November 17, 2023

Bait and Switch

By: Brian Almon

This is a short follow-up to yesterday’s post which looked at the connections between Governor Brad Little and several PACs that are attacking conservative senators in Idaho. If you have not already read it, do that first.

After publishing yesterday’s article I was reminded of a fundraising letter the governor sent a few months ago.

This letter, coming from “Governor Brad Little” was paid for and solicited donations to the Friends of Brad Little PAC. Recall that this PAC used to be called the Idaho Inaugural Committee and moved $500,000 to the Idaho Victory Fund just prior to changing its name.

As you know, the Idaho Victory Fund transferred $340,000 to the Idaho Liberty PAC, including $75,000 after the donation from the Friends of Brad Little.

The letter indicated that money donated to the Friends of Brad Little would be used to fight President Joe Biden and the Democrats:

I wonder if recipients of this letter were aware that rather than fighting Joe Biden and the Democrats, the governor would use their donations to fight incumbent legislators in Idaho. Perhaps some of them would consider this a proper use of their money — maybe they just don’t like Senators Tammy Nichols, Brian Lenney, or Chris Trakel — but I’m sure most expected the money to be used what the governor said it was for.

The initial filing for the Idaho Inaugural Committee, before it was renamed to the Friends of Brad Little, was signed by a man named Hayden Rogers, who managed the governor’s 2022 campaign and has worked in the governor’s office since last December:

None of this is to necessarily accuse anyone of doing anything illegal. I am simply raising questions about how closely Governor Little works with the Friends of Brad Little PAC, who decided to use the PAC’s money to attack conservative legislators, and did donors to the PAC know this is what their money would be used for.

Circling back to the Idaho Victory Fund, which is the middleman between the Friends of Brad Little and the Idaho Liberty PAC, the earliest filing on the Sunshine website is from January 2020 and shows Ysabel Bilbao as chair of the PAC and Chad Henggeler as treasurer. The mailing address for Bilbao and the Idaho Victory Fund is the same PO Box as the Idaho Inaugural Committee / Friends of Brad Little PAC:

The most recent filing for the Idaho Victory Fund, a timed contribution report dated November 4, 2023, shows Henggeler is still the treasurer, and the mailing address is still PO Box 615 in Boise.

It seems pretty efficient for these PACs to use the same post office box. For what it’s worth, the Idaho Liberty PAC seems to have at least some separation. According to Sunshine filings, this PAC is chaired by Robert Jones, who also serves as treasurer, and their mailing address is PO Box 1978.

In my last post I related how Sen. Nichols was told by one of Idaho Liberty PAC’s paid door knockers that he was from Utah. That makes sense considering that the firm the PAC hired to conduct this negative campaign is based in Salt Lake City.

It’s not really a good look when you put it all together, is it? Governor Little solicited donations on the premise of fighting Joe Biden, only to give a large amount of money to a PAC that hired an out-of-state firm to distribute attack ads against three conservative senators.

It feels like there’s a lot more to be discovered here, doesn’t it? Stay tuned!

Note: A descendant of American pioneers, Brian writes about the importance of culture and about current events in the context of history.  His work can be found on Substack, here.

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