Breaking News
More () »

Former Boise city council member's use of $14,000 in campaign funds raises questions

Some of the expenditures from Sánchez include hundreds of dollars at restaurants, bars and grocery stores, along with money sent to her own P.O box.

BOISE, Idaho — Lisa Sánchez, who recently served as the District 3 representative in the Boise City Council, spent $14,655 of her campaign funds in the non-election year of 2022, according to finance reports – and the Ada County Clerk is in the process of reviewing the filings.

Some of the expenditures from Sánchez while in office last year includes hundreds of dollars at Chandler’s Restaurant, more spending on restaurants like Saint Lawrence Grid Iron, The Griddle, Goldy’s Breakfast and Bistro, Eureka, Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse and Tacos El Rey, as well as a bar in Hyde Park for around $12, a brewery in Garden City for around $10 and a bar in Boise.

Other purchases include grocery stores like Winco, Fred Meyer, and Albertsons, and some spending at stores like Target and Family Dollar. Records also list a gift shop and an expense of over $100 at a candle shop listed as a “general operational expense.” 

In the month of June, money was spent nearly every other day. Later in the year on Oct. 30, 2022, Sánchez spent $233 on a payment to T-Mobile. Another expenditure on Oct. 27, 2022 shows Sanchez sent $906.28 to her own P.O. Box as a “general operating expense.” Additionally, there were payments made to her own P.O. Box in the amount of $61.50 for multiple months. 

For spending comparisons, other council members spent much less in 2022, from Jan. 1, 2022, to Jan. 1, 2023. Campaign finance records show Patrick Bageant had no spending reports to show, along with former council president Elaine Clegg. 

Council member James "Jimmy" Hallyburton spent $18. Council President Holli Woodings spent $2,969. Luci Willits spent $3,334. Most spending was donations to other candidates. Boise Mayor Lauren McLean spent $17,336 – but those were all contributions, mail, and payroll expenses. No food was included.

Idaho law requires that campaign funds must only be used for campaign-related purposes. Specifically, it says that meals and groceries, as well as a home mortgage, rent, or utility payment, cannot be paid for with campaign funds unless they are part of a campaign activity or “function that is related to the candidate or officeholder’s responsibilities.” This is because campaign funds are donated by private individuals and public entities to support a candidate.

KTVB reached out to Sánchez via text and phone call, but she has not responded at the time of publication. KTVB also reached out to someone who worked closely in her campaign, but also did not receive a response.

Ada County is now reviewing the filings after the office received a complaint on Jan. 25, according to Ada County Clerk, Trent Tripple. 

"We will be reaching out to the candidate for more information," Tripple said.

In 2021, Sánchez had to repay $221 in campaign cash when she spent money on personal meals, a carwash, and tickets to a festival, BoiseDev reported.

Bageant told KTVB he heard there were “significant” expenditures made in the non-election year, and he said he would expect the experts to weigh in on the matter.

“Our campaign finance laws are designed to ensure transparency, honesty, and integrity in candidate spending. I would expect the public and the Secretary of State to look carefully at the expenditures of every elected official and to take action at the ballot box or the Secretary of State Office if something illegal is happening,” Bageant said.

Former Boise City Council President Maryanne Jordan said she was not aware of "this level of expenditure in a non-election year."

"It does seem unusual. I can't explain it," Jordan said. "That explanation would have to come from the person making the expenditures."

Sánchez, who won reelection in 2021, was dropped from the council on Jan. 13 after she moved out of her district due to an issue with renting a home. She posted on Twitter that she still hopes to fulfill her term with the City of Boise.

It is unclear if Sánchez has applied for the seat that she lost, but she said in a Tweet on Jan. 10, “I hope this situation will be resolved swiftly so that I may continue my work on behalf of the City of Boise."

Watch more Local News:

See the latest news from around the Treasure Valley and the Gem State in our YouTube playlist:

Before You Leave, Check This Out