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Groups fined over ads against judge

BOISE – Idaho Secretary of State Ben Ysursa has announced fines against two groups that launched last-minute campaign attacks against an Idaho Supreme Court candidate without following the disclosure requirements of the state’s Sunshine Law.

Idaho Citizens for Justice is being fined $1,300, and Citizens for Commonsense Solutions is being fined $600. The latter group provided half the funding for the former, which paid for nearly $40,000 in ads and fliers attacking Judge John Bradbury and touting sitting Justice Roger Burdick. Burdick, who was running against Bradbury, won last week’s election.

Once the two groups were contacted by the state the day before the May 25 election and belatedly filed the required disclosures, it emerged that the funding for both came from Melaleuca Inc., a personal-care products firm in eastern Idaho headed by conservative activist Frank VanderSloot.

The fines are for failure to file timely notice of the formation of the groups and of the last-minute independent campaign expenditures before the election, Ysursa said. “Timely pre-election disclosure is the key to the Sunshine Law, and without it, it cuts to the quick,” he said.

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