BOISE, Idaho – Lt. Gov. Janice McGeachin’s event at Ammon Elementary School not considered a violation of the law, but could “violate the spirit of the Public Integrity Act in Elections” .
McGeachin hosted the event on Oct. 15 at the elementary school where she defended her decision to refuse the release of public documents relating to her education task force, the Associated Press reports. During the event, she criticized the Idaho attorney general’s office and local media for covering the lawsuit against her.
The Public Integrity in Elections Act was passed by the Idaho legislature in 2018 and states that “Neither a public entity nor any of its employees shall use, nor a public official shall authorize or use any property. or public resources to advocate for or against a candidate or ballot measure. ”
Related: Media Club Drops Contempt Request Against Idaho Lt. Gov.
McGeachin’s attorney Art Macomber, a candidate for the post of attorney general, has spoken about his candidacy for the post and what he would do if he were attorney general. This led to speculation that state law could have been violated.
Idaho News 6 has contacted the Idaho attorney general’s office regarding the status and the possible violation. Scott Graf, spokesperson for the GA’s office, said in a statement that the event was not a violation of the law.
“The Attorney General’s office has taken a close look at Chapter 6 of Title 74. Although a candidate for office argued for his election, it does not appear that a public official or public entity authorized the use of resources or public property for the purpose of defending for a candidate. While this conduct may violate the spirit of the Public Integrity in Elections Act, it does not violate the letter of the law. If the legislature wishes to change the law and address this type of scenario in the future, our office is ready and willing to help. “
Scott Graf, spokesperson for the attorney general’s office
The response from the attorney general’s office indicated that two things would have to happen for a violation to occur during last week’s event. The lt. governor should have demanded the use of the school, which is public property, for the purpose of defending either herself or her attorney for public service.
Although state law was not violated by McGeachin or his lawyer, in an email obtained by Idaho News 6, the school administration said it was surprised by the event and a parent had requested use of the facilities but did not disclose why.
“Along with political activities, we certainly allow those uses of our facilities after school hours when they do not disrupt the school. But we ask anyone wishing to use our facilities, including the Lieutenant Governor, to please. contact the principal school or district office to make the appropriate arrangements for using them, ”said Bonneville School District Superintendent Scott Woolstenhulme.