The prosecutor found that commissioners Ryan Davidson and Rod Beck didn’t break any open meeting laws since they talked with Labrador before being sworn in on Jan. 4
BOISE, Idaho — How former Idaho Republican Congressman and current lobbyist Raul Labrador was nominated and eventually appointed to the Central District Health Board may have been controversial, but it wasn’t illegal, according to the special prosecutor who investigated the matter.
The Canyon County prosecutor was brought in to investigate if Ada County Commissioners Ryan Davidson and Rod Beck had violated any open meeting laws when Raul Labrador approached them about being appointed to the health board.
Prosecutor Bryan Taylor said he found no evidence of any laws being broken since the conversations about Labrador’s nomination happened before they were sworn into office, and those conversations don’t apply to open meeting laws.
Davidson and Beck were sworn in on Jan. 4 and they nominated Labrador on Jan. 12.
Taylor also said there was no evidence that Davidson and Beck “engaged in deliberation towards a decision in violation of the open meetings law in this matter.” Yet, the two commissioners seemed like they had deliberated on the matter when they immediately nominated Labrador without discussing it in any prior meetings.
Labrador is filling the vacant seat left by former Ada County Commissioner Diana Lachiondo, who lost her reelection to Davidson last November and resigned from the health board in early January.
Prior to being sworn into office and Lachiondo leaving the Central District Health Board, Republicans Davidson and Beck individually met with Labrador about his interest in the board. Then once Laciondo resigned, Davidson and Beck immediately nominated Labrador, the former chairman of the Idaho GOP, to the board, without interviewing any other candidates or opening it up for others to come forward to apply.
The commissioners were not planning on interviewing anyone else for the newly vacant health board seat until Commissioner Kendra Kenyon raised concerns about opening meeting violations since Davidson and Beck were set to nominate Labrador without discussing it with her or in a meeting.
After Kenyon made those concerns, the commissioners would eventually interview Dr. Sky Blue, a local doctor and pathologist.
Ada County Prosecutor Jan Bennetts also asked Canyon County Prosecutor Bryan Taylor to investigate the matter to avoid any conflicts of interest after Kenyon expressed her concerns.
Davidson and Beck still voted in favor of nominating the healthcare lobbyist who once said, “no one ever died from lack of health care,” to the public health district’s board over a pathologist with over two decades of experience working with the state’s public health departments. The two commissioners also did so during a global pandemic that has killed over 450,000 Americans and over 1,700 Idahoans in less than a year.
Davidson and Beck also still nominated Labrador in the face of overwhelming public outcry against him.
KTVB obtained over 500 emails out of 3,200 that were sent to commissioners between when Labrador was first nominated on Jan. 13 to Jan. 18 when the commissioners interviewed Dr. Sky Blue. Roughly 80% of those emails were against Labrador or in support of Dr. Blue. Read every email here.
While county commissioners voted 9-3 in favor of Labrador’s appointment, for at least one commissioner, voting for Labrador was simply their best and only option.
Valley County Commissioner Sherry Maupin said on her Facebook page that it was down to Labrador or Davidson for them to vote to appoint.
“Most likely Ryan Davidson who did not want to serve, would be appointed, we chose Mr. Labrador. We also spoke with Dr. Pate, the CEO of St. Luke’s health system. He asked us to appoint Mr. Labrador to the position from the 2 choices,” she said. “We at no time had the option to vote on Dr. Blue. We have taken the time to do research and gave thoughtful consideration to our choice. This may not be everyone’s preference but we felt was the best choice we had.”
Labrador will be seated for his first meeting as part of Central District Health on Feb. 19.