Ysursa rejects Idaho group's secrecy gambit, plans to sue for disclosure today

Secretary of State Ben Ysursa plans to go to 4th District Court Monday afternoon and ask a judge to order Education Voters of Idaho (EVI) to disclose where it got at least $200,000 for advertising to support Propositions 1, 2 and 3. Ysursa has said failure to disclose before the Nov. 6 election would "eviscerate" Idaho's Sunshine law.

In a letter Monday, Ysursa's lawyer, deputy attorney general Mike Gilmore, replies to a Friday letter from EVI lawyer Christ Troupis, who argues the group's federal tax status and the First Amendment trump Idaho's Sunshine law, which requires disclosure of annual contributions over $50 by individuals and corporations.

"The positions set forth in your letter of Oct. 19, 2012, are not acceptable," Gilmore writes.

Chief Deputy Secretary of State Tim Hurst said a draft complaint has been prepared against EVI. "We're meeting this afternoon to finalize the complaint. Ben's plan is to file it today."

EVI formed in August, raised $200,000 by Sept. 30 and shifted the money to its affiliate, Parents for Education Reform, which spent the money on broadcast ads.

Gilmore also wrote the Idaho Education Association, National Education Association and League of Conservation Voters today. Troupis' letter said the two teacher unions should face the same scrutiny and Gilmore agrees, writing, "That is why similar demands are also being directed to them."

Gilmore's letters to the three groups said, "...(T)he Secretary of State's Office has come to the conclusion that organizations that 'bundle' donations for contributions to other political committees are themselves political committees," Gilmore wrote. He adds that "recent inquiries" have brought the practice "to the forefront" and that the groups must file finance reports and asks that they do so promptly.

The "no" on Props 1, 2 & 3 campaign reported receiving $280,000 from IEA and about $1.06 million from NEA. The Washington, D.C.-based LCV gave $15,000 to Conservation Voters of Idaho.

Said IEA Executive Director Robin Nettinga: "The $280,000 came from the IEA’s general treasury, which consists of the dues paid by our members. These dues payments are not contributions' from our members to IEA for purposes of reporting under the Sunshine Law because they are not made for the purpose of supporting opposing ballot measures or candidates."

Meanwhile, EVI has reversed itself and says is will revive its efforts in the campaign's final two weeks, despite Troupis' writing Friday that the group had "ceased it's lawful participation in constitutionally-protected political activity" based on Ysursa's threat to sue.

In an op-ed and news release Monday
, EVI's Debbie Field and John Foster write that the group will "undertake a new effort to talk to voters about education reform."

"Although efforts by the Secretary of State, the union and its allies have temporarily chilled our ability to fulfill our mission, we won't back down," write Field and Foster. Field is Gov. Butch Otter's two-time campaign manager; Foster is a lobbyist and former aide to former Democratic Congressman Walt Minnick.

You can follow Idaho Statesman Politics on Twitter.

now who is hiding?

Taxpayers have the right to see who is paying for election activity...don't like it..go home. Afraid we are going to find a wealthy out of state corporation trying to buy our education system?

Go Big Ben!

The organization is a scam. It is nothig more than a PAC and should report like every other PAC in this state. If this group is allowed to get away with this money laundering scheme, it will set a horrible precedent for campaign transparency.

For those who think this is a good idea now, don't come back whining in future elections when secret money is used against you.

Finally, my tax dollars being used to enforce the law

when it comes to all the politicking. Thanks Mr. Ysura! Hats off to you sir.

integrity

Ben Y. has integrity which seems to be something many with an R behind their name are missing.

Don't kid yourself.

It comes from both sides. Good to see Ben Y take a stand.

The IEA is trying to hid as well...

And of course the liberals are fine with this.

The IEA and NEA are both scams, and people seem fine with these scams. Wow!

It helps to read the article before projecting

The IEA and NEA have hidden nothing. The money they've given has come from teacher dues. There is nothing scandalous about that.

Brainwashing has come far since the Korean Conflict, yes, I see.

So we have all the junior McCarthys longing to become raisins in the sun.

----------

Celebrating five years and one screen ID >|<

IEA not established for this election

Like them or not, the IEA has been around for a long time and do more than just campaign against Prop 1,2,3. You might not like what their organization does, but they are a membership organization with a number of programs that have been established long before the Luna Laws. You know who the players are and what their agenda is. We know their money comes from membership dues, which means they come from teachers and school employees. They also have a PAC that reports all contributors.

The organization in question has no other purpose other than to promote the Luna laws during this election. We don't know who they are, what their motivation is and where the money is coming from. Jon Foster and company are trying to hide campaign funding in a faux organization. If they get away with this, it will have a very negative impact on future elections in this state. These guys need to admit they are a PAC and play by the same rules every other PAC does.

If this organization happens to be funding partly or in whole by companies who have a financial interest in Prop 1,2,3 , you don't think this should be transparent?

resume

What else does the IEA do with due money?
In your opinion that is...

The IEA has reported

The IEA has reported everything they thought they had to and if Mr. Ysursa wants them to report more they will. Those of us who have donated to the No campaign are proud of out stand and are happy to have our names out there. My guess is the other side is withholding the names of their donors because they are all out of state online education firms.

My goodness, pendleton, how

My goodness, pendleton, how do you know for a fact the IEA has reported everything? Are you doing the reporting for the IEA? The IEA's position is just as self-serving as everyone else's position. Tainted!

Tainted Love, Love Tanted.

----------

Celebrating five years and one screen ID >|<

Trying to bully Ben

didn't work so well, did it Troupis. I'm waiting for the IRS to call you on the carpet also.

Zen is Ben

----------

Celebrating five years and one screen ID >|<

Nice Ben!

No matter what side of this you're on- you have to admit Ben is the man. I'd vote for gubenatorial candidate that's proven they have integrety and support the rule of law. wink-wink, nudge-nudge, Ben.

Agreed!

I'm mostly a Dem but you're right, Ben is the man. As far as voting for him as gov, I'd have to learn a lot more about him but his action on this issue is a pretty darn good first impression. Refreshing. Tip o' the hat to the Sec of State.

Foster and Fields question Ben Ysursa’s integrity. Bad form.

Mr. Ysursa, keep up the good work. Another commenter described Mr. Ysursa as “Old Idaho” capable, dedicated, honest. Reminiscent of Andrus, Batt, Park, Cenarrusa. I agree.

Do Foster and Fields, as fundraisers, administrators receive a percentage of the mysterious contributions as a commission or compensation?

Why did Nonini deep-six the Cronin legislation that would have created transparency, protected Idaho Citizens from bad actors in the troubled For-profit education industry. Why did my Party deep-six Ethics Legislation? How much money did For-profit education companies Apollo Group/University of Phoenix, K-12 Corporation, etc pay Idaho Legislators the past two sessions?

Parents, Teachers, Students, and yes, even the teachers Union earned our trust.
Lobbyists, Legislators, and the trouble For-profit education industry did not.

Abramoff: "Fire up the jet baby, we're going to El Paso!!" Mike Scanlon: "I want all their MONEY!!!" Email interchange between Jack Abramoff and Mike Scanlon, February 6, 2002

I know about props 1,2,3....but have not seen and info on

prop #4....

What say?