AG: Beck, Heileson violated campaign finance laws



Two well-known local Republicans face criminal charges for alleged campaign finance violations.

Bonneville GOP Chairman Doyle Beck and Idaho House candidate M.C. “Chick” Heileson have been indicted by the Idaho Office of the Attorney General for hiding the source of campaign contributions.

The complaint, filed Friday, states that Heileson told a senior investigator with the Office of the Attorney General, that he “borrowed” from Beck

about half of a $12,000 contribution he made to Integrity in Government PAC in May 2014.

Heileson told investigators that he had repaid the loan by working it off in trade. Investigators said Heileson told them he has “logs” which track the loan and repayment, but he has refused to turn them over, the complaint said.

Both Heileson and Beck have been charged with misdemeanors. “I am disappointed in the Attorney General’s decision to bring this case,” Beck said in a prepared statement. “However, I have great confidence in our justice system and I look forward to addressing this matter in court. I’m positive that truth will prevail.”

Reached by phone late Monday, Heileson said he didn’t have time to talk.

In and of itself, hiding the source of a campaign contribution carries a penalty of only up to $250 for an individual. But Beck and Heileson have been charged with “knowingly and willingly” violating the law. That adds a potential jail sentence of six months to the fine.

Integrity in Government PAC was formed ahead of the 2014 election cycle by hard-right conservatives such as Beck and north Idaho activist Lee Ann Callear. The PAC opposed many GOP incumbents, including Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter and Attorney General Lawrence Wasden.

Some involved in the PAC have alleged that the investigation is political, pointing out that Integrity in Government PAC bought ads attacking Wasden.

Questions about how Heileson could have made a $12,000 donation were first raised by Idaho Falls attorney and longtime GOP operative Steve Taggart in a column in Idaho Politics Weekly. Taggart pointed out that when Heileson challenged Rep. Mike Simpson in 2012, Heileson reported having almost no income or assets, and that was only two years before the large donation.

And Taggart argued that it’s hard to believe that such a PAC could have raised $126,000 in less than a month, as Integrity in Government PAC reported.

Local political commentators Carrie and Jerry Scheid confirmed they filed a complaint with the Office of the Attorney General after Taggart’s column ran. Last month, the Associated Press reported that Wasden made a complaint to the Office of the Secretary of State before the Scheids’ complaint was filed.

Heileson is challenging Rep. Dell Raybould, R-Rexburg, for his House seat in District 34, which encompasses Madison County and a portion of northern Bonneville County.

Less than a week before the indictment, Heileson told the Post Register that he had won a lucrative subcontract installing heating systems at a car dealership, and that had paid for the $12,000 donation.

“I’ve got a lot of friends that keep me in business,” Heileson said at the time.

Beck and Heileson will be arraigned May 18.

Reporter Bryan Clark can be reached at 542-6751.

Reporter Bryan Clark can be reached at 542-6751.