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Police investigating elected officials in eastern Idaho

| April 19, 2010 9:00 PM

IDAHO FALLS (AP) - Elected officials and employees in Jefferson County are being investigated by the Idaho State Police following allegations of improper competition, conflicts of interest and nepotism, a police official says.

Capt. Danny Bunderson told the Post Register late last week that the agency's eastern Idaho region is in the initial phases of the investigation.

The probe follows allegations in a petition signed by 87 county residents who question the hiring of Jim Boulter as the county's road and bridge administrator.

Boulter is the husband of County Clerk Christine Boulter.

The petition obtained by the newspaper alleges that Jim Boulter improperly benefited by using county equipment to improve canals owned by a company that employs him.

Jim Boulter did not immediately return a call from The Associated Press on Sunday.

The petition also alleges that county commissioners improperly authorized the use of county equipment and other resources to benefit West Jefferson School District 253.

Tad Hegsted, chairman of the County Commissioners, declined to comment to the AP on Sunday. Christine Boulter did not return a call to the AP left at her office.

The petitioners said there were three instances where the county competed with private contractors and vendors, and questioned whether that was legal.

Carl Hancock said he helped organize the petition drive to find out if anything illegal had occurred.

The petition was originally sent to Idaho Attorney General Lawrence Wasden, but Wasden's office declined to investigate and suggested Jefferson County Prosecutor Robin Dunn.

But Dunn and Jefferson County Sheriff Blair Olsen requested the Idaho State Police conduct the investigation, Bunderson said.

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