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Reveal Donors Or Go To Court Says Idaho's Top Election Official

Ben Ysursa
Courtesy of Idaho Secretary of State's office

Friday is the deadline Idaho’s Secretary of State has given a nonprofit to reveal its donors. The group Education Voters of Idaho gave more than $200,000 to a second group to campaign for Idaho’s Students Come First education laws. Voters will decide if they want to repeal those through Propositions 1, 2, and 3 on the November ballot.

Education Voters of Idaho maintains its 501 C four tax status means it doesn’t have to say where its money comes from. Secretary of State Ben Ysursa disagrees. Ysursa cites Idaho’s Sunshine Law which requires political committees to reveal their donors. He says if the group doesn’t release the names of its donors by Friday he’ll go to the courts. His goal is to make those names public before the election.

“To have some sort of disclosure after the election, I think defeats the whole purpose of the Sunshine Law," he says. "You need to have that information for the electorate prior to the election.”

Ysursa says he doesn’t know if the court system will be able to act quickly enough with the election less than three weeks away. He says he’s frustrated by this case because disclosure is an important principle in Idaho politics. He notes that the sunshine law was a citizen initiative that passed in 1974 by a wide margin.

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