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BOISE — City Council President Lauren McLean has vowed to only accept donations from individuals and grassroots organizations in her bid for Boise’s highest office.

On Thursday, McLean announced she would not accept donations from corporations or corporate PACs in her run to replace Mayor Dave Bieter in November. She has accepted funds from businesses in the past, but McLean said she decided not to take them because of her campaign’s focus on transparency.

“I have never let a donation influence a vote or decision: that’s fundamentally against my values as a leader,” she said in a press release. “But I want the people of Boise to have absolute clarity on this point, that I am accountable to the voters alone.”

In her 2015 campaign, McLean accepted funds from Micron Technology and Republic Services. She also accepted funds from real estate development companies Ahlquist Development, Conger Management Company and several others. According to her annual report for 2018, she has $16,435 cash on hand.

Bieter's campaign reported $59,363 for the same time period. Bieter will continue to take corporate donations throughout the campaign, but he said he deliberately does not accept funds from tobacco companies or payday lenders.

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“There are a lot of great people, a lot of great businesses and a lot of great causes that are helpful to the campaign, and we’ll go forward and hope to raise the money to win,” he said last week.

Adriel Martinez, another mayoral candidate, said he will also not be taking donations from large corporations. However, he will accept donations from small businesses or from individuals up to $500.

“I would accept donations from ACLU or Planned Parenthood or something, but I would never take corporate donations because I don’t want to be beholden to them,” he said. “There’s a reason they donate to people’s campaigns obviously. They kind of do it to have an in with a politician and that’s how it works.”

Matt Killburn, the fourth mayoral candidate, could not be reached for comment.

Margaret Carmel covers the city of Boise. Follow her on Twitter @mlcarmel or reach her by phone at 757-705-8066. 

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