Election Central

Filling a gap in the clearing of Donna Denney

I thought my colleague Cynthia Sewell’s story in Sunday’s Statesman was a brilliant piece of reporting about how and why the wife of former Idaho House Speaker Lawerence Denney was twice investigated for a possible crime related to her moonlighting while employed at the Idaho Commission on Aging.

But there was one burning question left unanswered: Why was Donna Denney’s case reopened after a nine-month Idaho State Police investigation found no evidence of a crime?

Then- Idaho State Police Col. Jerry Russell told Sewell he couldn’t recall the details of why he ordered Detective Bret Kessinger to revive his investigation in July 2012. Kessinger told Sewell Russell’s orders were  “a real head-scratcher” and said he’d never been asked to do something of the sort in his 16-year career.

I spoke with Rep. Denney today, as well as with Gov. Butch Otter, who acknowledged that his office was involved. Also, I checked in with the man who defeated Denney in 2012, Speaker Scott Bedke.

I don’t want to give it away until Wednesday’s edition, but here’s a tease: Check back online after midnight or pick up Wednesday’s print edition. It’s an interesting followup, I hope you’ll agree.

Dan Popkey came to Idaho in 1984 to work as a police reporter. Since 1987, he has covered politics and has reported on 25 sessions of the Legislature. Dan has a bachelor's in political science from Santa Clara University and a master's in journalism from Columbia University. He was a Congressional Fellow of the American Political Science Association and a Journalism Fellow at the University of Michigan. A former page in the U.S. House of Representatives, he graduated Capitol Page High School in 1976. In 2007, he led the Statesman’s coverage of the Sen. Larry Craig sex scandal, which was one of three Pulitzer Prize finalists in breaking news. In 2003, he won the Ted M. Natt First Amendment award from the Pacific Northwest Newspaper Association for coverage of University Place, the University of Idaho’s troubled real estate development in Boise. Dan helped start the community reading project "Big Read." He has two children in college and lives on the Boise Bench with an old gray cat.

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Posted in Election Central, Idaho Politics