By Lyndsie Kiebert
Sagle resident Bill Harp is filing an objection with the county prosecutor over his concern that Dan McDonald, who is running for reelection in the Bonner County Commissioners’ office, might be unlawfully using public resources to campaign.
Harp, the former director of technology for Bonner County, cited several of McDonald’s campaign videos — available on his campaign Facebook page — as violations.
“I think it is inappropriate to use your County office, the Commissioner’s briefing room, your official Commissioner name tag and other County resources in recording your campaign related videos,” Harp wrote in an email on Oct. 10 to McDonald, with copies to several other county officials on the message. “I suggest you remove those videos from your campaign web sites as soon as possible. In my opinion, citizens should not be subsidizing your campaign expenses.”
Harp expressed the same concerns to Bonner County Clerk Mike Rosedale and Deputy Secretary of State Tim Hurst via email, and cited an Idaho statute meant to prevent public figures from using “public property or resources to advocate for or against a candidate or a ballot measure.”
Hurst informed Harp he needed to register his complaint with Bonner County Prosecuting Attorney Louis Marshall. As of Wednesday, Harp said the ball is in Marshall’s court.
At the BOCC business meeting Tuesday, Harp made public comment regarding his concerns about McDonald’s campaign videos. County attorney Scott Bauer said that because county officials are involved in advising the BOCC, he’ll see that a Kootenai County official reviews Harp’s objection as well.
Harp also shared Tuesday that a public records request he submitted on Oct. 8 asking for all of McDonald’s emails for the past two months had not yet been acknowledged. Rosedale and others in attendance confirmed that the request, which Harp submitted via email, had been categorized as spam and therefore was not seen until Monday when Rosedale was emptying his junk mail.
Bauer, who was copied on several of Harp’s emails, apologized for the delay in communication.
“There was no deliberate attempt (to ignore the emails), at least on my part, I can assure you,” Bauer said. “I would personally want to answer your emails quickly.”
Commissioner Glen Bailey said Veronica Dixon, who processes the office’s public records requests, would not be in the office until later this week, but assured Harp the request would be honored then.
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