well within the bounds of the law,” and she added, "In fact, we have acted with an abundance of caution in this matter.” McLaughlin said Allred resigned as president of The Common Interest to run for office, and the organization is suspending its activities until after the election.

The Common Interest includes both a 501c3 educational arm, and a 501c4 political advocacy arm, according to its Web site; a 501c4 can engage in some partisan politics if that's not its sole focus. However, McLaughlin didn't mention the two entities in her response; click below to read the full news release from The Common Interest. She noted that Allred's letter to members said, "The Common Interest does not endorse candidates. That includes me or anyone else."

December 16, 2009


BOISE – Marguerite McLaughlin, a director of The Common Interest, Incorporated, said that, “Contrary to the Republican allegations, Keith Allred’s communications with the members of The Common Interest have been well within the bounds of the law.”    

“In fact,” McLaughlin said, “we have acted with an abundance of caution in this matter.”  “Although not required to by law,” she said, “Keith Allred has resigned as President of The Common Interest, Incorporated, and we are suspending the organization’s activities until after the election.”  “We are doing this to ensure that it is clear to everyone that The Common Interest, Incorporated, does not engage in political campaign activity.”
McLaughlin said that Allred explained these decisions in an e-mail to members of the organization dated December 14.  In that e-mail, McLaughlin noted, Allred made the following statements:

I want to make clear that The Common Interest, as always, does not endorse candidates and has no party affiliations.  As a candidate, I will embrace The Common Interest.  Any other candidate or official--Republican, Democrat, or independent--is not only free to also embrace The Common Interest, but is encouraged to do so.

To repeat, while any candidate or official is encouraged to endorse The Common Interest, The Common Interest does not endorse candidates. That includes me or anyone else.

McLaughlin noted that given Allred’s decision to step down and the organization’s decision to suspend its usual operations, it was necessary and appropriate for Allred to inform his members of his decision, which he did in an e-mail dated December 10.  

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Eye On Boise

News, happenings and more from the Idaho Legislature and the state capital.