Idaho Press Carries Out Hatchet Job on Boise Mayoral Candidate

Early in the week of July 21, a packet of WikiLeaks documents hacked from Hilary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign was sent to the Idaho Press by an unnamed source.

The anonymous source alleged that Boise City Council President and mayoral candidate Lauren McLean is part of a “dark money” political fundraising effort to shield progressive donors from campaign finance laws that would require them to disclose their identities. McLean is campaigning to unseat Boise Mayor Dave Bieter, who is running for a fifth four-year term.

In support of the claimed election law violation, the “packet” included a March 2015 email to John Podesta, then-White House chief of staff. National Education Association director John Stocks had forwarded the email to Podesta, inviting him to a Ketchum meeting of the Idaho Progressive Investors Network, which McLean founded a decade ago. Stocks, a progressive organizer and Idaho state senator in the 1980s, is a member of McLean’s network.

Along with McLean’s meeting invitation, Stocks attached information about Better Idaho, a group that promotes progressive causes supported by several investors in McLean’s network.

On July 25, the Idaho Press headlined the story:

McLean defends political fundraising through organization she founded

The clear implication of the header is that McLean is on the defensive about her fundraising organization. You have to read on to learn that the emails are not about fundraising for her mayoral campaign but about work she did in her profession as an advisor to investors who want to fund progressive causes.

The story begins with this sensational lede:

City Council President and mayoral candidate Lauren McLean makes an appearance on the notorious website WikiLeaks, but she says it’s not in relation to any fundraising for political candidates or “dark money.”

The only actual appearance McLean makes (present tense) is her smiling photo above the lede in the online edition. Her forwarded emails made their appearance three years ago when WikiLeaks published the hacked contents of John Podesta’s computer.

Reading on, we learn that four years ago Stocks wanted to get Podesta to Idaho to take him on a hike in the Boulder-White Clouds roadless area to lobby then-president Barack Obama to designate the area as a national monument. Podesta never came.

In the rest of the story, McLean explains that neither her investors network nor Better Idaho raises funds for political candidates. Their purpose is to connect donors to Idaho causes they care about like education, public lands, and other issues affecting the state’s future. Because the work relates to clients’ financial decisions, members’ names are not published.

Gary E. Richardson is a former Idaho Public TV reporter/producer. He is not endorsing any Boise mayoral candidate but knows “dirty tricks” when he sees them.

The original Idaho Press story can be viewed at

Elaine Clegg Cites Boise Successes and Work Yet to Be Done in Announcing Re-election Campaign

Elaine Clegg Cites Boise Successes and Work Yet to Be Done in Announcing Re-election Campaign

Mayor Hails Clegg as “Conscience of the City”Image1

Friday afternoon, Sept. 18, 2015, Boise Mayor Dave Bieter kicked off city council member Elaine Clegg’s re-election campaign by noting that he and Clegg were both first elected in 2003. He got to know her well in their early years on
the council as they worked through “some really hard, tough sledding,” including the economic downturn, “to see the great times we see in Boise now.”

“Elaine Clegg is the conscience of the mayor and council, and of the city,” Bieter said. “She approaches every issue relentlessly. She looks at every plat; she reads every document. She makes sure that we never lower our standards in any way. She’s never caught off guard; she’s always ready to go. She’s known not only locally but nationally for her efforts in transportation and smart growth.

“As long as Elaine Clegg wants to do this, I don’t want to live in a city without electing her.”

First-class Transportation for 21st-Century Economy

“This is an exciting time for the city,” Clegg acknowledged. “I decided to run for a fourth term because of all the great things that have been happening, but even more importantly because we are on the cusp of so many more. The great things that have happened have set us up for an even brighter future.”

Clegg pointed to several city projects she helped start, which she wants to see to completion.

She noted that the city has done a lot over the last few years to improve transportation by, for instance, adding bus routes to the airport, southwest and southeast Boise and extending hours on State St. and Fairview. “We can do better on providing transportation choices,” Clegg added.

“With the Boise can-do spirit, instead of looking to the legislature to solve the issue, we can together find a permanent and dedicated source of funding for expansion of our transit system right here in the Treasure Valley.” The Idaho Legislature has been unwilling to grant local-option taxing authority to cities for transit funding, so Clegg is working on other, innovative options.

“A first-class transportation system will help drive a 21st-century economy,” Clegg said.

Standing before a group of supporters at the Boise Depot, Clegg noted that she has been pushing for a multi-modal freight system “that will include using this great rail system that we have right behind us, and figuring out a way to move freight from truck to rail and rail to truck and utilizing…a great airport that could also be part of this freight-movement system.”

Helping Businesses “Start Up in a Day”

Clegg has championed Boise’s participation in “Start Up in a Day,” a Small Business Administration project for which Boise recently was selected: “With cities around the country, we’re in a contest …to figure out how entrepreneurs can walk into city hall at eight o’clock in the morning and walk out at five o’clock at night ready to start a business.”

Clegg also wants to continue work on her initiative “to conserve water and save taxpayer money by increasing the city’s use of low-water plants in rights-of-way.” She pointed to several areas where such plantings are already saving both water and taxes.

“We need to work together…to find a collaborative solution to housing people in our community left behind in this economy,” Clegg said. “The bottom quartile of folks…have not been able to keep up, have difficulty finding and keeping housing. We need to do better on this.” The city currently manages more than 300 affordable rental units and has convened a group to find a collaborative solution to unmet needs.

46.53Finally, the work is not yet complete to develop all of the park lands that the city has owned for decades in neighborhoods all over the city,” Clegg said, noting the “greening up” on the Bench with Terry Day Park and in the west with Comba Park. “I want to make sure that the rest of that park land is usable by the citizens who live there “

“Some people say that politics is the art of the possible,” Clegg said. “I understand that what is possible is often measured by the determination we bring to our tasks. Too many in politics dwell on what we can’t do or what won’t work. My Idaho values have given me a more courageous perspective. As your city council member, I will never give up the fight to keep Boise a special place to live.”

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