Follow the money: With largely national cash, conservation voters light up ads for Boise candidates

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Conservation Voters for Idaho will make a big statement in the Boise Mayoral Election.

Fueled by an infusion of cash from the national League of Conservation Voters Victory Fund, CVI has started spending heavily in the market, with signs of more dollars to come.

In its October 10th disclosure to the City of Boise, CVI’s Action Fund reported $92,804 in its war chest – the most of any PAC that filed with the city. It started with $64,504 on hand at the start of the year, and pulled in another $32,100 in contributions – including a $25,000 check from the LCV Victory Fund out of Washington DC.

According to OpenSecrets, LCV’s top donors during the 2018 election cycle include former NYC mayor Michael Bloomberg, Bain Capital’s Joshua Bekenstein

Last year, CVI’s Action Fund took in a $1,000 donation from Boise Mayor Dave Bieter’s campaign, as well as another $50,000 from the League of Conservation Voters.

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Facebook, TV ads

On October 9th, CVI started running a flurry of Facebook ads supporting Boise mayoral candidate Lauren McLean. Seven different ad creatives touting McLean are active on Facebook. Another four ads backing the combination of Meredith Stead and Patrick Bageant are also active. The organization also is running two voter information ads – one in Enlight and another in Spanish.

CVI ads
Screenshot of some of the ads Conservation Voters for Idaho is running on Facebook in Boise.

CVI spent $1,980 on Facebook ads in the past seven days. Facebook’s ad library tool does not allow a more granular look at spending breakdown.

In addition, FCC political filings show CVI reserved time on KTVB-TV for political ads via a local ad agency. FCC rules do not require stations to disclose the dollar amount of the ad buy for ads that are not of “national importance.”

Political Action Committees are barred from coordinating with candidates or campaigns. The CVI ads on Facebook use widely-available images of McLean, Stead and Bageant – as well as McLean’s campaign logo.

Conservation Voters for Idaho endorsed McLean, Stead, Bageant and Elaine Clegg in Boise, as well as other candidates around the state.

Election Day is November 5th.

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