Idaho's top Democratic lawmakers have asked the FBI to investigate private prison company Corrections Corporation of America for possible criminal wrongdoing at the state's largest prison.
The letter sent to Boise FBI Agent Ernie Weyand on Thursday says the lawmakers are concerned that the Idaho State Police lacks both the manpower and expertise needed to properly investigate the Nashville, Tenn.-based company's activities in Idaho.
The lawmakers also say the investigation may cross state lines, putting it under federal jurisdiction.
Democrats blasted Republicans during their annual response to Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter's State of the State speech, charging the majority party with "starving schools."
At a press conference Tuesday, House Minority Leader John Rusche, from Lewiston, and Senate Minority Leader Michelle Stennett, criticized Republican claims that education funding cuts over the last five years resulted from the "Great Recession."
Rusche and Stennett countered these cuts were "choice, intentional and deliberate."
The Idaho Democrats' choice to run for governor was listed as a Republican five years ago.
In 2008, Anthony Joseph "A.J." Balukoff was named as a Republican backer of then-U.S. House candidate Walt Minnick.
Balukoff was among 60 "Republicans for Minnick" during the Democrat's successful run against Bill Sali.
In an August 2008 e-mail from Minnick's campaign, Balukoff topped a group that had "supported the Republican Party with time, with money and with votes. And we will continue to do so in this election and in elections to come," according to the message.
Democrats in Idaho’s Legislature unveiled four bills Wednesday they plan to introduce in the 2014 session that starts in January. The bills would implement the recommendations of the state’s education improvement task force.
Democrats in Idaho are hoping to breathe new life into the party in this overwhelmingly Republican state. Party leaders are hitting the road with an appeal to Latino, gay and lesbian, and female voters.
Members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints make up about a quarter of Idaho’s population, and they’re watching Mitt Romney’s presidential bid on the edge of their seats. It’s the closest a Mormon has come to the presidency. But not all are voting for Romney.
More than 30 Democrats from Idaho are in North Carolina this week for the Democratic National Convention. Sixty-seven-year-old Jim Fletcher is among them. This is his second convention, though he says he’s been involved in politics for more than 40 years. Fletcher works as an administrator at Idaho State University in Pocatello. We caught up with him on his cell phone during a break in the activities in Charlotte.
Q: How has the atmosphere in Charlotte this week compared to that in Denver four years ago?
Idaho Democrats pushed for a jobs package and ethics reform at the start of this legislative term. At the end, none of these proposals made it very far. They announced Friday they’ll renew their efforts next year. Democrats also want a constitutional amendment to guard against mandated medical procedures.