Idaho Citizens for

Good Government

Dan's Corner

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

            Todd Lakey

            Treg Bernt

            Linda Hartgen

            Chris Trakel

            Kelly Anthon

            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

  1. Scott Grow

Jim Guthrie

Julie VanOrden

Kelly Anthon

Lori Den Hartog

Todd Lakey

March 31, 2022

Abby Lee

  1. Scott Grow

Chuck Winder

Carl Crabtree

Dave Lent

Jim Guthrie

Julie VanOrden

Kelly Anthon

Kevin Cook

Mark Harris

Peter Riggs

Todd Lakey

Van Burtenshaw

            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:

The Chuck Winder spending spree

(2) Prohibited use.
(b) conversion
(v) a vacation or other noncampaign-related trip;

This section comes directly from The Sunshine Law Idaho Secretary of State’s Office. Revised 2021
pages 10-11.

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
following entries:

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
, 2022.
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.

Spending and RINOs

Our elected Idaho State Senators are not what they seem. Now that is a loaded introductory sentence. Some, about 10 or 12, are what you and I would expect a Republican representative to be. They conscientiously review every bill and apply the rationale of a Republican. Is it authorized by the Constitution, does it restrict the role of government, are the expenditures sustainable or overreach, does it best meet the needs of the greater number of my constituents? And this is as it should be, and as you and I expect it to be done. These 10 or 12 Senators deserve every bit of recognition they can be given for the patriotic stance they take, year in and year out.
There are 17 Idaho State Senators that totally disregard any rationale as a true Republican, though an ( R ) enjoins their name on our ballots. These men and women are fake, false, liars, and con men. They say one thing and then do exactly the opposite. Now, that being said, I better have some pretty good evidence that it is true. Not to worry, their voting record does the talking for me. Fortunately, the Idaho Legislature records every vote taken during a session, and accurately reports them on their webpage. You’d be as surprised as I was, that in the 2023 Session, our 7 Democratic Senators were on the winning side of almost every single spending bill. How is that possible in a Republican stronghold? Check it out for yourself if you don’t believe me. Though I will present some very compelling evidence shortly, you are invited by this writer to prove me wrong, if you can; you can’t. Yes I’ll say it again, our 7 Democratic Senators voted on the winning side of almost every spending bill introduced in the 2023 Session.
How is that even possible? I know that’s what you are asking me. They are the minority party and mostly forgotten in Idaho politics. Yet somehow, their votes are on every winning bill. Ready to find out how that is even possible?
Every winning spending bill in the Senate included the votes of all 7 Democratic Senators and the same 11-17 Republican State Senators. Specifically the UNTRUSTWORTHY 9, with Senate Pro Temp. CHUCK WINDER leading the way. Chuck Winder voted with these 7 Democrats on every contested spending bill passed in the 2023 Session. He too voted on their side on uncontested bills, but that should go without saying. Voting with Senate Pro Temp. Chuck Winder on EVERY SINGLE bill (unless excused) were Senators Anthon, Bernt, Burtenshaw, Guthrie, Hartgen, Lee, Schroeder, and Van Orden. With the almost unanimous assistance of Senators Harris, Ricks, Grow, Lent, Lakey, Den Hartog, Cook, and Bjerke these Senators were able to successfully out vote the True Republicans in EVERY VOTE. These last 8 Senators sided with Senator Winder on the vast majority of the bills. NOTE: that with the 7 Democrats and 8 STEADY (I’m ashamed to classify them as Republican Senators), Chuck Winder only needed two more votes from the other 8 to WIN EVERY VOTE in the SENATE. You got the math, right, 7 + 8 + Chuck Winder + only 2 others. That makes 18, a majority in a 35 member Senate. That’s what leadership looks like. Chuck used the 7 Democrats and these 17 men and women to pass every spending bill that came up in the 2023 Session. Guess that’s why Chuck had the lowest score on Spending Bills. Lower than even the 7 Senate Democrats. And his GANG of ( R ) Senators joined him at the very bottom of THE SPENDING INDEX. All 8 joined him by scoring lower than the 7 Senate Democrats.

And you thought only Democrats were interested in big spending!! Think again, our ( R ) Senators spent money, that’s your money, like drunken sailors. Need some assistance proving (or trying to disprove my findings), I’ll play along. House Bills:
HB 210 $537,400 passed Senate 23-11-1,
HB 251 $17.3 Million passed Senate 24-10-1,
HB 253 $10.7 Million passed Senate 22-10-3,
HB 254 $6+ Million passed Senate 24-10-1,
HB 362 $29 Million passed Senate 18-17

Senate Bills:
SB 1149 $29 Million passed Senate 20-14-1,
SB 1159 $204.5 Million passed Senate 23-10-2,
SB 1171 $156.9 Million passed Senate 25-10,
SB 1176 $678.5 Million passed Senate 22-13,
SB 1179 $49.6 Million passed Senate 22-12-1,
SB 1183 $165.9 Million passed Senate 24-10-1,
SB 1197 $1.145 BILLION passed Senate 24-10-1,
SB 1202 $96.4 Million passed Senate 21-12-1,
SB 1203 $28 Million passed Senate 21-14,
SB 1207 $699 Million passed Senate 25-10,
SB 1211 $145.9 Million passed Senate 23-12

Had these ( R ) Republicans been voting with the real Republicans, every one of these bills would have failed or would have had to be altered to pass. INSTEAD, the ( R ) Republicans, joined with our 7 Democrat Senators, passed every bill. [… omitted instructions as we supplied the links to verify this]

Before I finish I would like to personally commend our TRUE REPUBLICAN SENATORS by name. Senators:
Carlson, Foreman, Hart, Herndon, Lenney, Nichols, Okuniewicz, Trakel, Toews and Zuiderveld.
They held TRUE to Republican principles and voted as you and I would expect a Republican to vote.
Thank You for your dedication.

Editors Note:

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!