Election Central

Risch’s top aide regrets role in upcoming Idaho fundraiser

John Sandy, official chief of staff to Idaho Republican Sen. Jim Risch, says he regrets having included his name as a contact for a campaign fundraiser featuring hunting and headlined by Risch and Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo.

Sandy’s phone number is listed for hunters interested in an optional duck and goose shoot on the first day of the three-day event, Jan. 17-19, in Hagerman. Sandy lived in Hagerman for about 50 years before moving to Boise.

Sandy said Friday that he is not organizing or attending the “Jim Risch Idaho Hunting Excursion” and that the event is not supported in any way by taxpayer funds. He said he will be available on his personal cell phone to give directions.

Sandy said that for appearances sake, he probably should have declined when Risch’s Virginia-based fundraiser Bill Oorbeek asked him to help.

“It was just dumb,” Sandy said. “I told him if you want to put my name on there, put my name on there. I probably shouldn’t have.”

Sandy said the number on the fundraising schedule in his personal cell phone, not a government line.

In addition to three days hunting, including time at Hagerman Wings Ranch, the event includes dinner on the 17th and 18th and lunch with Sen. Blunt on the 18th. Participants must hold an Idaho hunting license and a federal migratory bird stamp.

So far, Risch is unopposed by a Republican or Democrat in his bid for a second term.

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