Idaho panel says candidates should disclose assets

November 28, 2017

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — A group of Idaho lawmakers working to tighten the state’s campaign finance laws agreed Monday that political candidates should no longer be exempt from disclosing their financial assets.

Under the proposal, elected officials and candidates would be required to disclose their occupation, employer and sources of personal income for themselves and their spouse worth $5,000 or more. The proposal also requires candidates to list investments valued $5,000 or more, as well disclose property assets and list what boards they serve on.

Idaho is currently just one of two states with no such requirement. This has raised concerns that elected officials can weigh in on public matters without sharing whether they stand to financially benefit from them. The issue has faced increased scrutiny due to the gubernatorial campaign with Republicans Boise businessman Tommy Ahlquist and Lt. Gov. Brad Little releasing their financial assets — the first time in Idaho history where politicians in the state’s most anticipated competitive race voluntarily disclosed their financial ties.

Rep. Tom Loertscher, a Republican from Iona, says his proposal mirrors Utah’s current legislative financial disclosure policy.

“It does not require that candidates or sitting legislators or officers disclose what their income is. In fact, it’s a deliberate attempt not to do that,” he said.”

Violations would be punishable by $250 fines and repeat offenders could face $500 fines.

Idaho lawmakers will review the disclosure proposal — along with several others crafted by the committee — during the 2018 legislative session, which begins in January. Many of the state’s Sunshine Laws — passed by overwhelming popular vote in 1974 — have not been updated though they set many of the rules used today to govern campaign contributions and lobbyist activity disclosure.

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