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Follow the Money

It has been nearly two years since Gov. Little signed an executive order allocating $50 million to his new “Strong Families, Strong Students” program, and we're finally starting to get a glimpse at where some of that money went.

The program allowed some low-income Idaho families to apply for grants of up to $3,500 to pay for babysitting or to buy computers and educational materials.

The money was managed by ClassWallet thanks to a no-bid contract awarded by the Idaho State Board of Education. Here's where it gets interesting. ClassWallet was represented by Strategos Group, a lobbying firm where Tom Luna is a partner. Luna, as you may recall, was serving as the Chair of the Idaho Republican Party at the time this no-bid contract was awarded.

Ordinarily, expenditures like this were recommended by Idaho's Coronavirus Financial Advisory Committee (CFAC) but the Governor had already made his decision (and issued the executive order) before CFAC even met. As a member of this committee, I had made sure that other projects followed Idaho's procurement law. Unfortunately, this program didn't follow those requirements.

So what did ClassWallet actually do?

Not that much. Basically, they provided a website through which grant recipients could seek reimbursements or make purchases from pre-approved vendors. Many parents noticed that the prices were often higher on this website than they were directly from the vendors.

Just how much money did this contract involve?

More than $4 million! ClassWallet received a $250,000 set-up fee, $2.1 million in application fees, $1.2 million in transaction fees, and $277k in reimbursement fees. Another $342k was spent on purchases directly from ClassWallet.

Where did the rest of the money go?

For a good chunk of it, we don't know. More than $22 million went to Staples and Office Depot but another $7.5 million went to reimbursements and more than $7 million was not categorized at all.

The majority of the money appears to have been spent on computers, hardware, software, internet connectivity, and related things, but more than $350k went to pay for daycare and then there is the $7 million that remains unexplained.

Accountability?

Government programs are notoriously wasteful and inefficient, and this situation is no different. Millions of dollars flowed to a cronyistic company and millions more lack any level of transparency.

Perhaps instead of government taxing hard-working Americans and then funneling some of that money back to them through convoluted schemes, we should just reduce taxes and let people spend their own money as they see fit.

I believe it is important to call out corruption and dishonesty no matter what party the offenders may claim. Idahoans deserve accountability and transparency, not backroom deals where connected politicians and businesses collude for their own benefit.

Are Idaho Schools Teaching "Porn Literacy"?

A bombshell report alleges that Idaho schools are teaching "porn literacy" to children under the auspices of the "Reducing the Risk" sex-ed curriculum. Laura Ingraham discussed this subject last evening on her program. You can watch a 7-minute clip of it HERE.

The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare has denied the claims, but has not fully disclosed the scope or source(s) of their controversial "Reducing the Risk" sex education program.

Do any of the materials used in our schools come from ETR (Education, Training and Research), the left-leaning non-profit?

The Lt. Governor's office is investigating this issue and will provide more information as it becomes available.

Media Interviews

This week, I was interviewed by Veronika Kyrylenko, senior editor of The New American. We discussed Biden's divisive political rhetoric and how it exacerbates political animosity and irrational hostility.

I was also interviewed (along with Congressional Candidate Joe Kent from Washington) by Jenn Pellegrino with Newsmax where we discussed the upcoming midterm elections and other current events.

America First Warrior Podcast

The second episode of my new America First Warrior Podcast is now available! You can listen to it by visiting AmericaFirstWarrior.com/episode2. My guest this week is Ryan Spoon, a member of the Lt. Governor’s Education Task Force and a strong advocate for expanding school choice in Idaho.

Sincerely,

Lt. Governor Janice McGeachin
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