Is Reclaim Idaho guilty of a $500,000 Sunshine Violation?
by Brent Regan
My recent article exposing the deep collusion between Reclaim Idaho and The Fairness Project, the brainchild of a shady California labor union president, received the predictable responses. One response was the liberal media and Reclaim representatives Luke Mayville and Rebecca Schroeder quickly attempting to deflect, claiming I had no right to speak the truth because of my association with the Idaho Freedom Foundation. It was a classic “Billy did it too” lament frequently used by children when confronted with their transgressions. When you can’t argue the facts, attack the accuser. It is well known that the Idaho Freedom Foundation is the subject of intense, continuous scrutiny and operates entirely within the law. File this response under “lame”.
However, the second response, the one I was looking for was for Mayville and Schroeder, in their own words, to admit that they received assistance worth approximately $500,000 from professional, paid signature gatherers and trainers. These valuable services were contributed to Reclaim at no cost to Reclaim.
Reclaim Idaho failed to report contributions totaling roughly $500,000 on any of their campaign finance “sunshine” reports. This alleged violation is not some de minimis trifle as it is four times greater than Reclaim’s TOTAL reported contributions. It is not some “ignorant of the law” oversight as Reclaim was able to list multiple other In-Kind donations. They cannot deny collusion as Reclaim took physical possession of the professionally harvested signatures and delivered them to the SOS. This has every indication that it was a deliberate omission to obfuscate Reclaim’s ties to out of state, big money donors and to protect Reclaim’s carefully cultivated “grassroots” branding. Had this collusion been “outed” it likely would have had a material impact on the election, but outing is exactly what the sunshine laws are intended to do.
NOTE: Reclaim appreciates that the best defense is a strong offense and have now created an “Enemies List” of legislators they oppose. ““Yeah, I mean, it’s kind of a s— list,” said Rebecca Schroeder, the executive director of Reclaim Idaho.” True to their Saul Alinsky training, we can expect Mayville and company to falsely claim victim status; that the investigation into their violation is just a “political” attack by “sore losers”. It will be interesting to see if Reclaim claims the complaint is a result of the “enemies list”, even though the complaint came first.
Reclaim recognized the value of having “grassroots” camouflage as Idahoans would not be receptive to their Soros funded, California labor union progressive agenda. The Fairness project paid Fieldworks LLC to assist Reclaim in their efforts. FieldWorks LLC claims to be “the nations premier ballot initiative professionals” who offer “Innovative Grassroots Strategies”. The “Grassroots strategy” involves soliciting local volunteers to act as a human shield. Mayville uses this body armor to deflect criticism of him by saying “Why are you attacking the volunteers”. This tactic is called “Hiding behind your mother’s skirt.”
Idaho campaign finance law exists for a reason; to allow the voter to have a clear and timely understanding of who is supporting various candidates and measures. Indeed if a voter is told that their neighbor supports a measure they may be inclined to support that measure themselves. Conversely, if a voter is told that a measure is being massively supported by out of state lobbyists that also promote other policies the voter opposes, then the voter may be inclined to NOT support the measure. One of the most important factors for a voter is the consideration of who else supports or opposes a candidate or measure. This is why endorsements are highly prized.
It will be very interesting to see the results of the SOS’s investigation to an alleged campaign finance violation of this magnitude. The future of campaign finance hangs in the balance.
-Brent Regan is the Kootenai County Republican Central Committee Chairman
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