Grading State Disclosure 2003 Logo Graphic

I d a h o


golden bar divider

Campaign Disclosure Law
Electronic Filing Program
Disclosure Content Accessibility
Online Contextual & Technical Usability

Grading Process green cube Subcategory Weighting green cube Methodology green cube Glossary

golden bar divider

The State of Disclosure in Idaho

Although it received a passing grade and ranked in the top half of the states, Idaho has significant room to improve its campaign finance disclosure program. Idaho's biggest weaknesses are in the areas of Electronic Filing and Disclosure Content Accessibility.

Idaho has an average campaign disclosure law. Candidates are required to file one statement in non-election years, one statement before each primary and two statements before each general election. Candidates must disclose contributors' names and addresses for contributions greater than $50, but information about contributors' occupations and employers is not required. Last-minute contributions must be reported within 48 hours. Expenditures of $25 or more must be reported and subvendor information is required. Independent expenditures and last-minute independent expenditures must be disclosed prior to an election. Idaho has no electronic filing program for statewide or legislative candidates.

Considering the limited staff and financial resources of the disclosure agency, the fact that Idaho has a comprehensive database of contributions is impressive. The Secretary of State's staff data enters the contributions to create the database, which allows site visitors to search by contributor name and contribution amount, but not by the date the contribution was made or the contributor's zip code or employer. There is a lack of uniformity in the data; for example, a search for Boise Cascade Corporation returns four different results depending on whether the name is listed in itemized records as “Corporation,” “Corp.” with a period, “Corp,” with a comma, or “Corp” with no punctuation. There is no searchable database of expenditures. For those seeking access to paper copies of original campaign finance reports, the agency suggests printing the information from the web site and discourages requests for hard copies of original reports. Paper records cost 25 cents per page.

The usability of Idaho's web site is fair, but some improvements could be made in this area as well. The filing periods could be provided in an index of campaign finance reports and the agency web site could be easier to find from the state's homepage. One significant problem on the site is that a visitor who clicks on the “campaign finance reports” link from the main Secretary of State page, will go straight to the disclosure reports and may miss important contextual information that is only available on the Election Department page. Directing database users through the Election Department page would fix the problem. The usability scores for Idaho's site also indicate that there is room for improvement.

Disclosure Agency: Secretary of State
Disclosure Web Site:

Back to the Grading State Disclosure home page

View another state's summary:


This page was first published on September 17, 2003
| Last updated on September 17, 2003
copyright ©
Campaign Disclosure Project. All rights reserved.