Secretary Of State Tosses Campaign Finance Complaint Against Reclaim Idaho

Jul 29, 2019

The Idaho Secretary of State’s office has tossed out a complaint alleging campaign finance violations by the group behind the state’s successful Medicaid expansion ballot initiative.

Brent Regan, who chairs the libertarian group Idaho Freedom Foundation, filed the complaint against Reclaim Idaho in April, saying it should’ve had to report the use of paid signature gatherers in its own campaign finance records.

The Fairness Project, a liberal out-of-state organization, pumped nearly $550,000 into the Medicaid expansion initiative, most of it to hire signature gatherers. That money was reported, though as an independent expenditure.

But last week, the Idaho Secretary of State’s office said the money was properly recorded.

“I’m not surprised at all. I mean, in fact, I was never worried for a minute,” said Rebecca Schroeder, executive director of Reclaim Idaho.

“We did not coordinate with The Fairness Project. We worked with volunteer signature gatherers throughout the state,” Schroeder said.

Signature gatherers paid for by The Fairness Project did collect a quarter of all petitions and came on at a critical time in the campaign last spring when Reclaim Idaho made a big push into Canyon County.

Ultimately, Reclaim Idaho volunteers gathered about 95% of the valid signatures needed to qualify Proposition 2 for the ballot.

The Idaho Freedom Foundation had previously sued to block the implementation of Medicaid expansion, but the case was quickly dismissed by the state Supreme Court.

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Copyright 2019 Boise State Public Radio

Correction: This story originally stated the Idaho Freedom Foundation had filed the complaint, but the organization says its chair, Brent Regan, was acting as an individual.