AG: Voter guide mailed to Idahoans statewide qualifies as a newspaper

A copy of "The Idahoan" from May 2018.
A copy of "The Idahoan" from May 2018. rbrown@idahostatesman.com

The Attorney General's Office says a recent publication mailed to voters statewide is exempt from Idaho’s campaign disclosure laws because it qualifies as a newspaper.

However, Deputy Attorney General Brian Kane ruled Monday that the publication — called The Idahoan — may not be exempt from federal campaign finance law because the publication is affiliated with political action committees.

Kane says Idaho’s campaign finance law is narrower than federal law. Additionally, Idaho law does not define what is or is not a newspaper.

The Idaho Democratic Party filed a complaint earlier this month claiming the publication was an attempt to circumvent campaign disclosure laws by improperly purporting to be a newspaper.

The 48-page publication included voting guides on candidates and endorsements of far-right favorites.

Kane says The Idahoan appeared to be serving a legitimate press function.

The editors and publishers of the piece are longtime political consultant Lou Esposito and Patrick Malloy.

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