The chart below shows political linkages between the donors to Education Voters of Idaho, Inc., a major funder of the recent yes on Props 1, 2 and 3 campaign. All three propositions failed in Tuesday’s election, setting back Idaho Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Luna’s reform agenda.

Idaho’s Fourth District Court forced EVI to reveal the names of its donors just one week prior to the November 6 election. Headlines focused on one surprising name on the group’s financial disclosure form: New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, but we were curious what tied the other large donors to this cause.

To find out, we took the 25 individual and corporate donors listed on the group’s 11th hour campaign financial disclosure reports, filed with the Idaho Secretary of State’s office, and ran them through the Sunlight Foundation’s Influence Explorer API, which facilitates searches of Federal Election Commission campaign contribution data. The search returned a long list of every federal donation that EVI’s 25 large donors had on file with the FEC. We plugged this information into Google Fusion Tables, and were able to map the contributions based on source, recipient and amount, as you can see below.

At this time, it is not possible to show contribution amounts between nodes of this diagram, but you can view the raw data in the chart below. Also note that we removed the Farm Bureau from the dataset because the sheer number of Farm Bureau contributions nationwide overwhelmed our visualization.

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The views and opinions expressed here are those of the writer and do not necessarily reflect those of Boise State University, the Center for Idaho History and Politics, or the School of Public Service.

  • We will be posting a story very soon with some details about the folks represented by blue dots above (and a few of the yellow ones too) … any suggestions, tips or further reading is much appreciated. Thanks!

    • JamesGatz

      See Diane Ravitch’s blog at You’ll see some of these names pop up there. More important, Dr. Ravitch, an education historian and former U.S. Assistant Secretary of Education, has done a good job of explaining why, for instance, hedge fund managers have taken such a keen interest in education reform. Did you know, for instance, that John J. Fisher, who contributed $5,000 through Education Voters of Idaho, is Co-Chair of the venture capital fund Charter School Growth Fund, which invests in charter schools, providing financing, business planning support, coaching and other resources to charter schools? It and other funds float bond issues to charter schools at a lucrative 9% rather than the more common 3% ordinarily charged to municipalities for public schools.

  • Chordsman

    I think the much bigger story is that the NEA put in about $2.8 million for the “No” votes, which is over 1.5x the amount of all the “Yes” money combined. All other contributors on both sides combined were dwarfed by the largely out-of-state NEA (Idaho has about 0.5% of the US population, so even if the NEA in Idaho had 4x more than population proportional membership, that’s still only 2% Idaho membership. This is out-of-state money practically speaking.)

    • Agreed the NEA money is significant as well, as is the VanderSloot money, which went into a different pro-propositions PAC … I thought this particular group was interesting in that most of these donors believed that their names would not be public.

  • idahomay

    Sure there is the issue about out of state interests (both sides, whatever their motivations) working to influence Idaho voters, however we shouldn’t be surprised that this became a partisan issue– the potential defeat of the ballot issues seen as as a repudiation of the Republican State Supt of Instruction; and under the covers, a rejection of one of ALEC’s initiatives. When you take a look at who (instate/out-of-state) contributes to the big partisan races in Idaho in the past few campaigns, you’ll see the same, I think: the money for media is overwhelmingly from out of state — both sides. So neither the out-of-state donations or the partisan nature of the campaign re: Props 1, 2, 3 is anything out of the ordinary for Idaho.

  • I love the fact that there’s a special interest group called “Californians Against Special Interests”

  • Nicole

    Does anyone else think it’s weird that so much money is spent on really bad ads. They should just lay out the laws in non-legal jargon for people to decide themselves and stop wasting so much money.

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