Leif Skyving, candidate for the state Senate in District 10, may have violated the Idaho Constitution in an e-mail message to staffers in the Idaho School District, but the man with the authority to investigate the incident, Canyon County prosecutor John Bujak, will reportedly not look into it. Skyving, running against incumbent Republican Sen. John McGee of Caldwell, is a school board member for the school district and used his official district e-mail to solicit support and donations from district employees.
Bujak told the Idaho Press-Tribune in Nampa that the violation, which Skyving said was unintentional, should be handled by the school district and not his office. "It seems that this will likely be handled as a policy/personnel matter within the school district,” Bujak said in an e-mail to the publication.
The e-mail, provided to IdahoReporter.com, appears to have been sent on June 17 from Skyving’s official e-mail address to one address that sends his e-mail to every employee of the Caldwell School District. In the message, Skyving says that McGee is “no friend of public education” and says that he is “shocked by the lack of interest in by a majority of our legislators for creative solutions in regards to the current crisis in education.” He explained that since his campaign began in April, he has visited more than 1,000 households, most of which, he proclaims, are concerned about recent education budget cuts. He also points a finger at the Idaho Education Association (IEA), blasting the group for not supporting his campaign bid because it sees McGee as unbeatable. He describes the lack of IEA’s confidence in his campaign as a “tough pill to swallow” in the message.
But the letter was much more than jabs at McGee, the IEA, or the Republican-controlled Legislature in Idaho; Skyving, who clearly identified himself as an elected official with the district twice within his text, was looking to get in touch with teachers who support his election bid. ”I am writing to you, not only to thank you for your service, but to ask for your help,” he wrote midway through the message. ”That is why I am asking anyone who can organize a meet-and-greet (my campaign will provide refreshments), social gatherings, question-and-answer session, fundraisers, and/or donate funds to please contact me. I would like to meet and speak with as many educators as possible, as soon as possible.”
Skyving told IdahoReporter.com that the e-mail was a simple oversight on his part. “I was not aware of the policy at that time,” he said. He said that though he has had messages of support from teachers frustrated with budget cuts at the state level, no teachers or other district staffers have volunteered to hold campaign events for him.
Roger Quarles, superintendent for the district, told IdahoReporter.com that he has already dealt with the issue and that district employees have been reminded of appropriate use of district resources.