- Associated Press - Sunday, December 20, 2015

BOISE, Idaho (AP) - Idaho Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter has formed a political action committee designed to give money to Republican campaigns across the state.

The PAC, called the Otterpac, was formed earlier this year as Otter heads into his final term as governor.

Otter’s PAC can accept unlimited contributions from corporations, The Spokesman-Review (https://bit.ly/1TV2D03 ) reported. The Republican governor says he’ll likely focus on supporting state lawmakers who have supported or partnered with him in the past.

“I’m not going to go out and take revenge,” he said. “This is more a positive attitude, and a positive effort. You want to continue to support those people that have supported you.”

The PAC’s first fundraising event will be Jan. 9, the Saturday before the 2016 Idaho Legislature begins. Tickets to the gala begin at $500 and run as high as $10,000.

Former Idaho Secretary of State Ben Ysursa says he dissuaded Otter from forming a PAC earlier, who called the move a “precedent-setting endeavor.”

“When he discussed it with me earlier, he was still an active candidate,” Ysursa said, meaning limits would have applied to what people or businesses could donate to his campaign. “If you’re an active candidate, and people are giving money to this fund and to a candidate fund, where do you draw the line for limits? That was the main problem.”

Unlike federal election laws, Idaho permits direct corporate contributions. However, corporations are subject to the same giving limits as individuals - $1,000 per primary or general election for a legislative seat and $5,000 for statewide offices per primary or general election.

PACs can also spend money running independent campaigns to support or oppose a candidate.

“I have no expectation,” Otter said. “I hope I can raise enough to help those folks that have helped me in the Legislature.”

The PAC’s logo, a cartoon otter, is the first time the governor has used the animal in campaign material.

Otter was once told never to use the namesake animal because it would look too much like a rat.

“I said, ‘No, rats have this long, hairy nose, and otters have a cute little mustache and a flat face,’” he said. “But I thought at the time it was good advice. But that logo looks nothing like a rat.”

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Information from: The Spokesman-Review, https://www.spokesman.com

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