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Eye On Boise

Wed., July 12, 2017, 12:02 p.m.

Rep. Wood: ‘Hiding money isn’t fair, and it never has been fair’

Rep. John VanderWoude, R-Nampa, the Idaho House majority caucus chair, told his fellow members of the Legislature’s working group on ethics and campaign finance reform this morning that he had a point he wanted to stress: “I haven’t had a dime given to me that’s changed my mind. A lot of people would like to change my mind, but money won’t do it. A lot of the times we go under the perception that legislators can be bought. I haven’t found any legislators in Idaho that can be bought.”

He added, “I struggle with the premise that money is influencing the legislators, and I don’t believe it. I believe that if you make a good, solid argument you can win the argument, and if it’s not a good argument, you lose, and I’ve lost several of ‘em. But I’ve never found a legislator that I have seen that said, ‘I got a contribution from so-and-so and I changed my mind.’ … I struggle with the premise that we can be bought and sold. Maybe in Washington, D.C., it’s a little more money than it is here. I struggle with that premise.”

Rep. Fred Wood, R-Burley, the panel’s co-chair, responded, “That’s not the issue. I think the whole issue is the public perception of what’s fair, and hiding money isn’t fair, and it never has been fair. And I think that’s the big issue. It’s not whether the Legislature or individual legislators are being bought and sold. It’s is the government functioning correctly, and if it is functioning correctly then people have to understand where the money is coming from and where the money is going to.”

“Public perception is a different matter than how we perceive ourselves,” Wood said, “and I think we all need to be cognizant of that.” 

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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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