$44,600 of taxes goes toward fight Boise was warned not to enter

BOISE, Idaho (KBOI) - After months of warning the City of Boise it wouldn't work to pass a law targeting panhandlers, the ACLU finally got its point across in the form of a check totaling $44,600 for legal fees.

"At the core of the ordinance was a ban on what you could say and where you could say it in the city," said Richard Eppink, an attorney for the ACLU.

The ordinance would have made it illegal to ask for money in many public spaces, which the ACLU says is a violation of the First Amendment. The ACLU sent a letter warning the city of that while the ordinance was still just in discussion. Part of the letter read, "...By passing this ordinance, the council will be signing the city up to spend time and money to defend a questionable strategy."

When the ordinance was still passed and a federal judge ruled most parts of it were unconstitutional, the city says it pulled the funds to pay the ACLU's legal costs out of the city's General Fund, which is completely made up of taxpayer dollars.

KBOI asked a city spokesman to go on camera and talk about why taxpayers footed the bill for a controversial ordinance the council was warned not to pursue, he declined. KBOI also asked for a statement, but didn't get that either.