The North Idaho businesswoman hoping to pressure Congress into adopting a constitutional term limits amendment spent a record $81,000 through her campaign committee to collect the signatures needed to put the issue before voters this fall.
And the campaign she maintains is carrying out the will of Idaho voters was overwhelmingly underwritten by out-of-state interests, according to campaign finance disclosure statements filed Wednesday with the secretary of state’s office.
Donna Weaver and her Citizens for Federal Term Limits Idaho Campaign reported raising a total of $85,000 through the end of June when the petitions were filed. Of that, $58,000 came from non-Idaho interests, many of them term limits organizations in other states. Utah, Arizona and Colorado were among the states.
Another $25,000 was given to the campaign by Weaver herself, and she also loaned the effort $23,000 more although she has recovered all but $10,000 of that amount.
The signature-gathering expenditure exceeds the old record by more than $4,000. It was set by the original campaign to impose term imits on school boards and city councils, county and state offices and members of Congress. Beau Parent of Idahoans for Term Limits spent nearly $77,000 to get the signatures to put that proposal on the 1994 ballot. It was the first time any campaign has bypassed grassroots petition circulation by Idaho supporters for professional signature gathers. Less than $10,000 of that money came from out-of-state interests as well.
The new initiative requiring the ballot to show whether candidates have done everything possible to secure a federal constitutional amendment for congressional term limits is intended to overturn a Supreme Court ruling earlier this year that voided state-imposed limits on members of Congress.
Nearly $62,000 of the petition-gathering expense was paid to Kennedy Enterprises of Colorado Springs, Colo., to direct the petition drive. Over $17,000 of the rest was paid to Evalena Herrian of Post Falls.
The total was nearly twice what was spent by advocates of any other initiatives to gain ballot status this year.
Attorney General Alan Lance has already said he believes the initiative is unconstitutional because it requires the state, through the ballot, to essentially endorse candidates supporting congressional term limits and single out those who do not.
And many term limit advocates have come out in opposition as well because one of the requirements for legislative candidates to win a term limits supporter ballot designation is support for a constitutional convention to add a congressional term limits amendment.
Critics fear that a constitutional convention could result in dramatic changes to longstanding constitutional rights, particularly the second amendment right that gun advocates say guarantees their right to bear arms.
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