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By Michael Strickland

Say this five times fast:

We did do due diligence. We did do due diligence …

The Idaho Department of Correction (IDOC) and Idaho State Police (ISP) leaders are pointing fingers at each other about a criminal investigation that never happened. At issue is the overbilling by Correction Corporation of America (CCA) to the state of Idaho for hours that were never worked. This private prison mess continues to get messier.

Last Friday, the Attorney General’s Office finally decided to call for an investigation. Gov. Otter declined, blaming “public confusion” being “fomented” by the press. It looks like the fomenting was pretty much the result of a lot of double-talk from Otter’s offices and the agencies he manages.

Otter’ appointee as head of the Idaho State Police, Col. Ralph Powell, said he is being advised by his own attorney in the matter. But, he said, there is nothing untoward happening:

“I think that we did do due diligence to make sure the Ada County prosecuting attorneys looked at it,” Powell told the Associated Press.

That claim comes nearly a year after ISP officials, the IDOC, and the governor’s office said an investigation was happening. Last week, a Freedom of Information Act Request revealed that in fact no investigation took place.

From a chronology put together by the AP:


Feb. 4: IDOC sends ISP a letter seeking “independent investigation.”

Feb. 5: IDOC, CCA and governor’s office all make statements saying a criminal investigation is underway.

Feb. 12: IDOC rejects records request due to ongoing investigation.

May 9:   IDOC director tells board of corrections that investigation is ongoing, preventing the sharing of someinformation.

Aug. 7:   IDOC official, under oath, tells a federal judge an ISP investigation is happening.

Sept. 16: IDOC rejects AP records request citing ongoing ISP criminal investigation as reason.
A judge does not take more direct action with CCA, deferring to the pending results of ISP criminal


Jan. 31: ISP says no investigation records exist regarding CCA.

Feb. 6:  ISP says there never was an investigation–”Idaho State Police Col. Ralph Powell says the agency never launched a criminal investigation because he determined that the matter was a civil issue. He said he made
the decision in early 2013 after reviewing Idaho Department of Correction documents and consulting with state and county attorneys. The attorney general’s office and the Ada County prosecutor’s office deny anyinvolvement with the decision. Powell also says he advised the governor’s office regularly on the status of his agency’s involvement.

Feb. 7:  Gov. Otter declines Attorney General Office recommendation for criminal investigation.

Read the full chronology compiled by the Associated Press Reporter Rebecca Boone on Eye on Boise by the Spokesman Reiveiw’s Betsy Russell.

Courtesy: Idaho Democratic Party

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