Developer Exceeds Campaign Limits

Two Ada County Highway District Candidates and a State legislator are refunding political payments to a local developer after a GUARDIAN reader found the payments exceeded the legal limit.

Ada County Clerk Phil McGrane and the Secretary of State’s office have notified ACHD candidates Rebecca Arnold and Kara Veit and Cecil Grow that campaign contributions from assorted companies owned or controlled by developer James Conger exceeded the $1,000 legal limit.

The GUARDIAN resident volunteer research guru, Clancy Anderson, provided the info to McGrane who consulted with the Idaho Secretary of State about the assorted LLC companies listed as sources for money for the candidates.

The election officials agreed with Anderson and notified the candidates who said they were unaware for the violations and agreed to return the amounts exceeding the $1,000 limit.

In what is nothing unusual in Idaho politics, it is not really clear who is the violator. Is it the candidate who accepted the payments or the developer who made the payment? Also, it would appear nearly impossible for candidates to check the ownership and control for all the companies making political campaign contributions.

UPDATE: Since this story was posted, other violations have come to light and election officials will likely notify candidates to return funds to donors.

Here is the applicable Idaho Code:

(1) Except as provided in subsection (2) of this section, aggregate contributions for a primary election or a general election made by a corporation, political committee, other recognized legal entity or an individual shall be subject to the limitations of this subsection; provided, however, this subsection shall not apply to a candidate contributing or loaning money to his own campaign account.
(a) Aggregate contributions by a corporation, political committee, other recognized legal entity, or an individual to a candidate for the state legislature, judicial office, or local government office, and political committees organized on the candidate’s behalf, shall be limited to an amount not to exceed one thousand dollars ($1,000) for the primary election and an amount not to exceed one thousand dollars ($1,000) for the general election.

(6) For the purposes of contribution limits, the following apply:
a) A contribution by a political committee with funds that have all been contributed by one (1) person who exercises exclusive control over the distribution of the funds of the political committee is a contribution by the controlling person.
(b) All contributions made by a person or political committee whose contribution or expenditure activity is financed, maintained or controlled by a trade association, labor union or collective bargaining organization shall be considered a contribution from such trade association, labor union or collective bargaining organization.
(c) Two (2) or more entities are treated as a single entity if the entities:
(i) Share the majority of members on their board of directors;
(ii) Share two (2) or more officers;
(iii) Are owned or controlled by the same majority shareholder or shareholders or persons;
(iv) Are in a parent-subsidiary relationship; or
(v) Have bylaws so stating.

Comments & Discussion

Comments are closed for this post.

  1. Well done!

  2. WatchingBoiseExplode
    Oct 22, 2020, 6:06 pm

    You want Boise to be California? Keep voting for Rebecca Arnold and her minions

    More Traffic Jams and misery

  3. I’m shocked, shocked to find that gambling is going on in here! — Captain Renault, Casablanca

    Just saying, this really surprises anyone?

  4. Pretyy sure Conger knows better – but why not just try.

  5. ” who is the violator”?

    One can’t really expect a donor to know all the rules.

    One CAN expect a candidate’s Treasurer to know the rules. As they are required to do so to file the reports.

    One CAN expect a candidate to know who is giving them money and why- certainly for large amounts. I would expect a local candidate to know EVERY donor of a $1,000. right? how else are they going to reciprocate with favorable commission decisions.

    AND the 1 person here that is BOTH candidate and TREASURER for their campaign is Rebecca Arnold. An attorney. A former CPA. A long-time candidate. An incumbent. = GUILTY. NO EXCUSE for her not knowing. She knows the rules, she files the reports, she deposits the checks, she ‘should’ be sending TY notes, she likely did ‘the ask’.

    The AG should press charges against Arnold to make a statement- even for the measly $250 fine.

    And then in 2021 the legislature should clarify who is the violator in future instances.

  6. Rebecca Arnold
    Nov 1, 2020, 10:10 pm

    Easterner: There was no “ask” in this instance. The questioned contributions came to my campaign unsolicited from entities with whom I was not familiar. Ownership of privately held corporations and LLC’s is generally not public so it would be difficult for a candidate to determine whether entities fall under the statute(Phil McGrane at the elections office made that point). Immediately upon receiving a phone call from Phil McGrane on October 21, 2020 about 4:15pm, checks were written to refund the contributions alleged to be over the limit. I have no way of knowing whether the questioned contributions exceed the limit or not, but I chose to refund them anyway. Phil McGrane at the elections office has confirmed that no further action is necessary. I seriously doubt that the owners intended to do anything improper.

  7. Oh wow. What a story Ms Arnold.

    Weird that C. Anderson was able to do what you (an attorney) were not able to [did not] do.
    And still stating that is impossible- yet he did it and it’s not even within his “job” or legal requirement to do so. Clancy must be a magician?
    He did it— and you’re still saying it’s impossible for a candidate to do it.

    One might also ask why McGrane was not the one to discover it. So, what purpose are the Sunshine Reports anyway? No review, no enforcement. Par for the course though, and just another reason why citizens don’t trust our elected officials.

    So your statement of “ownership is not public” – that is just FALSE and you as an attorney and real estate attorney know it. This point has surfaced even here on BG several times.

    Secondly your statement of “whether entities fall under the statute” is also wrong. As stated in sub(a) above- entities do fall under the statute- a candidate simply needs to identify the respective owner. Not too difficult. How many campaigns? Including a judgeship?

    “Alleged to be over the limit”.
    “I have no way of knowing”.
    Again- wow! It’s like a Giuliani explanation: ‘I mailed back $3,000 but I’m not sure if $3,000 is over the $1,000 limit , and I don’t even know who I mailed it to.’

    Experience says, “Hey, an unexpected check from a business I don’t know” I should call them and see who is sending me money- and WHY.”
    A lame politician would say, “Great, take it to the bank and expect no one will question it.”

    It is difficult to find fault with a regular contributor. It is very easy to find fault with a candidate/treasurer.
    Pretty sure it is NOT up the P. McGrane to decide if further action is needed. That would be at the prosecutor office (AG in this case).

    But when the official response IF IF IF IF caught is ‘just return the money’- then why the heck would any politician be concerned about this insignificant law?

    Since we can’t trust our officials to do the right thing, there is no reason to believe anything will come from this story. Hopefully Alexis Pickering is elected- time for young fresh ideas.

  8. Rebecca Arnold
    Nov 2, 2020, 3:34 pm

    My my Easterner! Aren’t you venomous! But then you are hiding behind a fake name so that must give you “courage”…Clearly you are quite biased so it is really pointless to respond.

    I do find it interesting that only Republican candidates were targeted. And it seems Mr Clancy gave a pass to a Democrat in the last ACHD race who happened to be a Democrat.

  9. that would be weak venom.
    Not as potent as the ballot. 🙂
    Congrats to Ms. Pickering (if the results hold)!

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