Eye On Boise

Campaign attack groups fined for Sunshine Law violations

Idaho Secretary of State Ben Ysursa has announced fines against two groups that launched last-minute campaign attacks against an Idaho Supreme Court candidate without following the disclosure requirements of the state's Sunshine Law. "Idaho Citizens for Justice" is being fined $1,300, and "Idaho Citizens for Commonsense Solutions" is being fined $600; the latter group provided half the funding for the former, which paid for nearly $40,000 in ads and fliers attacking Judge John Bradbury and touting sitting Justice Roger Burdick, against whom Bradbury was running in last week's election; Burdick won. Once the two groups were contacted by the state and belatedly filed the required disclosures, it emerged that all the funding for both came from Melaleuca Inc., a personal-care products firm in eastern Idaho headed by conservative activist Frank VanderSloot.

The fines are for failure to file timely notice of the formation of the groups and of the last-minute independent campaign expenditures before the election, Ysursa said. "Timely pre-election disclosure is the key to the Sunshine Law," he said. In letters to the two groups, Ysursa wrote, "One purpose of the Sunshine Law, as stated in I.C. 67-6601, is 'to promote openness in government and avoiding secrecy by those giving financial support to state election campaigns...' The Secretary of State is charged with enforcement of this law, and we take that charge seriously."




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Betsy Z. Russell
Betsy Russell covers Idaho news from the state capitol in Boise and writes the Eye on Boise blog.

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