Monday, March 20, 2006

Risch and his money

At the end of 2005, Lt Gov Risch reported $360,000 in campaign debt, apparently to himself. He has carried this debt since the election of 2002 when he spent $437,273 to capture the Lt. Gov office. His opponent, incumbent Jack Riggs, spent $223,518 in the 2002 election.

Risch loaned his campaign: $50k on 1 April 02, $50k on 26 April, $50k on 3 May, $50k on 7 May, and $50k on 10 May, all for the primary. He loaned his campaign $50k on 28 May, $10k on 31 May, and $40k on 5 June, for the general election. Total; $350,000.

Per Idaho law, a candidate can contribute as much to his or her own campaign as desires. Contributions to others are limited. I could find no limit on loans to a campaign.

Since Risch is reporting a round number for his debt, I assume that I missed $10k in loans, and that he is not charging himself interest. He also is not paying off the debt. A no-interest loan that doesn’t have to be paid off is really just a contribution, but that’s not a problem here because there are no limits on self-financing.

Risch either expected (hoped?) to repay the loan some day, or he wanted to disguise the nature of the contributions. I suppose at some point the loan gets forgiven, or maybe it just gets forgotten.

No limits on loans, no requirement that they be paid back, no interest necessary.

Side note; Risch stayed in AmeriTel Inns 5 times in 2005, which they just comped. He shows the stays as in-kind contributions, and as in-kind expense. 2005 was not an election year. I wonder what election activity was happening on Feb 20, 24, 25, 26 and Mar 04.

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