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Posts tagged: Education Voters of Idaho

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)


Vestal: Judge Defends Transparency

It’s too bad that the time most ripe for optimism and enthusiasm regarding democracy and citizenship – elections – is so persistently darkened by cynicism. 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. It’s not because he ordered a stubbornly resistant political committee to reveal its donors, as required by Idaho law. In doing that, Wetherell was interpreting the law. But in the way he did it – in his clear, cogent defense of the rights of citizens – Wetherell produced an eloquent reminder that there is reason to be more than merely cynical about elections/Shawn Vestal, SR. More here.

Question: How about joining me in giving 3 cheers for Judge Wetherell?

Judge: Pull Back Secrecy Curtain

With just a week to go in Idaho’s most dramatic campaign of 2012, 4th District Judge Mike Wetherell moved to end the mystery surrounding a new interest group that wants to keep its donor list secret. Education Voters of Idaho fought to suppress who gave $200,350 spent to convince voters to approve Superintendent Tom Luna’s education reforms in Propositions 1, 2 and 3 on Tuesday’s ballot. Though he wouldn’t fit in anyone’s bicycle basket, Secretary of State Ben Ysursa is playing Toto, grabbing the screen shrouding the donors and yanking. Wetherell granted Ysursa’s motion for disclosure less than three hours after hearing oral arguments Monday. “Voters are entitled to know who is standing behind the curtain,” Wetherell wrote/Dan Popkey, Idaho Statesman. More here.

Question: Has the attempt by Education Voters of Idaho to keep contributors secret hurt its cause?

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Judge To EVI: Cough Up The Names

A secretive group that underwrote more than $200,000 in TV campaign commercials in favor of three Idaho school reform ballot measures must disclose its donors by Wednesday, a 4th District judge ruled this afternoon. Judge Mike Wetherell (pictured) ordered Education Voters of Idaho to disclose its donors by 3 p.m. this Wednesday, Halloween. The group must “file all required further reports when required or face sanctions,” the judge wrote. Wrote Wetherell, “A failure by the Defendants to follow the requirements of the Sunshine Initiative is in violation of the rights of Idaho citizens as provided by law, and a failure to grant injunctive relief at this time would permit the law to be violated with impunity and would result in irreparable harm to the voters of Idaho whose rights under the Sunshine Initiative the Secretary of State is charged with protecting.” You can read his 19-page decision here/Betsy Russell, Eye on Boise. More here.


Vestal: Citizens United Infects Idaho

Are corporations people, my friends? The battle over campaign disclosure in Idaho’s education-reform campaign is the latest skunky fruit of Citizens United. The organizers of a nonprofit corporation that raised and spent some $200,000 on TV ads are refusing to turn over the names of donors. Idaho’s secretary of state, Ben Ysursa, is suing them for violating Idaho’s campaign disclosure law. Such is the depth of the group’s desire not to disclose that they offered to give back the donations rather than reveal the donors. Ysursa, God bless him, said no. The group, Education Voters of Idaho, is making a constitutional argument: “Social Welfare Organizations, such as EVI, have fundamental Constitutional rights that must be respected by all government agencies, including your office,” the group’s attorney, Christ Troupis, wrote to Ysursa/Shawn Vestal, SR. More here.


Popkey: Don’t Mess With ‘Big Ben’

At the Idaho Statesman, Dan Popkey writes about Secretary of State Ben Ysursa's attempt to protect Idaho's sunshine law by seeking disclosure of financial donors to Luna Law propositions:

On top of ignoring popular will, EVI, led by Gov. Butch Otter’s two-time campaign manager, Debbie Field, is attacking Ysursa, Idaho’s top vote-getter. In 2002 and 2010, Ysursa outpolled every other contested candidate, averaging 76 percent of the vote in those two contests. In 2006, he was unopposed. In what appears a desperate attempt to keep secret embarrassing information about the contributions, Field is linking Ysursa, a lifelong Republican, with teachers unions the campaign calls “thugs.” “Although efforts by the Secretary of State, the union and its allies have temporarily chilled our ability to fulfill our mission, we won’t back down,” wrote Field and EVI spokesman John Foster in an op-ed Monday. More here.

Question: Do you want to know who's funding the pro-Luna Law side?

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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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