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Eye On Boise

Complaint targets Ahlquist campaign, but Secty of State’s office says there’s no violation

Taso Kinnas, former treasurer for the Idahoans for Liberty PAC, has filed a complaint with the Idaho Secretary of State’s office about campaign filings by GOP gubernatorial candidate Tommy Ahlquist, but the office says it looked at the issue long ago and concluded Ahlquist did nothing wrong.

Kinnas contends that when Ahlquist contributed $40,527 to his own campaign on Feb. 6, and then paid the same amount to a media company in Virginia on the same day, he committed the same offense that eastern Idaho activists Doyle Beck and Chick Heileson did in 2014, for which they each paid a $250 civil fine to settle misdemeanor charges. However, that case involved the two concealing the source of a $12,000 campaign contribution to the “Integrity in Government” PAC in 2014, which was made in Heileson’s name without revealing that much of the money actually came from Beck.

Tim Hurst, chief deputy secretary of state, said of the Ahlquist filings, “There’s different circumstances with that one, and some miscommunication with our office.” He said he and Secretary of State Lawerence Denney “looked at that a long time ago.”

Ahlquist actually had contacted the Secretary of State’s office prior to donating the money to his campaign, Hurst said. “He was told he didn’t need to file a C-1 because he was using his own money, by one of the ladies in the office. So he didn’t,” Hurst said. “And then when we found out he was actually doing something, we called him, and he filed it immediately, the same day.”

Ahlquist filed his C-1 form, declaring his campaign treasurer and clearing the way for campaign fundraising, on Feb. 28; he was the second candidate to file that paperwork in the 2018 race for governor. Lt. Gov. Brad Little filed his on June 29, 2016.

Asked if candidates are required to file a C-1 before spending their own personal funds on a campaign, Hurst said, “It’s not crystal clear,” though he said he believes they are.

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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