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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Eye On Boise

IACI on Minnick: ‘Idaho is well-represented’

IACI, the big business lobby (Idaho Association of Commerce and Industry), is holding its annual conference today in McCall, and the group announced that its three-day gathering, which started yesterday, was kicked off by Idaho Congressman Walt Minnick, who joined IACI Chairman Trent Clark. "We sincerely appreciate Rep. Minnick's willingness to be part of our annual meeting with the membership," said IACI President Alex LaBeau. "His office has been very responsive to employers and employees throughout the state. Idaho is well represented."

Also scheduled to speak today are Gov. Butch Otter, who speaks at noon; and Lt. Gov. Brad Little, who spoke at breakfast. What's interesting about the group's kind words for Minnick, a Democrat: IACI has been spending big bucks to boost the campaigns of incumbent Republicans, especially Otter. Through its "Idaho Prosperity Fund," formerly the Idaho Business PAC, IACI had collected $118,526 in contributions as of a week before the primary, and spent a chunk of that on an attack website targeting Otter's Democratic challenger, Keith Allred. The group also reported spending $6,000 shortly before the primary to promote the re-election of Supreme Court Justice Roger Burdick, and $8,000 on independent campaign expenditures for Sen. Russ Fulcher, R-Meridian, the Senate GOP caucus chairman.

Among those donating to the fund: Micron Technology gave $23,500; Melaleuca Inc. gave $13,500; J.R. Simplot Co. gave $23,500; Idaho Association of Realtors gave $23,500; and Idaho Power Co. gave $23,500. IACI spent most of that money to hire a Florida firm, Orra SGS, which it also hired for both the Burdick and Fulcher pushes.   
Here's what Minnick had to say in today's IACI press release: "I very much appreciate the opportunity to meet with Idaho business leaders at the annual IACI conference. As a businessman myself, I know that getting our economy back on track requires an environment where companies and their employees can innovate, grow and succeed. I know we can get there by continuing to work together on a shared vision for a prosperous Idaho." IACI said there also are 45 invited state legislators from throughout the state attending its McCall conference (at IACI's expense), which includes policy discussions, member-hosted dinners, and tomorrow, a golf tournament.

Betsy Z. Russell
Betsy Z. Russell joined The Spokesman-Review in 1991. She currently is a reporter in the Boise Bureau covering Idaho state government and politics, and other news from Idaho's state capital.

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