Earlier this year, Senator Glenneda Zuiderveld of Twin Falls noticed something fishy about the way in which the Dept. of Health and Welfare (IDHW) was distributing federal grant money. The Idaho Freedom Foundation and its Center for American Education followed up on her suspicions and discovered that IDHW was distributing money that was earmarked for school-aged children to organizations using it for preschool programs instead.
Now this might not seem like the biggest deal, but it demonstrated that IDHW officials believed they were above the law. What else might they be doing that was contrary to the policies of the Legislature? As a state agency, IDHW is subject to oversight from our elected representatives, especially when it comes to spending public money. It certainly appeared that IDHW was ignoring the Legislature and siphoning public money to its friends in the Idaho Association for the Education of Young Children (IAEYC).
After discovering the misuse of public funds, Sen. Zuiderveld said, "It's reprehensible how IDHW purposely ignored the representatives of the people taking it upon itself to illegally fund some of these woke pre-K agendas.”
The fact that this grant was being given to an organization, IAEYC, that promotes CRT, queer theory, and other far-left ideologies to children was perhaps why local news media has been so angry over this investigation. These activists and their friends in politics and media seem to believe that they are entitled not only to public money but unfettered access to your children.
Even former Representative Greg Chaney, who returned to practicing law after his Senate primary loss last year, joined a lawsuit against Attorney General Labrador, trying to prevent him from investigating IDHW.
Six months after Sen. Zuiderveld and the Center for American Education called for an investigation, the Legislative Services Office (LSO) released the results of their audit. To call it “damning” would be an understatement. LSO included eight findings of fault with IDHW, including allocating more than the maximum amount to the same organization because they used variations of their name on their applications. LSO also said that IDHW distributed nearly half a million dollars more than the Legislature appropriated for their budget.
Whether IDHW Dave Jeppeson and his team will face any consequences remains to be seen. However, the only reason this investigation happened is because of brave elected lawmakers like Sen. Zuiderveld. Too many in the Legislature are content to look the other way as state bureaucracies go rogue. Take a moment to send Sen. Zuiderveld a note of thanks for doing her job of standing up for the people of Idaho.