Lawerence Denney

Idaho Secretary of State Lawerence Denney

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After a campaign finance complaint was referred to the Idaho attorney general for investigation, Greg Pruett of the Idaho 2nd Amendment Alliance belatedly filed a campaign finance report on his TV ad campaign in favor of Rep. Christy Zito, R-Hammett, who is running for the state Senate.

Pruett’s report, filed Monday evening, shows his group has raised $15,869, with $1,600 of that coming from Idaho Falls attorney Bryan Smith and the rest in small, unitemized donations of less than $50; and spent $4,430 on TV and Facebook advertising in multiple legislative races.

Pruett acknowledged that under Idaho’s Sunshine Law, he was required to file a report and disclose his donors of $50 or more when he distributed an “electioneering communication” that “unambiguously refers to any candidate,” and was sent out within 30 days before a primary election.

“That just started,” Pruett told the Idaho Press on Tuesday. “First, there was some discussion internally amongst our group, and I had some discussion with the Secretary of State’s Office, on when that 30 days begins, because the primary is supposed to be May 19, but you can turn in your ballots all the way until June 2.”

Because of that, Pruett said, he questioned “when does the 30 days really begin … because you guys changed the election.”

However, the Secretary of State’s Office told him May 19 remained the election date.

“So some of my board members wanted to go based on the June 2,” Pruett said. “I said it must be safer to just go with May 19.”

The Zito ad, on which Pruett reported spending $2,005, began airing on CBS2 TV in Boise on April 21.

You can read my full story here at idahopress.com (subscription required), or pick up Wednesday's edition of the Idaho Press.

Betsy Z. Russell is the Boise bureau chief and state capitol reporter for the Idaho Press and Adams Publishing Group. Follow her on Twitter at @BetsyZRussell.

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