Posts tagged: campaign finance
Idaho Gov. Butch Otter has reported raising $215,369 in campaign funds since Jan. 1, spending $163,088, and ending the reporting period with $129,209 in cash on hand. But both the contribution and spending figures are pushed up by the forgiveness of a $131,000 loan Otter earlier made to his campaign; that’s shown as both a contribution from Otter, forgiving the loan, and an expense for the campaign, paying it off. Without that, Otter reported raising $84,369 in campaign contributions in the first six months of the year, with the largest donations $5,000 each from Monsanto Corp., Riley & Associates of Hayden, and rancher Harry Bettis. The spending figure, without the loan repayment, is just $32,088.
The upshot: Otter, who’s said he’ll run for a third term as governor in 2014, raised almost $85,000 in campaign money over the past six months and forgave his own campaign loan, leaving his campaign debt-free with $129,209 in the bank. You can see the full report here.
Meanwhile, while state schools Superintendent Tom Luna says he’s planning to run for a third term, he reported raising only $4,750 in the last six months, with all the donations coming in the final week of the filing period. His biggest donations were $1,000 each from CenturyLink PAC, from Raul Labrador for Idaho, and from Allen Noble. Luna carried over $16,077 from earlier to make an ending cash balance July 1 of $20,827, but also reported $24,500 in outstanding debt, putting his campaign fund in the red. Oddly, that debt amount is reported in Luna’s summary, but not listed in the detail as either new or carried-over debt; his campaign treasurer didn’t immediately return a reporter’s call to explain. Luna reported no campaign spending in the past six months; you can see his full report here.
Idaho Congressman Raul Labrador is sitting on the second-biggest wad of campaign cash he’s stockpiled since he’s been in office, with more than $277,000 in the bank. That suggests that Labrador is gearing up for a re-election bid for a third term, not for a long-shot primary challenge against two-term GOP Gov. Butch Otter in 2014.
Labrador’s being coy; neither he nor his staffers have returned calls from reporters today, and he’s been hinting for months that he might run for governor or might not and hadn’t yet decided. “Politicians enjoy the attention of people speculating about what office they’re going to run for next,” said BSU professor emeritus and longtime Idaho political observer Jim Weatherby. “He’s certainly benefited from a lot of that kind of speculation, and why wouldn’t he want to continue it for as long as he could?”
Labrador’s latest campaign finance report, filed late last night, shows he ended the year’s second quarter with $277,271 cash on hand. That’s nearly triple the amount he had at this time two years ago, and an amount he’s exceeded only once before, in October of 2012, at the height of the campaign season just weeks before he was re-elected. He raised $65,680 this quarter, an unremarkable amount but for the fact that two-thirds of it came from PACs, a departure for Labrador, who typically has raised more of his campaign funds from individuals than from PACs.
According to FEC records, in 2009-10, Labrador raised more than three times as much for his campaign from individuals as from PACs. In 2011-12, the split was 60 percent from individuals, 40 percent from PACs.
Among the PACs handing over the money now: Microsoft, Google, eBay, Northrup Grumman Employees, Alliant Techsystems, Darigold, Arizona Dairymen, Michigan Milk Producers, the National Roofing Contractors, the U.S.-Cuba Democracy PAC and more. Those groups, Weatherby noted, certainly don’t “have a big stake in who’s the next governor of Idaho.”
The only way to transfer federal campaign funds to a state campaign is to do what Secretary of State Ben Ysursa terms “reattributing” them – getting a written statement from each original donor, saying they want their money transferred from the congressional campaign to the state gubernatorial campaign. “That’s the only way,” Ysursa said. “There’s not just a direct transfer of money. There has to be reattribution of the individual amounts.” Then, the amounts count against the state’s contribution limits for each donor.
“It’s convoluted, but it can be done,” Ysursa said, most notably by Dirk Kempthorne when he decided to run for governor in 1998 rather than seek another term in the Senate. Kempthorne’s 1998 federal campaign finance report shows he refunded nearly $50,000 in contributions that year, including $38,000 to PACs and $11,600 to individuals; that’s what a candidate would have to do to reattribute the funds and redirect them to a state campaign. A Federal Election Commission spokeswoman said federal laws don’t restrict transfers, but they’re governed by state law and state limits.
Labrador’s July quarterly campaign finance report also shows he received $10,000 in contributions from Idaho Sen. Mike Crapo’s Freedom Fund PAC, with two $5,000 checks, one tabbed for the primary and one for the general election, both coming in June 3.
Said Weatherby, “It certainly looks like he’s not going to take a run at governor.”
2nd District Congressman Mike Simpson says he's had “one of his most successful fundraising quarters ever,” raising more than $300,000 for his re-election campaign, the largest amount raised since his first election to Congress in 1998. The latest campaign finance reports, for the most recent quarter, aren't due until Monday, and as of yet, neither Simpson's nor that of his GOP challenger, Bryan Smith, has arrived at the Federal Election Commission and been posted on their website to show the numbers or details.
Simpson's campaign said he's “received a tremendous response to his conservative message of limited government and fiscal discipline in recording one of his most successful fundraising quarters ever.” The campaign's statement also notes his A-plus rating from the NRA, his 100 percent rating from National Right to LIfe, and other conservative credentials as he faces a primary challenge from the right, with a challenger that the anti-tax Club for Growth announced today it recruited specifically to run against Simpson. “I am confident that the totality of my career, and the conservative record I have established, are consistent with the values and expectations of the people of Idaho,” Simpson said. Click below for his campaign's full statement.
Idaho Sen. Mike Crapo is defending his former campaign manager who lost $250,000 in campaign funds in a risky investment, while also calling the incident “discouraging” and “deeply distressing.” Crapo’s then-campaign manager, Jake Ball, loaned $250,000 in campaign funds in 2008 to a longtime friend’s now-defunct investment company, Blueberry Guru LLC, which invested it into real estate ventures in Nevada and California that promised a quick profit. Instead, the money disappeared.
Crapo said he wasn’t informed about the bad loan until late 2010; he worked with the FBI and U.S. Attorney’s office to try to pursue the matter, but to no avail; now, he’s filed amended campaign finance reports for 2008 and 2009 to reflect the loss.
In his quarterly telephone town hall meeting with Idahoans this past week, Crapo addressed the issue before taking questions on other matters. Among his revelations: Crapo said 1st District Rep. Raul Labrador was informed about the investment loss when Ball left Crapo’s staff to become Labrador’s district manager in Idaho in December of 2010. “At that time, my staff informed me that he had informed Rep. Labrador about the circumstance,” Crapo said. When the news of the investment loss surfaced two weeks ago, Ball quit his job with Labrador, saying he wanted to pursue a business opportunity.
“Jake had been working for me in different capacities since about 2002, starting as an intern and holding positions in Washington, D.C. and in Idaho, in my Senate office before moving to my campaign, and he had always exhibited good judgment in those positions,” Crapo said. “In fact, during his tenure as campaign manager, through traditional investments which are government-backed CDs, he had brought in over $300,000 in interest payments. But this one bad loan was made and it was very discouraging.”
Crapo said he’s “taken steps to ensure nothing like this ever occurs again on my campaign.” Now, he said, “At least two separate individuals review and approve any expenditure.” Plus, an accounting firm, Professional Data Services, has been hired to oversee all campaign expenditures and reports. “This is a very discouraging circumstance,” Crapo said. “I deeply appreciate those who have contributed to may campaign over the years. And it’s distressing to have to report this matter not only to those donors, but to all Idahoans.”
Crapo’s quarterly tele-town halls are posted as audio on his Senate website, but you won’t find these comments there; they’ve been edited out. The reason: “It’s because we can’t post on the Senate’s official website anything of a campaign nature,” said Crapo spokesman Lindsay Nothern. “We had a big discussion about that, because we wanted to put (up) the whole thing, but we checked with the Ethics Committee,” and it wasn’t permitted.
Idaho Sen. Mike Crapo said earlier that the $250,000 investment loss his campaign suffered in 2008 - and just now disclosed - came at a time when the campaign was between treasurers, so only then-campaign manager Jake Ball authorized the expenditure, in the form of a loan to a longtime friend. But William Corbett, who was Crapo's volunteer campaign treasurer at the time, tells the AP he was never informed about the transaction. “Obviously, if I would have, it would have been reported,” Corbett said. AP reporter John Miller reports that aides for Republican U.S. Rep. Mike Simpson and Sen. Jim Risch say their campaigns have safeguards and internal controls to protect donor money from a similar fate; among other things, investments such as the ones Ball said he employed with his friend would be forbidden. Click below for Miller's full report.
The $250,000 bad loan of campaign cash from Idaho Sen. Mike Crapo's campaign went to a Las Vegas company that offered a quick profit in two months, according to documents obtained by the Associated Press. Then-Crapo campaign manager Jake Ball, who resigned last week as Idaho 1st District Rep. Raul Labrador's district director, said in a sworn affidavit that he trusted a longtime friend who “invested the money in a less than professional manner and, without knowing it, in fraudulent enterprises with persons who absconded with the funds.” Ball said as a father of four, he didn't have the means himself to repay the funds to the campaign. Click below for a full report from AP reporter John Miller. The now-defunct Las Vegas company was called Pyramid Global Resources.
Here's the latest on the Crapo campaign's $250,000 loss from a bad loan by former campaign manager Jake Ball: Ball has now resigned from his current position on the staff of 1st District Rep. Raul Labrador, though he says it's unrelated to the loan issue. Ball told the AP he decided to leave to pursue a personal business venture. He said he made no effort to keep the loan of Crapo's campaign funds to a longtime friend secret, though he didn't disclose it to Crapo until he was leaving his campaign staff in late 2010. “We never generally discussed investments,” Ball said. “He trusted me to place cash and I did.” He said he regrets the campaign lost money, but calculated in 2008 that he'd done sufficient due-diligence on his investment with his friend to conclude that the transaction was appropriate. “I saw what Gavin was going to do on his end, I saw how the funds were going to be held, and I evaluated it to be safe,” he said.
Ball released this statement: “I deeply regret that the campaign lost money. I am grateful for the amazing experience I’ve had to work for both Senator Crapo and Congressman Labrador. I have evaluated my future and options. Even though Congressman Labrador offered to support me if I wanted to stay on staff, I elected to depart and pursue a business venture I have been working on for several years. The venture is an e-commerce website, www.childrensbookstore.com.”
Click below for a full report from AP reporter John Miller.
Stephen Ryan, a Washington, D.C. attorney hired by Sen. Mike Crapo’s campaign to look into the loss of $250,000 in campaign funds through a bad loan, said this afternoon that then-campaign manager Jake Ball loaned the money to Gavin McCaleb, whom he’d known for 16 years, and McCaleb invested it into real estate ventures in Nevada and California that went sour. McCaleb is bankrupt, and the campaign can’t collect from him, Ryan said.
Ball, who now works for 1stDistrict Rep. Raul Labrador, didn’t tell Crapo about the bad loan until he was leaving the staff in late 2010; because the campaign was between treasurers, he was the sole staffer who approved that use of the campaign funds. “We had a campaign person who made a bad business decision and lost the money,” Ryan said; he said Ball was not fired for the incident. “I think Mr. Ball made an error of judgment in making the investment, but I found no evidence that he intended to benefit personally in any way,” Ryan said. “He did trust someone who he knew well,” and that didn’t turn out well.
As for the campaign donors who gave that $250,000 to Crapo’s campaign, Ryan said, “Certainly there’s been a lot of money that’s been properly used in his campaign.” He said, “I think most people understand that this can happen in a business situation, that somebody makes a mistake and it’s a loss and it’s unfortunate. So there’s probably 250 people who cared enough about the senator to give $1,000 and may have to dig deep and give it again.” Crapo has $3.3 million piled up in his campaign warchest, far more than any other member of Idaho’s congressional delegation, though he’s not up for election again until 2016.
Idaho Sen. Mike Crapo’s campaign is filing amended campaign finance reports for 2008 and 2009 to reflect an “investment loss” of $250,000 in the form of a bad loan to an Idaho company. “The loan was never repaid,” Crapo’s campaign said in a statement today, after a third party “absconded with the money.”
The $250,000 loan was made to an Idaho-based limited liability company called Blueberry Guru LLC. “According to Gavin McCaleb, the managing member of the company that invested the loan, Blueberry Guru handed the funds over to a third-party venture that absconded with the money,” the Crapo campaign said, adding that the senator was informed of the loss in late 2010. Since then, the statement said, the campaign has been working with legal representatives in Idaho and California, and voluntarily reported the matter to federal law enforcement. “Ultimately, the FBI and the U.S. Attorney’s office indicated late last year that neither were in a position to pursue the matter further and the investigation was closed.”
The campaign said Crapo himself was not involved in the decision to make the loan, and learned of it only after the investment had gone bad. The campaign has retained a Washington, D.C. attorney to advise it on how to recover the money and how to report it to the FEC; attorney Stephen Ryan advised that recovery is unlikely. “Although the campaign reviewed many avenues to retrieve the money, those efforts have been unsuccessful,” Ryan said, “and it is necessary and appropriate to file amended campaign reports for the time period involved now that this conclusion has been reached.”
The Associated Press reported this morning that the loan was approved by former Crapo campaign manager Jake Ball, who is now on U.S. Rep. Raul Labrador's staff; Ball didn't immediately return an AP phone call seeking comment.
“I was not asked about nor approved this loan, and am certainly disappointed that the money was lost,” Crapo said. “This circumstance occurred during a period of transition between treasurers. I have ensured that the campaign has made the appropriate adjustments to prevent this, or anything similar, from happening in the future.”
Crapo spokesman Lindsay Nothern said the campaign had made no other similar loans; it had invested in CDs and other similar investments to designed to increase campaign funds during off-election years.
A few more tidbits from the first-quarter campaign finance reports: Yes, Sen. Mike Crapo and Rep. Raul Labrador both actually spent more than they raised in the first quarter of this year (Crapo raised $32,000 and spent $103,000; while Labrador raised $22,120 and spent $37,158). Crapo’s biggest expenses were $13,168 for fundraising consulting, $15,000 for polling and $29,243 for legal fees. The legal fees were for campaign finance legal advice, and weren’t related to Crapo’s Jan. 4 guilty plea to DUI. Said Crapo’s press secretary, Judd Deere, “No campaign funds have been used in relation to the DUI. … It was a personal matter and he paid for it with personal funds.”
Labrador’s biggest single expense for the quarter: The $6,046 he paid in salary to his wife, Becca, who keeps the campaign’s books.
Sen. Jim Risch, who raised more than twice what he spent during the quarter, had campaign events as his biggest expense. Rep. Mike Simpson, who ended the quarter with the smallest campaign warchest of the four, nevertheless transferred $20,000 to the National Republican Congressional Committee, described as a “transfer of excess campaign funds.”
Idaho Sen. Mike Crapo has by far the biggest campaign warchest of anyone in the Idaho congressional delegation, Idaho Statesman reporter Dan Popkey reports today, with $3.3 million piled up. Popkey went through the first quarter reports filed with the Federal Election Commission, and reported that Crapo, who won’t be on the ballot again until May of 2016, raised about $32,000 from January to March and spent about $103,000. Meanwhile, Sen. Jim Risch raised $50,400, spent $23,170, and had $259,523 on hand; 1st District Rep. Raul Labrador raised $22,120, spent $37,158, and had $235,433 on hand; and 2nd District Rep. Mike Simpson raised $86,850, spent $81,513, and had $71,826 in cash. You can read Popkey’s full report here.
At 1 minute to 5 p.m. today Boise time, the Idaho Secretary of State’s office reported that Rep. Shannon McMillan, R-Silverton, had filed her campaign finance report; up to that point, she was the only incumbent lawmaker who hadn’t filed. The deadline was Dec. 6. By getting the report in now, she avoids possible $50-a-day fines.
In other news from North Idaho lawmakers’ and candidates’ latest finance reports, the candidate who ended the election cycle with the biggest campaign debt in North Idaho is new Rep. Thyra Stevenson, R-Lewiston, who reported $21,000 in campaign debt to herself at the close of the reporting period. Stevenson defeated Democrat Pete Gertonson with 54.2 percent of the vote. In second place for campaign debt was independent Jon Cantamessa, with $14,786, whose challenge to Sen. Sheryl Nuxoll, R-Cottonwood, fell short; she won with 64 percent of the vote.
The third-highest campaign debt reported in North Idaho, in districts 1 through 7, belongs to new Rep. Ed Morse, though the $10,000 debt is a holdover from his hard-fought primary race, in which he defeated then-Rep. Phil Hart, R-Athol. GOP candidate Ken DeVries, who failed to unseat Rep. Shirley Ringo, D-Moscow, reported $6,119 in campaign debt; Democratic challenger Anne Nesse, who failed to unseat Rep. Kathy Sims, R-Coeur d’Alene, reported $5,559 in debt.
Second-term Rep. Shannon McMillan, R-Silverton, hasn’t filed the required post-election campaign finance report, the only North Idaho legislative incumbent or candidate to miss the filing deadline. The reports were due the 6thof December – today’s the 12th. Candidates can meet the deadline by having that postmark, so the Secretary of State’s office is just gearing up now to go after those who haven’t filed; notices will go out tomorrow. In addition to McMillan, six unsuccessful legislative candidates around the state missed the deadline; she was the only incumbent.
The tardy candidates will get a warning that if they don’t get their reports in within five days, they could be fined – and the fines are $50 per day for every day that it’s late.
Meanwhile, the final round of campaign finance reports for North Idaho lawmakers and candidates don’t contain a ton of news, but they do show that K12 Management Inc. of Herndon, Va., the for-profit online education company, gave last-minute donations to five lawmakers in Districts 1 through 7, with new Sen. Bob Nonini’s $500 donation reported as arriving on Nov. 6 – Election Day. Sen. John Goedde, R-Coeur d’Alene, got a similar donation on Oct. 17, while Sen. Steve Vick R-Dalton Gardens, reported getting his $250 from the firm on Nov. 13, a week after the election, as did Rep. Paul Shepherd, R-Riggins. Rep. Sheryl Nuxoll, R-Cottonwood, reported receiving hers on Oct. 24.
Jack Buell, a Democratic Benewah County commissioner since 1974, made a last-minute campaign donation to Republican legislative candidate Cindy Agidius, a donation Agidius reported receiving on Election Day. She defeated Democrat Paulette Jordan by 123 votes.
Funniest billing address: New Rep. Luke Malek, R-Coeur d’Alene, a 30-year-old who is one of the few candidates who reported online advertising on Facebook as part of his campaign, reported that his payments for that went off to the firm at “1 Hacker Way,” in Menlo Park, Calif. And that is, in fact, Facebook’s address. The L.A. Times earlier this year called it “Silicon Valley’s premier vanity address,” in a place where Apple Inc. is located at “1 Infinite Loop” and Genentech Inc. is at “1 DNA Way.”
Idaho's fight over three school-reform ballot measures has set a record for campaign spending on ballot measures in straight dollars, reports Idaho Statesman columnist Dan Popkey, eclipsing the 1986 battle in which voters affirmed the Legislature's passage of the Right to Work law. Between all the different groups involved in the school reform campaign, including independent expenditures, Popkey calculates that the opponents have raised $3.6 million and backers $2.6 million, a total of $6.2 million.
In 1986, unions opposed to the Right to Work law spent $2.8 million on the campaign to overturn it, while backers of the law spent $1.167 million to defend it, a total of just under $4 million; 54 percent of voters backed the law. You can read Popkey's full post here.
If inflation since 1986 is taken into account, however, the 1986 battle still ranks as Idaho's biggest. Using the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics inflation calculator, which is based on the Consumer Price Index, the $3.967 million spent that year would equal $8.376 million in today's 2012 dollars.
So who did all this giving this time around? The biggest giver among proponents is eastern Idaho millionaire Frank VanderSloot. Between VanderSloot's independent expenditures and his donations to various groups campaigning in favor of Propositions 1, 2 and 3, the Melaleuca owner so far has spent $1.4 million, and he told Popkey, “I'm not done yet.”
On the “no” side, the biggest giver has been the National Education Association, which has donated $2.8 million so far. Second-biggest is the Idaho Education Association, which has kicked in $601,068, including $495,971 to the “No” campaign and another $105,097 to the group “Idaho Republicans for our Schools,” which is running radio ads against the measures. The “No” campaign also has received $36,500 from the Ballot Initiative Strategy Center in Washington, D.C.; $10,000 from Anthony Balukoff; $5,000 from the Pacific Northwest Regional Carpenters Union; and a slew of much smaller donations from individuals in Idaho. The campaign filed 44 pages listing hundreds of small donations from individuals, some as small as $3 apiece; the law requires disclosure only of donations of more than $50.
On the “Yes” side, the money has flowed through the official “Yes for Idaho Education” campaign, which reported raising $950,974, with VanderSloot's Melaleuca as its biggest giver at $604,500; and three other groups: the Idaho Federation of Republican Women, which got all its $428,000 from VanderSloot; Education Voters of Idaho, which revealed yesterday that the biggest givers in its $641,160 in fundraising were Albertson's heir Joe Scott, $250,000, and New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, $200,000; and Parents for Education Reform, a group related to EVI that raised $150,000, including $100,000 from Students First, a Sacramento, Calif.-based group headed by former Washington, D.C. public schools chancellor Michelle Rhee, and $50,000 from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which also gave $50,000 to the official “Yes” campaign.
You can see all the campaign finance reports on the Secretary of State's website here. They're listed variously under Party Committees, Measure and Miscellaneous Committees, and Independent Expenditures and Electioneering Communications. The final pre-general election reporting period ended Oct. 21, but large amounts donated after that must be reported within 48 hours in separate 48-hour reports that show up on the same website.
“It’s too bad that the time most ripe for optimism and enthusiasm regarding democracy and citizenship – elections – is so persistently darkened by cynicism,” writes Spokesman-Review columnist Shawn Vestal today. “It’s too bad, but not surprising or unfounded. One of the chief failures of our public life is the failure of frankness, and it’s widespread, and it causes an entirely reasonable loss of faith in the whole enterprise. That’s why the 19 pages written by Judge Michael Wetherell and filed in a Boise courtroom this week are such an invigorating tonic.” You can read Vestal's full column here at spokesman.com.
Here's a news item from the Associated Press: BOISE, Idaho (AP) ― Eastern Idaho Republican businessman Frank VanderSloot has now spent more than $1 million to help support public schools chief Tom Luna's education overhaul survive the Nov. 6 vote. VanderSloot hopes his money, most coming from his direct-marketing company Melaleuca, is an antidote to efforts financed by the National Education Association and its state affiliate. According to Tuesday's campaign-finance reports, they've bankrolled TV commercials and other advertising against the education changes in excess of $2 million. VanderSloot's TV ads have sought to portray those fighting the education changes as simply seeking to protect union power. Luna's 2011-passed laws limit teachers' collective bargaining rights, require online classes and mandate laptops for ninth-graders, a program due to cost Idaho $180 million over eight years. Luna's foes contend that will take money from teachers.
The secret-donations group that's fighting an attempt by Idaho Secretary of State Ben Ysursa to force it to reveal its contributors before the election has filed a request to move the court case over the matter to federal court, the AP reports. The move by Education Voters of Idaho, which paid for more than $200,000 in statewide TV ads in favor of Propositions 1, 2 and 3 on the November ballot, came just hours before a Boise judge is scheduled to hear the state's motion for a court order against the group. Click below for a full report from AP reporter John Miller.
The Idaho Education Association has sent a response to the Idaho Secretary of State's office's demand that it disclose its contributors, since it made in-kind contributions to the “No on Props 1,2,3” campaign of more than $180,000. In the letter from its attorney, the IEA says it's not a political committee, but does fall under under a clause in Idaho law for a “non-business entity,” a category for non-profit organizations that in the previous year have received contributions or membership fees that exceed 10 percent of its receipts for the year. Under Idaho law, a “non-business entity” is required to disclose all contributions of more than $500, as opposed to political committees, which must disclose all contributions of more than $50.
The IEA said its money all came from annual member dues that are less than $500. So it'll formally declare itself a non-business entity and file the required disclosure forms, but it won't have any contributions over $500 to disclose. In a news release, IEA chief counsel Paul Stark said, “The IEA has always endeavored to be fully compliant with all laws that pertain to the organization. We will continue to do that as we have throughout our 120-year history.”
To qualify as a “non-business entity” under Idaho law, an organization must have been in existence for at least a calendar year. That means the new group that sparked the issue, Education Voters of Idaho, which just formed in August, isn't a “non-business entity.” The Secretary of State's office contends EVI is a political committee that must disclose contributors over $50; a 4th District judge has set a hearing on the issue for Friday.
The state of Idaho today filed for a temporary restraining order against a secretive group that underwrote more than $200,000 in campaign ads in support of three school-reform ballot reform measures and has refused to disclose its funding source, and a judge set a hearing on the matter for Friday; you can read my full story here at spokesman.com. 4th District Judge Deborah Bail will hold a hearing on the motion for a temporary restraining order or preliminary injunction at 1:30 p.m. on Friday.
The group, “Education Voters of Idaho,” incorporated in August and within the next 40 days, had transferred $200,350 to a political committee, Parents for Education Reform, the motion says. That group then immediately spent the money on the statewide TV ads. The contribution and expenditures “were made, directly or indirectly, in a fictitious name, anonymously, or through an agent or other person in such a manner as to conceal the identity or identities of the source(s) of the contributions to EVI, which were in turn immediately spent for political purposes by” the second group, the state's motion says. It adds that Idaho's Sunshine law, enacted by voter initiative in 1974, “prohibits gamesmanship by which nested political committees string together a daisy chain of contributions and expenditures that hide the true contributors.”
You can read the state's argument here on its motion for a temporary restraining order.
Three organizations - the Idaho Education Association, the National Education Association, and the League of Conservation Voters - have been sent letters from the Idaho Attorney General's office asking them to report the sources of their contributions that they collected and then passed along to political committees. Each of the three letters contains this statement:
“Recent inquiries in Idaho have brought to the forefront the practices of organizations that collect donations from individuals and that make substantial lump sum contributions to political committees, but do not themselves report their contributions as political committees. After reviewing the relevant laws, the Secretary of State's office has come to the conclusion that organizations that 'bundle' donations for contributions to other political committees are themselves political committees. We are writing several such organizations at this time to inform them of their reporting obligations under Idaho law, which have not been clearly enunciated in the past.”
The letters note that the NEA donated $1.06 million to the “Vote No on Props 1,2,3” campaign; the IEA made in-kind contributions of $180,021 to the same campaign; and the League of Conservation Voters contributed $15,000 to Conservation Voters for Idaho Action Fund. All three groups are being asked to “please promptly file the required reports.”