Bill would close recall election loophole

In a blog post Tuesday, I wrote about a loophole in Idaho’s Sunshine Law: Recall campaign organizers are not subject to campaign finance disclosure requirements.

That might change.

A bill introduced Wednesday morning would close this loophole. All recall campaigns would be required to file sunshine reports — not just recalls involving statewide officials or legislators.

Fundraising has become one point of contention in the West Ada School District, where four trustees could face recall. Supporters of the four trustees say the recall election has been fueled by special interest dollars, a claim denied by recall organizers.

Sen. Souza
Sen. Mary Souza, R-Coeur d’Alene

It’s part of a larger bill that revisits an issue that surfaced in 2015: campaign finance disclosure requirements for school board candidates. The Legislature brought trustee candidates under the Sunshine Law, but lawmakers made a compromise: The disclosure requirements wouldn’t apply in school districts with fewer than 500 students — districts that often struggle to find school board candidates.

Sen. Mary Souza, R-Coeur d’Alene, now wants the disclosure requirements across the board, regardless of enrollment.

The Senate State Affairs Committee voted to print the bill, co-sponsored by Sen. Todd Lakey, R-Nampa.