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Posts tagged: campaign finance

Trib: Jeers To Labrador’s Family Biz

In his weekly Cheers & Jeers column, opinionator Marty Trillhaase of the Lewiston Tribune gives …

… Jeers to Congressman Raul Labrador, R-Idaho. When the freshman put his wife Becca on the campaign account two years ago, it looked like a rookie mistake. But in examining Labrador's latest campaign finance report, the Idaho Statesman's Dan Popkey noticed nothing has changed.Labrador, who pulls down $174,000 as a member of Congress, paid his wife $6,045 for the last three months to handle the campaign's books. In addition, the campaign covered $4,224 in federal income and payroll taxes as well as another $1,188 in state taxes. Were those taxes paid on behalf of Becca Labrador? In an email, Labrador's deputy chief of staff, Mike Cunnington, stated: “As we have said before, Becca receives a monthly salary of $2,500 and the campaign pays all taxes that are required.” Marty's complete column here.

Question: Should Labador's wife, Becca, be paid for handling the congressman's campaign books?

Hagadone Gave To Secret Group

Amid a campaign secrecy dustup, millionaire Idaho businessman Duane Hagadone (pictured) took back money from a group that was reporting it publicly and gave it to another that fought to keep its donors hidden. On Aug. 6, Hagadone gave $15,000 to Yes for Education, a political action committee campaigning to preserve public schools chief Tom Luna's education overhaul at the ballot box Nov. 6. On Aug. 14, the PAC returned Hagadone's $15,000, according to records filed with the Idaho secretary of state's office. Weeks later, on Sept. 24, he gave $15,000 to Education Voters of Idaho, a group that sought to keep its contributors secret but was forced by a judge Wednesday to reveal financiers, including Hagadone/AP via Eye on Boise. More here. (SR file photo)


Marc: Corporations ARE Really People

While the nation holds its collective breath over the fate of Obamacare (hint, it’s going down) the conservative judicial activists on the U.S. Supreme Court have affirmed their original controversial decision that its just fine to have unlimited and often undisclosed corporate money flow into our political system. At issue in the case summarily disposed of Monday was a Montana Supreme Court decision that attempted to uphold the Treasure State’s 100-year plus ban on corporate money in state elections. The Court’s five man majority reversed the Montana court decision and reminded all of us of the essence of its earlier ruling in the now infamous Citizens United case.  “Political speech does not lose First Amendment protection simply because its source is a corporation,” the majority said in an unsigned, one-page ruling/Marc Johnson, The Johnson Report. More here.

Question: Do you think corporations are people (or just Soylent Green)?

Otter Raises $125K, Pays Self Back

Gov. Butch Otter has accelerated his campaign fundraising and used $50,000 of the cash to pay down $206,000 in loans he made to his 2010 re-election effort. Otter, who said at a December fundraiser that he will seek a third term in 2014, garnered about 70 percent of the money from corporate contributors who do business with the state or lobby state officials. Otter filed his Sunshine Report for July to December shortly before 5 p.m. Tuesday. Otter raised $124,941, well above his pace in the first six months of 2011, when he raised $48,103. His campaign still owes the governor $156,000 and has $56,177 in cash. That's up from a cash balance of $10,044 in June/Dan Popkey, Idaho Statesman. More here.

Question: What do you think? Did Otter announce he'll run again in two years to raise campaign cash to pay himself back? Or is he really going to run in two years?

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PACs, Business Fund Idaho Warchests

The Idaho AARP has issued a new report on campaign contributions in Idaho, concluding that corporations, businesses and PACS spent $2.7 million on Idaho's winning 2010 campaigns for governor, lieutenant governor and state Legislature; that 35 percent of those contributions came from outside Idaho; and that 34 legislators received 90 percent or more of their campaign contributions from those groups - including seven for whom it was 100 percent. The report also showed that nearly 90 percent of lawmakers got the majority of their campaign funds from corporations, businesses and PACs/Betsy Russell, Eye On Boise. And: George Prentice/Boise Weekly here. And: Dan Popkey's Idaho Statesman story here.

Question: What do you make of this AARP study that shows outside PACs & corporate interests provide majority of funding for many Idaho politicians?

EOB: No fine for Hart on PAC campaign filing irregularities

The Idaho Secretary of State’s office says Rep. Phil Hart, R-Athol, has supplied the missing information from his campaign finance filings for a PAC he formed this year called “North Idahoans for Liberty,” and it’s closed the case without fining Hart. “Our main goal is disclosure, and we’ve been working with him to get it,” said Tim Hurst, chief deputy secretary of state. “We use a penalty as more of a last resort than the first attention-getting device.” More here at Eye on Boise

Minnick Attracts More Out-of-State $$$

According to, a website dedicated tracking dollars and donation for federal elections, Democrat Walt Minnick is relying more heavily on campaign funding from outside the state of Idaho than is his challenger, Republican Raul Labrador.  The website does note, however, that Minnick’s out-of-state advantage is likely due to his status as an incumbent, which allows him to mingle in wider circles than lesser-known challengers.  The website says that 54 percent of his campaign dollars taken in this election cycle are from out of state, while Labrador has only 24 percent of his money coming from outside the borders of Idaho/Dustin Hurst, Idaho Reporter. More here.

Question: How much do you really think it matters to the average voter re: how much campaign money a candidate gets from out of state?

Brannon May Not Disclose Donations

RE: GOP mulls $2500 Brannon donation

A new, sticky question could emerge Jan. 30, 2011, if seat 2 challenger Jim Brannon doesn’t disclose the financial contributions he’s rounded up since the election went from the campaign trail to the courtroom. Brannon, challenging his five-vote loss to City Council incumbent Mike Kennedy, dodged answering questions about whether he intends to file that annual report or not last night before the Kootenai County Republican Party’s central committee meeting. “One never knows,” he said when asked. Brannon went on to say he didn’t think he had to disclose the sunshine report that tracks all the donors who’ve contributed $100 to $1,000 to his campaign because the money’s no longer going toward an election but rather to a court battle, so the sunshine laws don’t apply/Tom Hasslinger, Coeur d’Alene Press. More here.

Question: Do you think Brannon has to disclose the names of individuals who have contributed $100 to $1000 to his legal defense?

Anti-Bradbury Group Hit w/Record Fine

Item: Idaho group receives highest-ever fine for campaign finance disclosure violation/Katy Moeller, Idaho Statesman

More Info: Two eastern Idaho groups who opposed the election of Idaho Supreme Court candidate John Bradbury and put out last-minute newspaper ads and mailers blasting the judge have been fined for failure to meet campaign finance disclosure requirements. One received a $1,300 fine, the largest fine ever imposed in Idaho for violation of so-called Sunshine Laws, which aim to shed light on where candidates are receiving their financial backing. The maximum fine is $2,500.

Question: Do you think a $1300 fine — or lesser ones — is a deterrent to a group that wants to circulate a last-minute attack ad or mailing against a candidate? Should the fines be increased?

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About this blog

D.F. Oliveria is a columnist and blogger for The Spokesman-Review. Print Huckleberries is a past winner of the Herb Caen Memorial Column contest by the National Association of Newspaper Columnists. The Readership Institute of Northwestern University cited this blog as a good example of online community journalism.

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