Boise & Garden City

McLean rejects corporate donations in challenge to Bieter, but she’ll still take these

Lauren McLean, the president of Boise City Council who in May announced her bid for mayor, said Thursday that she would not accept campaign donations from corporations or corporate political action committees.

In a news release, McLean said her decision was “part of a quest to bring needed transparency and openness to City Hall,” a move she said has been “mandated by the people of Boise.”

She told the Idaho Statesman that she has accepted “limited corporate dollars” from corporate PACs and corporations in past races. Campaign finance records from the city show those contributions come from entities such as Micron Technology Inc., which gave $1,000 in 2015.

A PAC raises money and makes contributions to political campaigns on the behalf of a person or group.

McLean said she would still accept money from “mission-driven” groups with sunshine reports, also known as state campaign finance reports. An example of that is the Boise Firefighters PAC, which gave her $1,000 in 2015.She told the Statesman she would not accept contributions “that come from a source with a profit motive,” such as businesses, corporations and PACs that advance their interests.

McLean has been on the council since Mayor David Bieter appointed her in 2011. She won her first election that year and then won re-election in 2015. She announced her mayoral candidacy in May, a challenge to Bieter as he seeks a record-breaking fifth four-year term. Other announced candidates are Adriel Martinez and Matt Kilburn.

In her release, McLean said Bieter “historically raises a considerable portion of his campaign funds from corporate entities and PACs.”

Bieter’s campaign, in response, said that Bieter was “proud to have earned the support of people and businesses from all corners of the community.”

“We understand that after nearly a decade of taking corporate contributions as a politician, Councilor McLean is now changing her position, excluding businesses but continuing to accept contributions from special interest PACs,” a spokesman for Bieter’s campaign said during a phone interview with the Statesman on Thursday evening. “That is certainly her prerogative. Dave will continue to be completely transparent in all his contributions.”

The election is Nov. 5.

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Hayley covers local government for the Idaho Statesman with a primary focus on Boise. Previously, she worked for the Salisbury Daily Times, the Hartford Courant, the Denver Post and McClatchy’s D.C. bureau. Hayley graduated from Ohio University with degrees in journalism and political science.If you like seeing stories like this, please consider supporting our work with a digital subscription to the Idaho Statesman.