It’s not often a considerable number of legislators return money intended to help them win re-election, but that’s precisely what happened with a series of small gifts in recent weeks.
The story of how top lawmakers, including Speaker of the House Scott Bedke, R-Oakley, and Senate President Pro Tem Bren Hill, R-Rexburg, returned the money will run on Page 1 of Sunday’s Idaho Statesman.
The money was returned because Bedke, Hill and Secretary of State Ben Ysursa said the contribution raised ethical red flags because contributors make a direct connection between the money and an issue before the 2014 Legislature — how to clear the way for land exchanges for cottage site lessees on state land at Priest and Payette Lakes.
An organized effort by leaseholders at Priest Lake prompted letters saying, “money buys elections” and “I hope I can buy a little of your attention,” prompted several recipients to return the money.
For a preview of the story, watch “Idaho Reports” at 8 p.m. Mountain Time Friday night, or later online.