A political action committee purported to represent a number of concerned Idaho Falls businessmen has seen almost all of its contributions come from companies run by three well-known area business owners.
Campaign finance documents filed by the Businesses for Growth PAC, which has targeted Mayor Rebecca Casper by taking out advertising encouraging voters to support “anybody but Casper,” show the entity was almost entirely funded by companies tied to three individuals: Former Bonneville County Republican Central Committee Chairman Doyle Beck, attorney Bryan Smith and Melaleuca CEO Frank VanderSloot.
Chairman Adam Frugoli said his PAC has taken aim at Casper because of recent tax and fee increases, as well as concerns about government transparency and city employee morale.
“This is what we are concerned about at Businesses for Growth,” he said.
Forbes recently named VanderSloot the state’s wealthiest man.
None of the contributions are given individually, instead listed under a variety of corporate entities and LLCs which the donors control.
Melaleuca gave $5,000, the largest single contribution to the PAC. Spokesman Tony Lima said VanderSloot was on international travel Wednesday and unable to comment.
The Idaho Jet Center, Sunnyside Industrial and Professional Park, and BRP Inc. gave contributions of $1,000. Beck is the president of Idaho Jet Center, the manager of Sunnyside and the director of BRP, according to filings with the Idaho Secretary of State’s Office.
In addition, two other LLCs, Degrand Resources LLC and C4 Hundred LLC, made $1,000 contributions. Searches of the secretary of state’s database turned up no hits for either company. However, C4 Hundred is registered in Montana, and Beck is listed as a manager, and Degrand Resources lists the same post office box as BECO Construction, where Beck is the president.
In all, companies tied to Beck gave $5,000 to Businesses for Growth.
“I think we need a mayor that supports businesses, and I think we need more openness,” Beck said.
Smith’s medical debt collection business, Medical Recovery Services, gave another $2,500.
A final $2,500 contribution came from JBC Construction, where Idaho Falls resident Brian Christensen is listed as the president. Another $100 has been pledged by Stelth Holding Co. LLC but not yet received. That company lists Ronald Hopkins of Ammon as a member and its registered agent.
Filings indicate that Businesses for Growth has spent about $9,900 of the roughly $15,000 in donations on advertising opposing Casper. Expenditures include almost $2,700 to Rich Broadcasting, $2,000 to Lamar Media of Baton Rouge, La., and $5,100 to Riverbend Communications, where VanderSloot is listed as the manager.
Casper didn’t return a phone call seeking comment by deadline.
Reporter Bryan Clark can be reached at 208-542-6751.