Democrats file complaint over conservative newsletter

The Idaho Democratic Party wants an investigation of The Idahoan, a conservative newsletter that went out statewide in advance of the May 15 primaries.

“The Idahoan is a blatant attempt to hide a political advertisement endorsing right-wing Republican candidates behind a seemingly legitimate newspaper,” Sam Dotters-Katz, an attorney for the Democrats, said in a Friday letter to Secretary of State Lawerence Denney. “This trickery and deceptiveness cannot be tolerated by your office, and The Idahoan and its backers should be investigated to ensure that all election and campaign laws have been complied with.”

The Democrats’ complaint alleges that The Idahoan has clear ties to conservative political action committees, namely the Idaho Freedom Foundation.

The Idahoan business name was first registered in 2007 by Wayne Hoffman, now president of the Idaho Freedom Foundation. Hoffman terminated his use of the business name on April 19, the same day Michael Oswald and Patrick Malloy registered the name.

As I pointed out in a blog post Thursday, the Idaho Freedom Foundation is among The Idahoan’s advertisers, and The Idahoan uses the group’s ratings as one metric for its endorsements.

The Democrats also ask Denney to recuse himself from an investigation, citing fundraising ties between Denney and Lou Esposito, listed as The Idahoan’s editor and publisher.

For more on the issue, here’s a blog from Betsy Russell of the Spokane Spokesman-Review.

Kevin Richert

Kevin Richert

Senior reporter and blogger Kevin Richert specializes in education politics and education policy. He has more than 30 years of experience in Idaho journalism. He is a frequent guest on "Idaho Reports" on Idaho Public Television and "Idaho Matters" on Boise State Public Radio. Follow Kevin on Twitter: @KevinRichert. He can be reached at [email protected]

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