- Associated Press - Monday, May 23, 2016

BOISE, Idaho (AP) - A second former employee is backing a wrongful termination claim against Idaho State Treasurer Ron Crane.

The Idaho Statesman reports (http://bit.ly/244zHGY) in a story on Sunday that Travis Schaat supports the claim that Chris Priest, a senior co-worker, was fired in retaliation for reporting a waste of public money.

Priest filed the claim earlier this month arguing that his dismissal in November from the investment division violated the state’s whistleblower law. Priest’s claim seeks upwards of $200,000 for prior and ongoing lost wages. The state has 90 days to respond.

Crane declined to comment because the issue is a personnel matter.

According to emails provided by Schaat, Crane requested amending the minutes to an investment advisory board meeting in 2015 that would remove negative comments and add more flattering language.

In one email, Crane said he wanted to remove the negative references because it “could be taken as a negative comment by a member of the press or a political opponent.” Crane added that he lives in a political environment and has to deal with the consequences of what the record reflects.

Schaat responded that he was uncomfortable editing a public record based on the press’s reception or that of a possible political opponent; he then asked to be relieved of his secretarial duties.

Schaat and Priest were fired in November shortly after the board agreed to no longer record the meetings.

“If you ask a large percentage of Idahoans who the state treasurer is or what the state treasurer does, they don’t know,” he said. “But the state treasurer is handing billions of taxpayer dollars. The decisions that are made under his realm are felt throughout the state and (by) the taxpayers.”

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Information from: Idaho Statesman, http://www.idahostatesman.com

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