Idaho Gov. Candidate Balukoff: Otter’s New Low

Idaho Democratic governor candidate A.J. Balukoff has the kind of business management expertise that would spare our state from the costly mismanagement of Gov. Otter.

Balukoff said that Otter has mismanaged Idaho’s prisons and Idaho’s dollars:

“Last week’s headlines marked a new low for Idaho’s leadership,” wrote Balukoff in an email to supporters.Governor Butch Otter blatantly ignored a request from Attorney General Lawrence Wasden for an investigation into Corrections Corporation of America’s falsification of staffing records—actions that put people’s lives in jeopardy. Yesterday, he finally ordered the investigation. It took public outrage to do the right thing.

For those who need the back story:

We recently learned that there was never an investigation into the over-billing of Idaho taxpayers by the politically well-connected private prison company Corrections Corporation of America.

(Visit this link to see that Gov. Otter and Texas Gov. Rick Perry received more from CCA than any other elected official–$20k each between 2006 and 2012).

Otter’s managers at Idaho State Police, Idaho Department of Correction, and his own office, all at one point or other during the past year told us that he was investigating this rip off. The Associated Press found out otherwise. Still, Otter insisted that newspapers were “fomenting” public “confusion.” Finally, he listened (most likely to a campaign manager who was reading internal polling results) and decided to call for an investigation.

So, the same guys who were supposed to investigate a year ago, but didn’t, are now really really investigating this time.

Who among us still trusts this governor and his appointed managers?

Here’s a blog post by the Idaho Statesman’s Dan Popkey

Fulcher, Balukoff say Otter better late than never on CCA inquiry

By DAN POPKEY | dpopkey@idahostatesman.com | February 19, 2014

Senate Majority Caucus Chairman Russ Fulcher praised Gov. Butch Otter’s reversal Tuesday in ordering a criminal investigation into the admitted falsification of staffing records by the for-profit Corrections Corporation of America at the Idaho Correctional Center south of Boise.

Democrat A.J. Balukoff also weighed in Wednesday, saying, “It took public outrage to do the right thing.”

On Feb. 7, Otter rebuffed a call from Attorney General Lawrence Wasden for a criminal probe.

On Feb. 13, Fulcher called on Otter to take Wasden’s advice.

Otter changed his mind Tuesday after a meeting with Wasden, ordering an investigation by Idaho State Police.

Said Fulcher, R-Meridian, in a news release Wednesday: “It’s nice to see that Governor Otter finally heeded the call of Attorney General Wasden and myself for a criminal investigation into CCA. As I am fond of saying, it’s never a wrong time to do what’s right. And the people of Idaho deserve answers and accountability from their government.”

Fulcher’s release was headlined, “Senator Russ Fulcher: Better Late Than Never, Governor Otter.”

Fulcher seeks to end Otter’s 28-year run in high office by winning the May 20 Republican primary.

Balukoff, the likely Democratic nominee in November, used the issue in a fundraising email to supporters Wednesday.

Last week’s headlines marked a new low for Idaho’s leadership,” wrote Balukoff. “Governor Butch Otter blatantly ignored a request from Attorney General Lawrence Wasden for an investigation into Corrections Corporation of America’s falsification of staffing records—actions that put people’s lives in jeopardy. Yesterday, he finally ordered the investigation. It took public outrage to do the right thing.”

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