[post_thumbnail]George Soros, noted supporter of liberal causes across the country, now has an Idaho connection. Photo by Sebastian Derungs.
The top bogeyman for the conservative movement has set down roots in the Gem State.
The liberal billionaire isn't himself working out of Boise, Idaho Falls or Nampa, but that doesn't mean the state won't feel his influence in the coming weeks and months through a surrogate group known as the Idaho Civic Engagement Project (ICEP).
While the organization, founded last year, claims to be an authentically Idaho organization, money and support for its work comes from the The Bus Federation and The Bus Project, two Oregon-based groups that have received funding from The Tides Foundation, a leftwing piggybank for all things liberal.
According to IdahoReporter.com research, The Oregon Progress Foundation, the official name for The Oregon Bus Project and The Bus Federation, received $193,000 from the Soros-backed Tides Foundation in 2012.
In 2011, tax records reveal that the project granted just more than $40,000 to ICEP. Tax records for 2012 are not yet available.
The Bus Federation boasts subsidiaries in Colorado, Montana and Washington, along with the Idaho and Oregon chapters. A federation staffer confirmed to IdahoReporter.com that her group provides training to the Idaho chapter, but was unable to say how much monetary support the federal gives to ICEP, if any.
Other liberal donors to The Bus Project include The Lazar Foundation, the Meyer Memorial Trust, the Brainerd Foundation and Kaiser Permanente.
Tides, headquartered in San Francisco, is likely the most notable of the project's donor list. Tides has received funding from myriad groups, individuals and other like-minded foundations across the world, including George Soros, the Open Society Institute, the Rockefeller Family Fund and Heinz Endowments, which is headed by Teresa Heinz Kerry, wife of Secretary of State John Kerry.
While ICEP recently lent its support to the failed Boise bond initiatives, which would've hiked taxes for home and business owners in the Treasure Valley's biggest city, the group says its core mission is voter registration and engagement.
“We've found that many young people simply don't know where to register to vote, and because they move often-even if they are registered-they don't know where their current polling location is,” the ICEP website says.
Why engage younger voters, though? Sure, they don't typically vote in droves and need extra encouragement to get themselves to the polls.
But the reality is that younger voters typically support Democrats and can play a decisive role in elections. According to a report chronicling the 2012 elections, President Barack Obama captured more than 67 percent of the youth vote across the country.
One of The Bus Project's crowning achievements, as celebrated by the Ada County Democrats and the Idaho Democratic Party, was flipping the Oregon House of Representatives from red to blue in the 2006 elections.
ICEP says that it's a nonpartisan organization, but ICEP does not list its board members on its public website.
Emily Walton, ICEP's director, did not answer an email about her organization. The Ada County Democrats and the Idaho Democratic Party did not return calls about ICEP.
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