A dark-money environmental organization is funding a phony sportsmen group to bolster the campaign of moderate Republican Marco Erickson. The dark-money group is also funding other pseudo "conservatives."
According to recent filings with the Idaho secretary of state’s office, the Conservation Voters for Idaho Action Fund spent $6,570 to support moderate challengers to several liberty-minded House members.
But, the Conservation Voters PAC wasn't courageous enough to slap its name on campaign materials. Instead, the political action committee spent the money as Sportsmen for Idaho.
The funds were spent at a Boise print shop.
According to its filing with the state, the Conservation Voters for Idaho Action Fund acted as phony sportsmen to support the campaigns of Erickson, Brenda Richards, Kirk Adams, Dave Radford, Matthew Bundy, and Peter Riggs.
It’s a curious move for the Conservation Voters for Idaho Action Fund, which usually supports left-wing candidates.
For example, in last year’s hotly contested race for Boise mayor, CVIAF spent more than $260,000 to support Lauren McLean, who beat four-term incumbent Dave Bieter in a December run-off election.
The local CVIAF used big money from its national parent organization, LCV Victory Fund, to support McLean. According to a disclosure report filed with the city of Boise, the national LCV Victory Fund gave the local affiliate, CVIAF, $310,000 in 2019.
Nationally, the League of Conservation Voters Victory Fund, the parent group of the Idaho affiliate, spent $80 million to beat up on Republicans and support Democrats during the 2018 election cycle. Interestingly, a post-election brief released the national League of Conservation Voters boasts of its success in flipping the Ada County Commission to “pro-clean energy.”
During the 2018 election cycle, of that $80 million, the national LCV and its local affiliates lavished $16.2 million on congressional campaigns. Roughly 95 percent, or some $15.4 million, was spent attacking Republican candidates.
At the national level, LCV continues to support Democrats in the race for the nation’s highest office. In the last decade, LCV endorsed Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton for president. This year, LCV endorsed Joe Biden in his run against Donald Trump.
LCV’s largest donor is former New York mayor and failed presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg. According to the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics, in 2018 Bloomberg gave LCV at least $5 million.
Contribution history aside, the Idaho chapter of the League of Conservation Voters isn’t new to campaign hijinks. IFF first reported on similar activities by the Conservation Voters for Idaho Action Fund in the 2016 election, when the group posed as gun owners to support the campaigns of Republican Doug Ricks and Merrill Beyeler.
Both men lost their respective races that year.