Are You OK With Boise Area Utility Companies Donating to Political Campaigns?
It doesn't matter what part of the Treasure Valley you're driving in, it's nearly impossible to get from Point A to Point B without seeing political signs lining the streets.
As Idaho closes in on May 17's Primary Election, political signs are absolutely everywhere. Our mailboxes are filling up with mailers from the candidates. It's nearly impossible to watch your favorite show without seeing a snarky campaign ad. This election cycle has been a lot. If you already know who you're voting for or voted early, you're probably tuning out all that noise right now.
That's what we planned on doing, but we overheard a conversation that made us raise an eyebrow this weekend. Would it bother you if you found out that your local utility companies (gas, electric, water, etc.) were donating to political campaigns?
The transactions you have with these companies are relatively one-sided. They send you a bill. You send them money to keep the lights on, water running and home warm. Do you remember seeing anything on your statement asking what candidates or causes you support? We don't either.
Now, we're not naive. We know that companies we give our money to can turn around and support a candidate that best matches their interests. We just never thought about a utility company that's rather difficult to avoid dealing with being one of those companies.
So just how much has Idaho Power, Intermountain Gas and Suez donated to campaigns? Thanks to Idaho's Sunshine Law, that information is all easily searchable on the Secretary of State's Website. As a paying customer, are you ok with this?
You might not like how high your water bill is. If you live on the Bench, you're probably annoyed that you occasionally have brown water. Fair. But how much are they donating to campaigns? Of the three major utilities in our area, Suez is the only one that has not made a campaign donation in 2022. They did make a $2500 donation to one candidate in November 2021.
According to the Secretary of State's website, Suez has made a total of $3500 in campaign donations since January 1, 2020. These donations went to one candidate and one political action committee.
Every time you take a steamy warm shower or have to turn your furnace back on because it snowed...in May...you're likely grateful for Intermountain Gas. How much have they donated to political campaigns this year? The Secretary of State's website shows the company donated $2,000 to one candidate since January 1, 2022.
If you look at the bigger picture, they've donated $34,550 to 43 candidates and three political action committees.
Idaho Power is where the conversation we overheard started. Since January 1, they've donated $50,750 to 49 candidates and one political action committee.
Expand your search and you'll discover that they've donated $147,300 to 99 candidates and seven political action committees since January 1, 2020.