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Eye On Boise

Tue., Nov. 3, 2009, 4:31 p.m.

Gridley: It’s a state law

Coeur d'Alene city attorney Mike Gridley says the campaign finance law that Sen. Mike Jorgenson may have violated when he ran a $1,090 ad for Coeur d'Alene city council challenger Jim Brannon is a state law, not a city ordinance. Idaho Code 67-6610A limits contributions by an individual, corporation or political committee to $1,000 each for the primary and general elections; that limit applies to legislative, city, county or district judge races. A violation can bring a civil fine of up to $250, and potentially criminal penalties if it was a knowing violation. "It sounds like he is claiming that he didn't know," Gridley said. "All we're doing is enforcing Idaho Code that our fine Legislature has passed, and that's applicable to all elections." However, the limit may not apply if Jorgenson's ad is considered an independent expenditure; if that's the case, the disclosure reports he's arranging to file with the city may clear up the violation.

"We won't know until we get his filing," Gridley said. "If it's an independent expenditure, he's not limited by the thousand dollar amount. If he coordinates it with a campaign, then it is a contribution to that campaign, and it would violate the $1,000 and would need to be reflected on the candidate's sunshine report, too." Jorgenson said he did the ad on his own; he told Eye on Boise he got the list of roughly 50 campaign supporters to list in the ad from Brannon's campaign. "I got it through his campaign headquarters - it's available to anybody that walks in there," Jorgenson said. "I just called them."




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Betsy Z. Russell
Betsy Z. Russell joined The Spokesman-Review in 1991. She currently is a reporter in the Boise Bureau covering Idaho state government and politics, and other news from Idaho's state capital.

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