Does this seem ethical to you?

edbd1a09-f86e-4264-a63c-5a9e5febb565Is it legal for the Speaker of the Idaho House to push a bill through the State Legislature on behalf of a development company only after that company fires a political opponent and hires a political ally?

The answer is yes.

Is it ethical?  You be the judge.

Back in 2007, a California development company pushed for a bill that would allow it to pay for an interchange on I-90 with the sales tax collected at a yet-to-be-built Cabela’s store located next to the interchange.

The bill appeared to be going nowhere. Then the company asked Speaker of the House Lawerence Denney for advice. Soon after, the company fired its lobbyist, a established moderate Republican who opposed Denney’s run for speaker, and hired Julie Ellsworth, a Denney supporter and former House member who lost her seat four months earlier.

After that, the bill sailed through the legislature.

The appearance of impropriety prompted calls for a “cooling off” period, a mandatory two-year break between legislating and lobbying.

Denney would have none of it. “I have no desire to dictate who can and cannot get a job working as a lobbyist,” he opined.

Days later, Denney changed his mind, announcing that he would co-sponsor a “cooling off” bill. He did so tepidly. ‘‘I’m still not sure it’s necessary, but in this business, perception is reality,’’ he said. 

Unfortunately, the bill came too late in the session. It died in committee without a hearing.

The next year, a similar bill was referred to committee at the beginning of the session where it sat for months before dying without a hearing.

Give Denney credit. He’s right. Perception is reality in the business of government. Idaho’s Secretary of State’s office has a long tradition of honesty and impartiality. The Gem State doesn’t need that tarnished with cronyism and malfeasance.

Idaho needs somebody with the reputation of fairness and honesty.

Idaho needs Holli Woodings for Secretary of State.

Idaho Freedom Foundation Director Wayne Hoffman: Electing A.J. Balukoff over Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter makes sense from a conservative’s perspective

As Idaho Freedom Foundation Director Wayne Hoffman sees it, electing Balukoff over Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter makes sense from a conservative’s perspective. It may be one way to put the Republican Party on track.

For instance, Hoffman says, if a Gov. Balukoff were to push for Medicaid expansion, it would be dead on arrival in a Republican-dominated Legislature. If Otter were to propose Medicaid expansion, lawmakers would look more closely at the potential cost savings for counties. A Balukoff administration that proposes repeal of sales-tax exemptions likely would go nowhere in the Legislature. If Otter proposed the same thing, legislators could view it as a sound way to raise needed revenue. …

“Butch is vulnerable,” Hoffman said. “He won against a no-name and under-funded candidate with slightly more than 50 percent of the vote. You have to think that’s problematic.”

Here’s a photo of Sen. Curt McKenzie playing chess on his smartphone during consideration of his guns on campus bill, SB 1254

“Sen. Curt McKenzie, who wants to let young people with a total of 8 hours of training carry concealed weapons on Idaho campuses–despite the objections of law enforcement, college presidents, faculty, and students–is apparently so uninterested in anyone’s opinion about his bill that he played chess on his phone during public testimony. Really?” – from a friend’s Facebook page.



Former Crapo aide wishes he could undo ‘serious errors’

EXCERPT: (Jake) Ball, who resigned Thursday as U.S. Rep. Raul Labrador’s district director, gave the money on Sept. 22, 2008, to his friend Gavin McCaleb. He signed a promissory note for his investment company, called Blueberry Guru, to repay the loan with an 8 percent annual interest rate. Instead, the money disappeared.

“Mr. McCaleb invested the money in a less than professional manner and, without knowing it, in fraudulent enterprises with persons who absconded with the funds,” Ball said in the affidavit from March 13.

In 2008, when Crapo’s campaign was between treasurers, Ball had authority to withdraw money and make investments with his signature alone. … Campaign finance ethics experts say giving such power to a single individual isn’t typical.

“It certainly does not reflect best practices,” said Paul S. Ryan, senior counsel for the nonpartisan Campaign Legal Center in Washington, D.C. Many campaigns invest donor money, Ryan said, but “typically safe investments are chosen,” not speculative ventures in Las Vegas at a time when the global economy was in unprecedented turmoil and property foreclosures were escalating to record levels.

Republicans are only pretending to care about Benghazi because they need something to attack Hillary Clinton with in 2016

I’ll make this simple.  If you voted for a man who sent over 5,000 Americans to their deaths in Iraq and Afghanistan (that’s not even counting the thousands who are permanently disabled or the tens of thousands of dead Iraqi and Afghan civilians), then was President during 11 different terrorist attacks on American embassies, stop pretending to be “outraged” over 4 American deaths in Libya.


The Senate’s Most Conservative Member: Ever Heard of Him?

jimrischJames Risch, an Idaho Republican, edges out his more well-known colleagues in the upper chamber.

When people think about conservative “all stars” in the Senate (if people ever actually think about such a thing), a few names probably come to mind. There’s Jim DeMint of South Carolina, who before leaving the Senate to run the Heritage Foundation—a conservative Think Tank—was the godfather of the tea party in the upper chamber. …

… All of these guys rank on National Journal’s most conservative list, but none of them hold the top spot. That honor goes to James Risch of Idaho, a senator so obscure that he might as well be dubbed the Ann Veal of the Senate.

Read the full story here from National Journal.

Eliminate Public Safety in Idaho!

Who said that you are entitled to it?

The constitution (granted, I never dun read it but a friend at the bar told me) merely says something about ensuring the general welfare.

It doesn’t say that the government will stop somebody from robbing your house.

Think about it: for hundreds (or at least maybe dozens) of years Idaho survived the good old fashioned way. If somebody started trouble on your farm, grandma went out with the shotgun and pumped some lead in him.

So why do ya’ll expect us to fund an Idaho State Police Department?


The quote of the week once again goes to Rep. Brian Cronin:

Idaho has the same number of state troopers today (2011) as we did in 1977 (when we had almost half the population). Bloated government, indeed. Public safety? Just another entitlement program.

And see: Time to stop beggaring the state police from the Times News in Twin Falls.

But Don’t Republicans Love “Responsibility?”

Someone needs to ask Wayne Hoffman!

According to KBOI:

It’s 80 pages of purported waste and ineffectual government spending.

It’s called the 2011 Idaho Report on Government Waste and it’s put out by the Idaho Freedom Foundation, a nonprofit governmental watchdog group. Inside the huge report is page after page of citations, research and advice from experts who say various programs in Idaho’s schools, pension programs and urban renewal plans are ineffectual across the state.

Wayne Hoffman is Executive Director of the group.

“I still read it and I get angry,” Hoffman said. “I’m sitting here looking at all these expenses tax payers are putting their money into and I’m saying why? Why are we doing this and what can we do?”

The following response wins the award for Quote of the Week:

(Butch Otter’s) State of the State address lacked vision, substantive ideas, and a plan for the future. Here’s what puzzles me: Republicans have controlled the Statehouse with large majorities for 16 years. How is that government became so “bloated” on their watch? (emphasis added). And regarding the “proper role of govt.,” since when is educating kids, ensuring the public’s safety, and protecting our most vulnerable citizens improper?

– Brian Cronin, Idaho House of Representatives, Boise District 19B.

Who has been sailing Idaho’s spending ship?

Melaleuca attack ad targets Olson

According to Betsy Russell, Melaleuca … has launched a TV ad in southern Idaho that belittles Luna’s Democratic challenger, Stan Olson, with a digitally altered clip from an Idaho Public Television debate in which Olson said he’s always struggled with math.

Melaleuca sought permission from IPTV to use the copyright material a week in advance, and was specifically and firmly denied. Frank VanderSloot, Melaleuca chief, said he decided to go ahead with the ad anyway, and has hired copyright attorneys to battle over the issue with the state.

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Hostility to minorities is held by the far right majority of the Republican Party

No matter the group, one can almost feel the seething disgust the GOP has for people they don’t like.

Simply put, there is one party that welcomes people of all colors and faiths, and there is one that does not.

– brooklynbadboy.


Harry Reid really touched a nerve when he said: “I don’t know how anyone of Latino heritage could be a Republican, OK?” … “Do I need to say more?”

Out of necessity, 1st Congressional District Republican candidate Raul Labrador, who was born in Puerto Rico, weighed in:

“Harry Reid’s latest race-baited words are simply unacceptable to all members of the Hispanic community and I fully expect his party and Walt Minnick to condemn these terrible comments immediately.” he said

Calling Reid’s comments “ill-tempered,” and “ignorant,” Labrador, issued the following statement:

I cannot believe an elected leader of Harry Reid’s stature can continue to make racist comments about huge numbers of Americans. Harry Reid’s latest race-baited comments are simply unacceptable to all members of the Hispanic community. Denigrating the entire Republican Hispanic community, including myself, is simply outrageous. Contrary to Senator Reid’s beliefs, the Latino community is perfectly capable of making choices of political affiliation that are in its best interests, including being Republicans.

“Statements such as these prove the message of the Democrat Party as one of inclusiveness and tolerance is nothing more than cynical political posturing,” Labrador added. “I expect the Democrat (sic) Party that continues to keep Reid in a position of Leadership to denounce his statements and I fully expect my opponent Walt Minnick to condemn these terrible comments immediately.”

On Daily Kos, Brooklynbadboy felt differently:

This blunt language encapsulated the basic argument the entire Democratic Party has to make to Latino people: hostility to minorities is held by the far right majority of the Republican Party. No matter the group, one can almost feel the seething disgust the GOP has for people they don’t like. This is obvious to people who can see it and are honest about it, including plenty of people in the Republican Party who are genuinely disgusted by racism. But those folks are increasingly being forced out of the party as it turns its moral center away from big business and Christian evangelicals in favor of white supremacists and extremists.

He continued:

Harry Reid may have been speaking something that usually lingers just below the surface of political debate in this country. Simply put, there is one party that welcomes people of all colors and faiths, and there is one that does not. Therefore, it is a rather curious thing to find people of color becoming leaders of a party that is openly hostile to people of color. Despite the hostility, the GOP does produce them. Michael Steele, Bobby Jindal and Marco Rubio come to mind. There is a strand of the GOP that puts ideology before all, even if the results of that ideology have negative effects on minorities. Still, it isn’t difficult to join Harry Reid in asking why anyone of color would want to join the Republican Party.

The majority of the GOP is openly hostile to Latinos. The Arizona racial profiling law they passed is good proof. The reason for this hostility has many different causes. But regardless of motive, it is clear that when Republicans talk about border fences, troops on the border, crime on the border, securing the border, you name it on the border…they mean Latinos.