A left-wing special interest group offered travel and hotel stipends to Idahoans likely to testify in favor of expanding Medicaid at a hearing last Friday in the Statehouse.

The Idaho Asset Building Network (IABN), a member of a nationwide left-wing advocacy coalition based in Washington, D.C., offered to cover the travel costs for Idahoans who would testify in front of a joint meeting of the House and Senate Health and Welfare Committees.

Prior to Friday’s hearing, Close the Gap Idaho, a state-based coalition built to promote Medicaid expansion here, delivered word of the stipends to followers.

“If you are interested in receiving a stipend to help cover the costs of traveling to Boise next Friday, or if you need assistance arranging meetings with your legislators, please register for our Advocacy Day,” a Jan. 19 email from the group reads.

The link sends interested parties to an Eventbrite registration page built by the Idaho Asset Building Network.

Christine Tiddens, policy director at IABN and a key voice at Close the Gap Idaho, confirmed the availability of payments, but didn’t provide much more information.

“Anyone who registered and participated in the Idaho Asset Building Network Advocacy Day was eligible to receive a travel stipend,” Tiddens told IdahoReporter.com.

Tiddens did not respond to an email asking how many Idahoans received payments from the group.

Local media reported Friday that there was a “large crowd” at the hearing, which legislators billed as a listening session.


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