Where Do Idaho Lawmakers Get Their Campaign Cash?
New AARP Report Shows Flow of Biz and PAC Money into Gem State Politics
BOISE, Idaho, May 12, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Are the concerns of moneyed special interests outweighing the voices of the Idaho's largest voting group, the 50+? Fueled by member concern on the issue, AARP Idaho released its first Annual Idaho Campaign Contributions Report this morning showing the flow of corporate, business and political action committee (PACs) money into Idaho political campaigns.
From tackling the state budget shortfall with new revenues (such as closing business tax loopholes), as opposed to cutting critical programs, to protecting patients' legal rights as expressed in their advanced medical directives, the state's 50+ found their top issues and concerns fell on deaf ears at the State Capitol. Turning their disappointment into action, AARP volunteers poured over candidate campaign filings to compile the report.
"The outcomes of this past legislative session left many AARP members believing that Idaho has a golden rule, and, that is, those who have the gold make the rules," said Jim Wordelman, State Director for AARP in Idaho. "When the most powerful voting group in Idaho, voters aged 50 and older, feels that their voices and issues are ignored by state lawmakers, we've got an issue of public confidence in the system."
Key findings from the AARP Annual Idaho Campaign Contributions Report: Corporate, Business & PAC Money in Idaho Politics include:
- $2.7 million in campaign contributions from corporations, businesses and PACs poured into the 2010 races of the winning candidates for Governor, Lt. Governor and State Legislature.
- 35% of all contributions by corporations, businesses and PACs came from outside of Idaho.
- 34 legislators received 90% or more of their campaign contributions from the groups – for seven, these contributions accounted for 100% of their campaign contributions.
- 87% of Idaho's 107 state lawmakers received the majority of their campaign funds from corporations, businesses and PACs – leaving just 14 lawmakers who didn't.
"State government officials and processes are often viewed as more responsive to moneyed special interests than those of the general public – low public confidence in state politics can lead to a broken system," added Wordelman. "AARP is committed to working with state lawmakers to restore public trust in Idaho's political system – that means ensuring the public voice is heard."
The AARP report goes on to make several policy recommendations including: requiring candidates for public office in Idaho to raise the majority of their campaign funds from individual donors who live in the candidate's district; establishing and strictly enforcing limits on contributions to, and by, PACs; and setting limits on how much money can be given to state political parties.
The AARP report can be found on-line: http://assets.aarp.org/www.aarp.org_/cs/elec/final_aarp_2010_annual_idaho_campaign_contributions_report.pdf
AARP is Idaho's largest membership organization with 180,000 members.
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