Push Back on OtterPAC – Kootenai Passes Resolution
Still feeling the sting of a squeaker reelection, Governor Butch Otter is trying to take the chill of irrelevancy off his final term. He barely won, with 51.4 percent of the vote, against tea party favorite Russ Fulcher, and likely feels too many of the GOP were in his opposition’s camp.
Now, he has formed his own political action committee, OtterPAC, where he plans to continue his influence over the Idaho GOP by donating to campaigns from the state level down to party precinct committee positions.
He is hosting the first fundraiser for OtterPAC this Saturday, with tickets ranging from $500 to $10,000.
“I’m not going to go out and take revenge,” Otter said to the Spokesman-Review. “This is more a positive attitude, and a positive effort. You want to continue to support those people that have supported you.”
The Kootenai County Republican Central Committee isn’t buying it. Calling a special emergency meeting on Tuesday, the committee passed a resolution calling on Otter to renounce these activities designed to influence elections of precinct committeemen.
The Main Motion reads, in part:
Resolved. That the Kootenai County Republican Central Committee calls on Governor Otter, Idaho State Republican Party Chairman Steve Yates, and all state party officials to support party unity by suspending and renouncing any state wide activities designed to influence the elections of precinct committeemen.
The structure of our government is intended to be run from the bottom up. This means that the precinct committee person is the closest elected official to the citizens. They are the first contact the people have, and most of them are very good at their job. They know the residents of their districts, they interact with them, and they are involved in many community organizations.
To have the election process tainted in anyway is an injustice to the people of Idaho, and a Super PAC designed to do just that is very unnerving to them.
Comments and questions ran throughout the meeting and beyond. Some questioned the standards to which a sitting Governor should hold himself. Other comments included how it looks to the citizens for him to travel the state collecting money while working on the public’s dime.
“I think it is wrong that the Governor will involve himself in elections at the precinct committee level,” stated John Cross, Region 1 Chairman.
With this new PAC, Otter will step outside of the standard election finance rules because there are much different rules that cover political action committees. Individuals and corporations can give unlimited amounts to PACs, where they are normally limited to $1,000 per legislative seat, and $5,000 for statewide offices.
Yet, at the Kootenai meeting they were discussing all the hours they put in to supporting the official republican candidate, stuffing envelopes, knocking on doors, and now feeling deceived by Otter.
Add in the Bonneville County Republican Central Committee issuing a statement against OtterPAC on Monday, the list of those feeling betrayed by Butch Otter grows.