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Eye On Boise

No fine for Hart on PAC filing discrepancy

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."

Hart's write-in challenger, Hayden businessman Howard Griffiths, filed a complaint earlier this month over the ongoing discrepancies in the report, which was due two and a half months ago; he questioned how the PAC could have spent more than it raised. Griffiths said Thursday that he was surprised at the outcome. "I don't know why it takes this long to find something like this," he said. "There's definitely some arrogance there, I guess."

Hart, who didn't return a reporter's calls for comment, put on a "fundraising event" for the PAC, a dinner in May at the Coeur d'Alene Resort featuring Dick Heller, the plaintiff in a landmark court case over gun rights in the District of Columbia. He charged $50 per person and also held a fundraising auction. According to the amended report, the PAC actually raised more than $7,500, but spent all but $237 of that. The list of cash donors swelled from just six to 20; you can read my full story here at

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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