Idaho taxpayer says Janice McGeachin’s office hours violate the law
An Idaho taxpayer who is active in Republican politics filed a complaint with three different state agencies Wednesday afternoon demanding an investigation into whether Lt. Gov. Janice McGeachin’s limited office hours violate the law of the state.
Lynn Bradescu, a Boise-area realtor, emailed a written complaint to the Idaho Attorney General’s Office, the Idaho Secretary of State’s Office, and Governor Brad Little’s Office, say public records obtained by the Idaho Capital Sun.
McGeachin is running for governor in the May 17 Republican primary election, where she faces Little and a field of six other GOP candidates.
In the complaint, Bradescu pointed to a section of Idaho law that relates to office hours for public officials in the state of Idaho.
“Except as otherwise provided by law, each office shall keep its office open for the transaction of business from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. each day except Saturdays, Sundays, holidays, and days when the office is closed due to compulsory leave without pay” , the law section reads.
A sign posted outside McGeachin’s office door at the Idaho State Capitol on Wednesday said his office hours were 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays. The voicemail greeting from McGeachin’s office also says the hours are 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
A reporter for the Idaho Capital Sun called McGeachin’s office and knocked on the door outside his office shortly before 1:45 p.m. Wednesday, but did not receive a response. A curtain was drawn over the window of his office and the lights seemed to be off.
“Given that the Idaho Legislature has funded the office of the lieutenant governor to include three full-time positions, I ask you on behalf of the taxpayers to investigate whether the office violates this law,” Bradescu wrote in his complaint. .
McGeachin’s office faces budget shortfall following lawsuit loss
McGeachin is working without paid staff after state officials repeatedly warned her that she was expected to run a budget deficit at the end of fiscal year 2022, which ends June 30.
McGeachin’s budget troubles began after an Idaho district judge in 2021 ordered him to pay nearly $29,000 in legal fees and costs to the Idaho Press Club, which sued McGeachin for access to the records audiences that it had unduly withheld. The Idaho Press Club won the case and the judge ordered McGeachin to turn over the records, which showed the public comments were highly critical of McGeachin and his education task force in 2021.
The state also suspended supplier payments to McGeachin’s office, and McGeachin told state officials to withhold his salary and benefits to avoid a budget shortfall. However, on Monday, a state budget administrator warned McGeachin that state law places limits on the ability to cut an elected constitutional officer’s salary midterm in order to avoid a budget shortfall.
The Idaho Constitution prohibits the state and elected officials, such as the lieutenant governor, from spending more money than is authorized by the Idaho Legislative Assembly.
On Monday, McGeachin released a statement saying his office’s budget was balanced.
“The media continues to manufacture controversies where there are none,” McGeachin said in his statement. “The Lieutenant Governor’s budget is balanced. Our office had unforeseen legal expenses due to the Idaho Press Club suing us for our efforts to keep Idaho conservatives and their children from being doxed by the media.
“Our office has made the necessary cuts and adjustments to cover these costs, and Idaho taxpayers will not need to provide additional funding for this office,” McGeachin added.
During the recent 2022 legislative session, McGeachin tried to get the Idaho Legislature Joint Committee on Finance and Appropriations to approve nearly $29,000 in additional taxpayer funding for his office, but JFAC never acted on McGeachin’s request.
McGeachin was not in her office on Wednesday, but she was preparing and promoting a gubernatorial campaign event on Wednesday evening that is expected to feature an appearance by former Fox News contributor Michelle Malkin, who according to the Southern Poverty Law Center and the Anti Defamation League, has ties and has appeared on stage with white nationalists.
Complaint comes from Idahoan active in Republican politics
Bradescu, the Idahoan who filed the complaint, is active in local Republican politics and has made campaign donations to several GOP candidates running in 2022, including Ed Humphreys, a top McGeachin opponent. Bradescu is president of the Ada County Lincoln Day Association and is legislative chairwoman for District 19 and a member of the ward committee.
In March, Bradescu wrote an opinion piece that was published in the Idaho Capital Sun calling on McGeachin to step down and urging more Republicans to condemn her.
Publicly available online campaign finance records indicate that Bradescu also made campaign contributions or in-kind donations to Lieutenant Governor candidate Priscilla Giddings, Secretary of State candidate Phil McGrane, Legislative candidate Sebastian Griffin, Ada County sheriff candidate Douglas Traubel, former Boise City Council candidate Greg MacMillan, as well as Humphreys and Republican Central Committees in Blaine and Gooding counties.
The winners of the May 17 primary elections qualify for the November 8 general election.
Idaho Capital Sun reporter Kelcie Moseley-Morris contributed to this report.