Audit planned on past sales of Idaho endowment lands

LEWISTON, Idaho (AP) — The director of the Idaho Department of Lands says he’ll hire an independent auditor to review the agency’s records involving decades-old sales of state lands that two environmental groups say violated Idaho’s Constitution.

Tom Schultz told the Lewiston Tribune in a story on Wednesday that he’ll advise the Idaho Land Board on the findings.

The Wilderness Society and Idaho Conservation League using information obtained through a public records request say the state may have illegally sold about 200,000 acres of state land because the sales violated limits set in the Idaho Constitution.

The most recent of the sales occurred in 1987.

The environmental groups say the sales call into question claims by some lawmakers that states wouldn’t sell off federal public lands if they were turned over to states.