Dan Proskine is our local ICGG campaign strategy expert and has been tracking election spending at the state level.
We have a link on our links page to the Sunshine Campaign Finance Data page which Dan uses to track where the money goes.
Dan recently posted a letter to the editor trying to explain some of the schenanigans going on that are causing Idaho State government to increase spending and growth which of course, eventually raises taxes.
Here’s his letter below and a very revealing chart below that.
After my last letter you are surely wondering, How did Senate Pro Temp Chuck Winder get all those other Senators to vote with him on all those spending bills? I wondered the same thing. Then I reviewed Senator Winder’s Sunshine Reports. Those are the disclosures of the campaign finances of all the Senators (and other elected officials) and the PAC’s in Idaho. Have to say, I was shocked again by what Chuck Winder’s reports show.
In the Idaho Senate there are 35 Senators, 7 of them are Democrats and 28 are designated as Republicans. At the beginning of a new session, the one immediately following an election, a Senate Leader is chosen by the party with the most Senators. This Senator is elected by his/her peers to lead the Senate and is called the Senate Pro Temp.. The Senate Pro Temp. appoints all of the Committee Chairs and Committee Vice Chairs. Idaho’s majority party is Republicans. There are 28 Republican Senators. To win the position of Senate Pro Temp, in our current makeup, a candidate would need the support of at least 14 Republicans.
In 2020, Senator Winder became the Senate Pro Temp., likely because he had 12 years service and the backing of a few older Senators. But research into Chuck Winder’s sunshine reports show a slightly different story.
In Senator Winder’s campaign finance report we find something extremely troublesome.
Each candidate is permitted to take money from individuals, and PAC’s. Then they are permitted to spend these funds on their campaign. And other approved things. One of which I personally found distasteful, redirect the funds they get to other candidates.
Chuck redirected funds to the following Chuck also redirected funds to the following Senate candidates in 2022 Senate candidates in 2020
Ben Adams Van Burtenshaw
Carl Bjerke Doug Ricks
Doug Okuniewicz Kevin Cook
Geoff Schroeder Jim Guthrie
Julie VanOrden C. Scott Grow
That is 15 Senators that Senator Chuck Winder sent campaign contributions to. That may not seem odd to you, but at least one of those Candidates was running unopposed and still he sent money.
In all he contributed to 15 other current Senators campaigns. Just enough to insure his election to Senate Pro Temp. Coincidence? Maybe. But as I was always schooled, look not just at who was paid, but just as importantly, at who wasn’t. You don’t see TRUE REPUBLICANS: Carlson, Foreman, Hart, Herndon, Leney, Nichols, Toews, or Zuiderveld receiving a red cent from Senator Winder.
Remember these are NOT Chuck Winder’s personal FUNDS, but redirected campaign funds.
If it stopped there we could maybe say it’s just a coincidence and not a pattern of corruption.
But there are other irregularities in Chuck Winder’s Sunshine Report. He sent money from his contributors to The Idaho Senate Republican Caucus, The Idaho Senate Majority Caucus, and the Republican Senate Caucus. The Senate Majority Caucus is run by 2 State Senators; Harris, and Ricks. This PAC too contributed to the same list of Senators as Senator Winder and omitted the exact same Senators as did Senator Winder. Just a secondary source for funneling campaign contributions to the same people where you can exceed the limits placed by the laws of the State of Idaho? Shouldn’t these funds be allocated on the word of the Senate Leader, Pro Temp. Chuck Winder. Looks that way to me. You be the judge.
Receiving money from the Senate Majority Caucus PAC, usually in $1,000 increments:
Sept 15, 2022
Lori Den Hartog
March 31, 2022
And yes, again not a single dime to the TRUE REPUBLICAN Senators, who I presume are not recipients of the Senate Majority Caucus funding because they are TRUE REPUBLICANS, not phony ones.
These contributions were more than enough to help Senator Winder retain his position as the Senate Pro Temp., and, as you saw in my last post, enough to vote to pass all those spending bills with the assistance of our 7 Democratic Senators.
Here’s a chart describing graphically what Dan just said:
Idaho Code 67-6610C. USE OF CONTRIBUTED AMOUNTS FOR CERTAIN PURPOSES.
(2) Prohibited use.
(v) a vacation or other noncampaign-related trip;
This section comes directly from The Sunshine Law Idaho Secretary of State’s Office. Revised 2021
You be the judge, or better yet let’s let the Secretary of State’s office be the judge, since it is their
duty to investigate irregularities in Sunshine reports.
In Chuck Winder Senatorial Candidate District 21 Sunshine reports for calendar year 2022 we find the
May 1 $2,000.38 Chase United Travel
June 19 $9,862.55 Chase United Travel
June 19 $ 188.75 Chase United Food
July 7 $ 287.02 Hampton Inn Travel
July 14 $3,527.79 Chase United Travel
July 18 $ 548.64 Hilton Garden Travel
Aug 21 $6,000.30 Chase United Travel
Aug 26 $5,717.86 Chase United Travel
Aug 26 $ 282.44 Chase United Food
Sept 23 $3,056.98 Chase United Travel
Sept 23 $ 162.76 Chase United Food
Nov 2 $3,622.40 Chase United Travel
Dec 8 $ 580.00 Eureka Travel
Dec 8 $ 87.73 Eureka Food
Dec 8 $ 44.95 Eureka Food
Dec 8 $ 80.37 Eureka Food
Dec 12 $1,303.98 Alaska Airlines Travel
Dec 28 $ 687.54 Chase United Travel
That totals $37,195.44 for travel recorded in the 8 months from May 1st
to Dec 31st
Not to mention the $847.00 in food associated with the travel on the same days. Forgive me if I’m
wrong, but Legislative District 21 isn’t more than 30 square miles. Where exactly is Senator Winder
traveling to that would qualify as a campaign related trip? His reported food expenditures would indicate
he wasn’t traveling alone. And nearly $4,750 a month seems pretty excessive.
Even if he was staying at the above priced Hampton Inn (July 7), he could have stayed for 34 days
for what he charged his campaign for travel on just June 19th. Something looks wrong.
Thanks Dan for doing such excellent research to unmask the deceptions that are driving this state into the RED. Voters MUST WAKE UP and tell their friends before its too late!