Election Central

Fulcher, Balukoff: Otter better late than never on Prisongate inquiry

Senate Majority Caucus Chairman Russ Fulcher praised Gov. Butch Otter’s reversal in ordering a criminal investigation into the admitted falsification of staffing records by the for-profit Corrections Corporation of America at the Idaho Correctional Center south of Boise.

Democrat A.J. Balukoff also weighed in Wednesday, saying, “It took public outrage to do the right thing.”

On Feb. 7, Otter rebuffed a call from Attorney General Lawrence Wasden for a criminal probe.

On Feb. 13, Fulcher urged Otter to follow Wasden’s advice.

Otter changed his mind Tuesday after a meeting with Wasden, ordering an investigation by Idaho State Police.

Said Fulcher, R-Meridian, in a news release Wednesday: “It’s nice to see that Governor Otter finally heeded the call of Attorney General Wasden and myself for a criminal investigation into CCA. As I am fond of saying, it’s never a wrong time to do what’s right. And the people of Idaho deserve answers and accountability from their government.”

Fulcher’s release was headlined, “Senator Russ Fulcher: Better Late Than Never, Governor Otter.”

Fulcher seeks to end Otter’s 28-year run in high office by winning the May 20 Republican primary.

Balukoff, the likely Democratic nominee in November, used the issue in a fundraising email to supporters Wednesday.

“Last week’s headlines marked a new low for Idaho’s leadership,” wrote Balukoff. “Governor Butch Otter blatantly ignored a request from Attorney General Lawrence Wasden for an investigation into Corrections Corporation of America’s falsification of staffing records—actions that put people’s lives in jeopardy. Yesterday, he finally ordered the investigation. It took public outrage to do the right thing.”

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