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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Eye On Boise

Link to Labrador campaign donations page removed from Idaho’s state website

An article on the website Daily Kos today charges that Idaho’s official state website is being improperly used to drum up donations to GOP Rep. Raul Labrador. The article notes that a list of links to news for various government officials, including Idaho’s congressional delegation, links to their official page of press releases – except for Labrador’s, which links to his campaign site. The page that pops up has a prominent red button saying, “DONATE TODAY.”

Jon Hanian, press secretary for Idaho Gov. Butch Otter, when informed of the link by a reporter this morning, said, “I would imagine it’s probably just a mistake,” but clicking on the link on his computer, he said, “That’s definitely a campaign site.” Hanian immediately contacted the state Department of Administration, and within less than half an hour, the link had been corrected; it now goes to Labrador’s press release site.

“We made a mistake,” said Bill Farnsworth, manager of the Access Idaho contract for the Department of Administration. “We have thousands and thousands of links, obviously, on the state home page.” The congressional delegation doesn’t send the links to the state for posting, he said; contractors search out the links. “Obviously it’s not the right one,” he said. “Obviously it shouldn’t be there. I’ve been going through the rest of the links out there, making sure they’re all the right links.”

Farnsworth initially estimated it’d take an hour to correct the link; just a few minutes later, he called back to say it’s been fixed. Farnsworth, who’s been managing the project since 1999, said he can’t remember a mistaken link to a campaign site before. “Normally what happens is we have broken links – one of the people changes their URL,” he said. “We have made a mistake, and I wish I could say that I’ll never make another mistake.” He encouraged anyone who sees a broken link or another problem on the state website to contact the department.

Farnsworth said he didn’t know how long the incorrect link was up on the state’s website; it appears to have been active for at least the past six months.

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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