November 4, 2009 in Idaho

Idaho state legislator says he made spending ‘boo-boo’

By The Spokesman-Review

BOISE – Idaho state Sen. Mike Jorgenson, R-Hayden Lake, says he “made a boo-boo” when he violated state campaign finance laws by spending more than $1,090 to run an ad in the Coeur d’Alene Press on Saturday favoring Coeur d’Alene City Council challenger Jim Brannon.

If the expenditure was a contribution to Brannon, it exceeded the $1,000 limit on such contributions; if it was an independent expenditure, Jorgenson needed to file a disclosure form within 48 hours.

On Tuesday, Jorgenson tried twice to fax the form to Coeur d’Alene City Clerk Susan Weathers, but her fax malfunctioned and she didn’t receive it.

“What we agreed is he’s just going to hand-carry it to me tomorrow,” Weathers said Tuesday afternoon. “He’s trying to rectify the situation. … As long as people are willing to come in and try to comply with the law, I give them the benefit of the doubt.”

City attorney Mike Gridley said the ad could be considered an independent expenditure only if Jorgenson didn’t consult with the campaign about it. Jorgenson said that he got a list from the campaign of about 50 supporters to include in the ad but that the information was available to anyone and took only a phone call to obtain.

“If I was trying to be secretive about it, I wouldn’t have put my name on the ad, the name of my business,” said Jorgenson, a third-term state senator. “So if I made a boo-boo, it was inadvertent.”

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