A gun rights activist announced Tuesday he will ask Idaho Attorney General Lawrence Wasden to formally investigate the Madison County Sheriff’s Office’s use of certain fees.
Dan Roberts, a logwright and 25-year Madison County resident, requested the inquiry after IdahoReporter.com revealved the sheriff’s office spent concealed weapons fees on guns and a used car, as well as tile and carpet for an office.
“It seems we have reached a stalemate, as the sheriff has said he has no culpability, the commissioners have washed their hands of it and the people looking into it want answers,” Roberts said in a prepared statement.
Madison County Sheriff Roy Klingler said in a Rexburg newspaper recently that his office followed the rules and has nothing to hide. He also took a shot at detractors.
“I stated my position. I’m not going to answer any more questions in regard to this unless they come up with something new and intelligent,” Klingler said.
Wasden said his office is “aware” of the issue in eastern Idaho during a Monday afternoon appearance on 670 KBOI in Boise.
Greg Pruett, founder and president of the Idaho Second Amendment Alliance, lauded Roberts’ decision to request the inquiry.
“Public officials must use taxes and fees in accordance with state law, and we’re not sure that’s what happened in Madison County,” Pruett said.
An earlier IdahoReporter.com story revealed the spending, which happened between 2011 and 2014. The sheriff’s office spent $2,339 on guns, more than $14,000 to buy a used Chevrolet Cruze and tens of thousands of dollars on carpet and tile for office and training spaces.
Gun rights activists in the area allege that spending didn’t line up with Idaho code, which suggests sheriffs should spend concealed weapons permit fee money administering the licenses and nothing else.
Idaho lawmakers reformed the state’s concealed weapons law this year, and added some language narrowing the fee-handling process.
Roberts told IdahoReporter.com he only wants a proper explanation of how fees were handled and if they were used within the bounds of the law.
“I am challenging our sheriff now because people should be protected by their sheriff and not taken advantage of so law enforcement can have nicer things,” Roberts said Tuesday.
Klingler successfully persuaded county commissioners to approve a 38 percent concealed weapon permit fee hike in July 2013, just months before he purchased the guns and used car.