Opinion

Paulette Jordan has questioned our integrity and reporting. These are the facts.

Democratic candidate for governor Paulette Jordan greets supporters gathered at The Handle Bar in Downtown Boise on the night of the May 2018 primary.
Democratic candidate for governor Paulette Jordan greets supporters gathered at The Handle Bar in Downtown Boise on the night of the May 2018 primary. Special to the Idaho Statesman

At the Idaho Statesman, we agree, it’s important to stick to facts.

Politics and watchdog reporter Cynthia Sewell broke an investigative story last week about Idaho gubernatorial candidate Paulette Jordan’s campaign and sudden staff resignations. She revealed one reason Jordan’s former campaign manager resigned — the campaign’s involvement in helping create a super PAC to hold political donations from the Coeur d’Alene Tribe.

Sewell was also the first to report the campaign manager’s resignation, along with those of two other staffers.

She is a highly respected journalist with a long history of accurate reporting, including five years at Boise Weekly and 13 with the Statesman.

Since that story published a week ago, Jordan has questioned the Statesman’s credibility, reporting and integrity in several interviews with other Idaho media.

In her interview with Boise Weekly, Jordan described our reporting as “rumors or rhetoric displayed in the media.” She described the stories as “lies” on the Nate Shelman Show on 670 KBOI. In addition, Jordan asserted that Sewell and the Statesman lacked integrity during an Idaho Falls City Club forum, as reported by the Post Register and EastIdahoNews.com.

Let’s clear up a few things, particularly from Jordan’s Boise Weekly remarks:

  • We made extensive efforts to speak to Paulette Jordan and her campaign staff for our Sept. 20 article. The campaign even helped verify the authenticity of the emails we received.

  • We were not “fed” this story by the Idaho Republican Party.

  • Jordan accused our article of “harping on” her attendance at a California fundraiser, but Sewell’s reporting made no mention of that event. Sewell did ask whether Jordan attended, but her campaign didn’t respond to that question, and we didn’t publish anything about it.

  • We’ve asked repeatedly for examples of facts in the story being wrong — in social media queries, emails and phone calls. We talked to Jordan campaign spokesman Dana Ferris on Monday afternoon. She said she was “not ready to talk” to us and added that she was too busy. We reached out again Tuesday and Wednesday and got no reply.

Political action committees are complicated at best. That’s especially true for federal super PACs, which have convoluted restrictions on how candidates and political campaigns can interact with them.

Jordan’s current campaign manager repeatedly referred to the Strength and Progress PAC as the candidate’s in emails while securing the tribe’s donation. PAC treasurer Michael Davis told us the money will be used for “spending on Federal First Nations’ issues.” Jordan has since said she hopes to use it to support other female candidates across the country.

Last week’s article sought to answer any resulting questions about how Jordan and her campaign staff can be involved with the PAC’s fundraising and spending. It included clear statements by the Jordan campaign, the tribe and Davis on the campaign’s role.

We stand behind Sewell’s reporting and sourcing on this story — and all her stories. Her role is to hold those in or seeking public office accountable for their statements and actions.

We would gladly correct any factual errors. That’s our policy.

And we still look forward to that conversation when Jordan and her staff are ready to have it.

Rhonda Prast is the executive editor of the Statesman. Nate Poppino is the Statesman’s politics and watchdog editor.
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