Bill Description: House Bill 470 would establish the office of election crimes and security within the office of the attorney general and grant the AG authority to work with county prosecutors to prosecute those who commit election crimes.
Does it in any way restrict public access to information related to government activity or otherwise compromise government transparency, accountability, or election integrity? Conversely, does it increase public access to information related to government activity or increase government transparency, accountability, or election integrity?
House Bill 470 would create Chapter 26, Title 34, Idaho Code, and amend Section 67-1401, Idaho Code, to establish "the office of election crimes and security" within the office of the attorney general "for the purpose of receiving, investigating, and responding to complaints or allegations of election crimes."
This office would be granted "concurrent investigative and prosecutorial authority and responsibility with county prosecutors if the office determines that there may be a violation of any provision of criminal law or elections law."
The office would also be tasked with presenting an annual "report to the governor, the president pro tempore of the senate, and the speaker of the house of representatives detailing the total number of complaints received by the office; the total number of independent investigations initiated by the office; and the number of complaints referred to another agency for further investigation or prosecution."
For each alleged violation investigated by the office, the report would also include "the source of the alleged violation; the law allegedly violated and the nature of the violation reported; the county in which the alleged violation occurred; whether the alleged violation was referred to another agency for further investigation or prosecution, and if so, to which agency; and the current status of the investigation or resulting criminal case."
The fiscal note for House Bill 470 suggests that carrying out the tasks mentioned in this bill would require one additional support staffer for the AG's office at an annual cost of $60,00 – $80,000. While this is a minimal increase in the size and cost of government, maintaining and improving election integrity is one of the few duties that unambiguously falls within the proper role of government.
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