Campaigns for and against Propositions 1, 2 and 3 have broken the Idaho record for spending on ballot measures, with opponents having raised $3.6 million and proponents $2.6 million.
The standard was set in 1986 when 54 percent of voters affirmed the Legislatures passage of right-to-work, which bars union membership as a condition of employment. Unions spent $2.8 million to repeal the law; proponents defended the measure with $1.167 million.
Accounting for inflation, the 2012 campaigns must reach $8.375 million to equal the buying power of those 1986 dollars. But were not finished, as the air war continues between teachers unions and much of Idahos GOP establishment and national supporters of school reform.
Frank VanderSloot, CEO of Melalueca, has spent $1,443,576 on behalf of Props 1, 2 and 3, saying his aim is to counter the unions. Said the Idaho Falls billionaire: Im not done yet.
The Idaho Education Association (IEA) reported a fresh $100,000 contribution Wednesday to fight the laws passed by the 2011 Legislature. Last week, the National Education Association (NEA) added a $740,000 contribution from members dues.
A clear calculation of fundraising to date was finally made possible by Wednesdays court-ordered filing of Sunshine reports by Education Voters of Idaho, which has raised $641,160, including $250,000 from Albertsons heir Joe Scott and $200,000 from New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
Who made the request of Bloomberg? First lady Lori Otter, according to Betsy Russell of the Spokesman-Review, who buttonholed Gov. Butch Otter about the money during Wednesday nights Capitol trick-or-treating.
With dust settling, I took a breath and broke down spending and fundraising by both sides.
In short, opponents of the laws authored by Schools Superintendent Tom Luna and backed by the Otters have raised $3,563,225, all but 4 percent of that coming from the NEA and IEA. NEA has spent $2,814,636; IEA $600,529. Other sources gave $148,060.
Most of the opposition dough has gone to the Vote No on Propositions 1, 2, 3 political action committee. IEA was the sole source to a new group, Idaho Republicans for Our Schools, which got $105,098. IEA Vice President Rick Jones, a Republican, chairs that PAC.
The Yes side is more complicated.
The leading outfit is Yes for Idaho Education, which has raised $985,474. Of that, VanderSloot contributed $604,000 and his former Melaleuca colleague Allen Ball gave $150,000.
Next comes Education Voters of Idaho, with that $641,160.
The Idaho Federation of Republican Women raised $428,000, all from VanderSloot. Melaleuca gave $408,000; another VanderSloot company, Natural Guardian, gave $20,000.
On top of his contributions to the committees, VanderSloots companies have reported $411,576 in independent spending, principally for newspaper, TV and radio ads.
Parents for Education Reform has raised $150,000. (Not wanting to double-count, that doesnt include $200,350 raised by EVI and passed through to Parents for Education Reform, an EVI affiliate.) The $150,000 came from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce ($50,000), where VanderSloot is a board member, and Students First ($100,000), a Sacramento-based reform group led by former Washington, D.C., School Superintendent Michelle Rhee.
Retiring Rep. Bert Stevenson, R-Rupert, chipped in with an independent expenditure of $250.
Grand total for proponents of Students Come First: $2,616,460.
Dan Popkey: 377-6438, Twitter: @IDS_politics