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Posts published in “Day: May 8, 2014”

The lobbyists

ridenbaugh Northwest

From a press release by Idaho gubernatorial candidate Russ Fulcher, about the number of registered lobbyists working on the campaign of his opponent, Governor C.L. "Butch" Otter.

Senator Russ Fulcher today said the hiring of yet another lobbyist to work on Gov. Butch Otter's re-election campaign raises troubling questions about the influence of special interests on Idaho politics.

"The governor now has staffers from the state's largest lobbying firms working on his re-election campaign. These relationships give people reason to suspect their government of wrongdoing, even when nothing illicit is taking place," said Fulcher. "It makes people wonder whether the governor's re-election is about advancing and empowering Idahoans, or advancing and empowering people with cash and connections."

Lobbyists on the campaign staff represent companies that have contractual relationships with the state or have an interest in legislation expected to be considered in the 2015 legislative session.

"Is it legal? Probably. Does it look really, really bad? I sure think so," said Fulcher.

Elli Brown, Otter's latest lobbyist campaign staffer, most recently worked at Veritas Advisors, whose clients include the Idaho Chamber Alliance, which lobbied for an Obamacare insurance exchange and still wants Otter and the Legislature to pass a local option sales tax.

Jayson Ronk, Otter for Idaho Campaign Manager, took a leave of absence as Vice President of the Idaho Association of Commerce and Industry, which supported the insurance exchange and is pushing for more government healthcare via Obamacare Medicaid expansion.

Lobbyist Lincoln Smyser was added to the re-election campaign after the 2014 legislative session. He recently lobbied for Corrections Corporation of America, which had a scandal-ridden contract to run Idaho's private prison, and the Idaho Trucking Association, which pitched a plan to raise gas taxes last session.

Martin Bilbao, a former lobbyist for Education Networks of America, serves as the Finance Director for the Otter for Idaho campaign. ENA was awarded a contract after Governor Otter’s business partner and best friend bent procurement rules to guarantee a contract over rival bidder Syringa Networks.

"A governor should leave a clear separation between elections and the formation of public policy. The people who lobby state government shouldn't be on a governor's campaign staff," said Fulcher.

On the front pages


Here’s what public affairs news made the front page of newspapers in the Northwest today, excluding local crime, features and sports stories. (Newspaper names contracted with location)

Fulcher blasts Otter hiring lobbyists (Boise Statesman)
St Luke's releases downtown growth plans (Boise Statesman)
IF fore chief plans departure (IF Post Register)
Bonneville Democrats reach out to Hispanics (IF Post Register)
WSU sorority hit on alcohol, other charges (Moscow News)
Gritman takes over county emergency voucher effort (Moscow News)
Pullman considers city finances (Moscow News)
Canyon commission candidate Freeman (Nampa Press Tribune)
Newly reorganized golf course to open (Nampa Press Tribune)
Bujak trial continues (Nampa Press Tribune)
New giant woolly mammoth finds in east Idaho (Pocatello Journal)
SkyWest adds a flight at Pocatello (Pocatello Journal)
Simpson bill would raise truck weight limits (TF Times News)
Builder cited on worker risks (TF Times News)

Eugene to stay in Lane ESD organization (Eugene Register Guard)
Sexual conduct code explored at UO (Eugene Register Guard)
Several businesses burn at Harrisburg (Eugene Register Guard)
KF council okays police contract (KF Herald & News)
Mt Ashland Association cuts general manager (Ashland Tidings)
Ashland council holds off on utility fees (Ashland Tidings)
Examining the Medford school budget (Medford Tribune)
Campaign funds pouring in on GMO fight (Medford Tribune)
Hospital payments from police funds (Pendleton East Oregonian)
Democratic US House candidate Christofferson (Pendleton East Oregonian)
Portland firms dinged over hedge fund (Portland Oregonian)
AG says Cover Oregon can switch to feds (Salem Statesman Journal)
No Fukushima radiation in area kelp (Salem Statesman Journal)
Salem city council battle in south district (Salem Statesman Journal)

Bremerton pot license sells for $150k (Seattle Times, Bremerton Sun)
No one sought Monroe pot license (Everett Herald)
Agriculture master's program launched at WSU (Kennewick Herald)
Pot lottery results released at Longview (Longview News)
Longview PUD revises payment plans (Longview News)
Grain elevator at Sequim faces action (Port Angeles News)
Clallam Auditor Rosand will retire (Port Angeles News)
Landslide risk found at busy campground (Seattle Times)
UW research equipment may move away from rails (Seattle Times)
Glitchy amber alert system in Washington (Tacoma News Tribune)
Salal Credit Union provides pot banking (Tacoma News Tribune)
Two Spokane council ethics issues dismissed (Spokane Spokesman)
Examining alternative teaching at Yakima (Yakima Herald Republic)
TSA PreCheck program comes to Yakima (Yakima Herald Republic)