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:
67-6610A. LIMITATIONS ON CONTRIBUTIONS.
(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.
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