Idaho Falls, Idaho -- The Idaho Freedom Foundation asked Ammon Mayor Dana Kirkham and City Council members to refund local taxpayers after using city resources to lobby for a school tax increase.
“Ammon city officials should make the honest and lawful decision to pay back the money used to lobby for this controversial tax hike,” IFF Eastern Idaho Field Officer Lindsay Russell Dexter said Thursday. “Ammon residents deserve better than city officials using taxpayer money to beg for more taxpayer money.”
Kirkham, along with the city’s six council members, used taxpayer-funded resources to print and send a letter supporting District 93’s upcoming bond issues, a divisive election in the Idaho Falls community. Ammon’s city manager confirmed to IdahoReporter.com Wednesday the city funded the expense.
“Kirkham and her colleagues are certainly welcome to add to the dialogue, but they cannot force residents to fund their lobbying,” Russell Dexter added. “Kirkham and City Council members must refund the city for all costs associated with sending the letter.”
A 1996 legal opinion written by the Idaho Attorney General’s Office says Article 7, Section 10 of the Idaho Constitution strictly prohibits public employees from engaging in this kind of activity.
“State employees may not use state time or resources for any purpose not authorized by law and certainly not for use in political or campaign-related activity,” Deputy Attorney General Kevin Satterlee wrote. “Thus, as with the prohibitions above, it is illegal for a state employee to use state resources, such as the computer and the state’s Internet services, for political or campaign-related purposes,” the document says.
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