BOISE, Idaho — Idaho officials have warned Lt. Gov. Janice McGeachin if she was unable to avoid a budget deficit in her office, her salary would be withheld.
McGeachin was ordered to pay around $29,000 in court costs and legal fees after losing her public records battle with the Idaho Press Club in 2021.
The $29,000 was on top of a $750 fine she was issued by a judge for her "bad faith" violations of the Idaho Public Records Act. McGeachin ended up paying the fine out of her office's budget.
On March 11, the Division of Financial Management sent McGeachin's office an email stating her Fiscal Year 2022 budget shortfall would be estimated at more than $22,000.
Since receiving the initial email, McGeachin has received several other emails from various state entities detailing her projected budget deficit. During that time, vendor payments have stopped and her staff has been let go in order to save money.
Even with the savings from letting her staff go, McGeachin still found herself in a budget deficit.
Idaho's Lt. Gov. has received bi-weekly updates from the State Controller's Office. As of April 7, McGeachin's projected deficit stood at around $2,300.
Also on April 7, the Division of Financial Management requested that McGeachin produce a plan on how to avoid a deficit by the end of the day on Wednesday, April 13.
"It is hereby made the duty of every department, officer, board, commission, or institution receiving appropriations from the legislature to furnish upon demand any and all information so requested by the administrator of the division," Idaho code states.
That request is consistent with Idaho code and requires McGeachin to respond.
Alex Adams, the administrator for the division, sent McGeachin an email Wednesday morning, reminding her of her 5 p.m. Wednesday deadline. Adams said she did not meet that deadline.
McGeachin did respond to Adams via email, at 11:45 a.m. Thursday, stating she has "always been transparent" with her finances.
She also said if there is a shortfall in the final month of the fiscal year, "that amount may be withheld from my final paycheck as needed to balance my accounts."
McGeachin also said "of course, DFM already has access to all of my office's accounting and expenditure records, making this exercise a rather pointless formality."
Using the term "pointless" is questionable because there are other issues at hand, such as vendor payments and specifically with health insurance premiums. No decision on that hold could lead to a gap in health insurance coverage.
Adams said they have given McGeachin a new deadline of Monday, April 18 to respond to those requests.
KTVB reached out to McGeachin for comment, but has not heard back. Idaho's fiscal year ends June 30.
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