Those “Safe Idaho Citizens” dropped yet another bombshell today on the Dynamis-Ada trash to energy project, claiming the Ada Commishes ponied up $71,000 in public money for a lobbyist on behalf Dynamis.
They have provided public records documents obtained from Ada County to back up their claim that former Dirk Kempthorn aide and Tamarack promoter Scott Turnlington was paid the public money to lobby for Dynamis to influence elected officials.
As this scandal has evolved, officials at Ada have clammed up, refused to answer media inquiries–including those of the Statesman and the GUARDIAN–and even falsely claimed a letter from the county engineer seeking additional technical review was a “personnel matter.”
The GUARDIAN is providing the links to their site as a public service. The group is well organized and single minded in its opposition to the trash to energy project. We have talked to members who appear to be well informed and intelligent, thus a potent force in community activism. It was mainly through their efforts that a formal investigation has finally been launched AFTER being handed off five times by officials claiming “conflicts of interest.” Even so, the Ada Sheriff and Ada Prosecutor hired the single investigator.
CHANGE IN IDAHO CODE NEEDED
There has been a deteriorating confidence in local government, due in part to the lack of oversight by a higher authority such as the state government. Under current Idaho law, the local Prosecuting Attorney has the sole authority to investigate and prosecute violations of state law in the county. In essence the locals can do as they please.
A local prosecutor holds more authority than the Attorney General and if the prosecutor is crooked or inept, there is no recourse for decent citizens, short of a federal case which is very difficult to obtain. Only the local prosecutor OR the board of county commissioners can ask the court to appoint a “special prosecutor.”
The GUARDIAN thinks we need legislation to give the Idaho Attorney General CONCURRENT JURISDICTION with local prosecutors to prosecute violations of Idaho code throughout the state. That way, when the local prosecutor refuses to act or is crooked, the AG can step in on behalf the honest decent citizens. This would be no different than the current law giving Idaho State Police concurrent jurisdiction with county sheriffs. The Sheriff is the top copper of the county, but he can’t keep ISP out.
Hopefully there will be some discussion at the next legislative session, but the AG will obviously need more investigators and lawyers–and the money to pay them.
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