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.

Congressman Labrador Calls for Saeed Abedini to Be Freed

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Idaho First District Congressman Raúl Labrador, along with 45 of his House colleagues, recently introduced a bipartisan House resolution (H.Res. 147) calling for the release of Boise Pastor Saeed Abedini from an Iranian prison. The Congressman released the following statement:

“Iran’s decision to sentence Pastor Saeed Abedini to eight years in prison for simply practicing his faith is a flagrant violation of fundamental human rights. The United States must dedicate the necessary resources to secure the release and freedom of this American citizen. My prayers continue to be with Pastor Abedini and his family in this difficult time.”

Pastor Abedini visited Iran last year to continue his work on an orphanage he started. While visiting, he was arrested and imprisoned for his previous work on starting Christian churches in Iran. He was sentenced to eight years in Evin Prison earlier this year.

Last month, Congressman Labrador and four House colleagues sent a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry urging the State Department to act on behalf of Pastor Abedini by calling for his immediate and unconditional release. Read the letter online here.