A letter from two Canyon County commissioners to the Idaho attorney general indicates that a recent complaint against Canyon County Sheriff Kieran Donahue relates to his nonprofit that fights domestic violence.
The Aug. 13 letter, signed by Steve Rule and Craig Hanson, refers to a “written complaint by a Canyon County employee ... involving allegations that the sheriff has misused his official position in support of a private nonprofit ‘Man Up’ campaign.
“We have received similar complaints about the sheriff from local taxpayers on several occasions these past years. ... We have encouraged them to contact law enforcement if they felt a crime had been committed.”
The two commissioners also suggested they “may have collateral information of use to your investigation.” The letter was among several public records released by the county Thursday.
Donahue, who has clashed with the Board of County Commissioners in the past on issues including expansion of the county jail, responded with an email when the Statesman asked for comment Thursday evening.
“If the BOCC did indeed receive complaints ‘on several occasions these past years,’ then there should be written documentation and record of these complaints passed on to the legal representatives of the county for investigation,” Donahue said. “If these complaints exist they have never been passed on to me or my office from the BOCC.”
Another public document the county released was an Aug. 7 letter from Donahue to the attorney general in which he acknowledged the investigation and forwarded a letter he had received that he believed contained similar allegations.
“I would note that at least two of your investigators are former employees of the (Canyon sheriff’s office); I trust that investigation into these important matters will be assigned to other personnel to whom no personal involvement or agenda might be imputed,” Donahue wrote.
When word of the AG investigation came out Tuesday, Donahue issued a statement saying he was “confident that at the conclusion of the investigation the sheriff’s office and I will be cleared of any wrongdoing.”
County spokesman Joe Decker said Tuesday that the investigation apparently focuses on Donahue, not the office. In his letter to the attorney general, Donahue said the investigation regards his involvement as sheriff in the Man Up Crusade, which he launched as an Idaho nonprofit four years ago.
Donahue became sheriff in January 2013 after serving as the county’s chief deputy.
The Idaho Attorney General’s Office notified the county Aug. 17 that it is conducting a preliminary criminal investigation into an anonymous complaint but did not reveal any information about the alleged misconduct.
Upon completion of the investigation, the AG can issue a finding that no further action is necessary, prescribe training or other nonjudicial remedies, or issue a recommendation for further investigation or prosecution. The recommendation for further action would go to the county prosecutor, who would seek the appointment of a special prosecutor to handle the case.