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Posts published in “Day: December 30, 2014”

Shadow shogun

carlson CHRIS


Throughout much of Japanese history the Emperor has been a figure-head, the titular head of the nation, but considered semi-divine and thus above politics.

True power resided with a figure behind the scenes, a figure who weilded the real power through personal influence and patronage as well as being the chief administrative officer in the government. Often this figure stayed completely in the background, working in the shadows. In today’s political jargon one often will hear the phrase “he leaves no fingerprints,” but one knows the shadow shogun has instigated an action.

The most powerful and influential figure in Idaho politics today is NOT Senator Mike Crapo, nor is it Rep. Mike Simpson, nor Rep. Raul Labrador, nor Governor Butch Otter, nor Lt. Governor Brad Little, nor House Speaker Scott Bedke, nor President Pro Tempore Brent Hill, nor Senate Majority Leader Bart Davis, though a good case could be made for each and everyone of these folks.

The most powerful, politically influential figure on the Idaho landscape today holds no political office. Rather he weilds his power through minions who do his bidding. Like the shadow shogun that he is, he prefers to stay behind the scenes. He rightly expects loyalty and he gets it because he is loyal to those who are loyal to him.

There isn’t a Republican in any office in Idaho who doesn’t know who he is, and wouldn’t think twice before crossing him. He appears to even own judges for most judges are keenly aware that he quite legally took out a judge who crossed him by putting up a candidate of his liking that defeated the wayward judge.

It is also well known among legal circles that Attorney General Lawrence Wasden pays close attention to the shadow shogun’s views.

His net worth reportedly exceeds $1.5 billion, making him the richest person in Idaho. What differentiates him from other Idaho billionaires, like the late J.R. Simplot, is he is absolutely unafraid of using his wealth to get his way. Thus, he contributes to candidates for many offices, not just the major ones. He spreads his wealth around viewing it as a form of investing. Of course like any good businessman he expects a decent return on his investment. He fully understands that money is the mother’s milk of politics.

He knows though that politics is all about cultivating personal relationships, not just giving money. Thus he entertains various political figures and by all accounts he can be as charming as he can be alarming depending on what the situation requires.

This “shadow shogun” is course Frank VanderSloot, the 66-year-old chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the Melaleuca Corporation. A graduate of both Ricks (Before it became BYU-Idaho) and of Brigham Young University, he is a member in good standing of the Church of Jesus Christ Latter Day Saints (He gets the “Temple Pass” needless to say), it came as no surprise that fellow Saint, Governor Mitt Romney, named VanderSloot co-chair of his fund-raising for his 2012 Presidential run. Nor was it a surprise that virtually every Republican statewide officeholder dutifully lined up behind Romney’s candidacy. (more…)

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)

Looking at effects of western power lines (Boise Statesman)
Case remanded on 'Dixie' argument (Boise Statesman)
Big stories in Latah in 2015 (Moscow News)
Housing market returning to life (Nampa Press Tribune)
Major donation given for Nampa dog park (Nampa Press Tribune)

New call center comes to Eugene (Eugene Register Guard)
50,000 fish loosed from Leaburg hatchery (Eugene Reguster Guard)
Bitter cold expected for Klamath area (KF Herald & News)
Top regional stories of year listed (KF HErald & news)
Another look at gas pipeline issues (Medford Tribune)
Strange December weather in eastern Oregon (Pendleton E Oregonian)
State DEQ may require less carbon in fuels (Pendleton E Oregonian)
Major new Oregon laws in 2014 (Slem Statesman Journal)

Bremerton pyrex museum closes (Bremerton Sun)
Snohomish revises jail rules for mentally ill (Everett Herald)
Concerns about mistaken 911 calls (Everett Herald)
Big new theatre opens January 15 (Longview News)
Olympia mayor will depart next year (Olympian)
Legislature won't hear from chief justice this year (Tacoma News Tribune, Olympian)
Former UW president dies (Seattle Times)
Boeing projecting good times ahead (Seattle Times)
Rents may rise by a little less in 2015 (Seattle Times)
Former TNT publisher Honeysett dies (Tacoma News Tribune)
Small earthquake in Vancouver (Vancouver Columbian)