Updated 5:30 pm 2/23 with additional comments from Ahlquist’s campaign, St. Alphonsus and St. Luke’s.
PAC claims that Republican gubernatorial candidate Tommy Ahlquist founded an organization that supported victims of sexual assault and domestic violence were called into question this week.
According to campaign manager David Johnston on Thursday, Ahlquist founded the foundation’s board of the FACES of Hope, a community organization that supports victims of sexual assault and domestic violence. Johnston then clarified Friday that Ahlquist was president during the forming of the FACES Foundation.
“Tommy Ahlquist was responsible for starting the SART program at St. Alphonsus and St. Luke’s hospitals in Idaho,” Johnston said. “SART is a sexual assault response team that Ahlquist created, and that program organized the people and created a framework for the FACES Foundation to be formed.”
St. Alphonsus and St. Luke’s representatives were unable to confirm Ahlquist was involved in or created the SART program.
“It was FACES that created the SART program,” said Joshua Schlaich, media relations coordinator from St. Alphonsus.
St. Luke’s Public Relations Manager Anita Kissée, told Idaho Reports “Per Dr. King, he and Cyndee Cook were key in developing the SANE -sexual assault nurse examiner program.”
The Ahlquist campaign website currently claims Ahlquist was “inspired to help create FACES of Hope Victim’s Center.”
The multiple claims are hard to follow. There is the FACES claim, then there is the FACES Foundation claim, and the SART program claim. All three are similar, but not the same.
The FACES Foundation came into existence in June 2016, 10 years after FACES Family Justice Center was incorporated.
Ten years after that, the documents for the FACES Foundation were filed, but they do not have Tommy Ahlquist’s name on them.
If Ahlquist was involved with the founding of the FACES Foundation, the people who filed the paperwork forgot to include his name, and they left him out of their history:
The Ahlquist campaign website doesn’t currently claim that he founded FACES, but the Wikipedia entry for Ahlquist does hint at it:
Then there’s that video you saw at the top of the story, an advertisement paid for by the Idaho First PAC. That PAC’s largest contributor is John T Ahlquist Jr., Tommy Ahlquist father.
Ahlquist was the president of the FACES Family Justice Center for a few years, and he was a board member. Representatives from FACES declined to comment on Ahlquist’s current and past involvement with the organization. Ahlquist is no longer president or a member of the board, and the public records don’t point to him being a founder. The Idaho First PAC has not yet returned a request for comment.