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OPINION: Idaho Freedom Foundation provides a roadmap to responsible governing

by JIM JONES/Special to The Press
| April 4, 2022 12:31 PM

Leaders of the so-called Idaho Freedom Foundation (IFF) have provided voters a handy roadmap to responsible government. Doyle Beck and Bryan Smith both serve on IFF’s board of directors. They are also instrumental in running the Bonneville County Republican Central Committee (BCRCC), which was recently called out by the State GOP Chairman for making improper contributions to candidates competing in the May primary election.

Despite a rule prohibiting BCRCC from taking sides in a contested primary, the GOP brass handed out contributions to several IFF favorites — $5,000, each, to Raul Labrador, Priscilla Giddings, Dorothy Moon and Branden Durst. Lt. Gov. Janice McGeachin, Rep. Barbara Ehardt and Rep. Ron Nate, each received $1,000.

The State Chairman gave the BCRCC several options to correct the rule-breaking contributions, but the easiest and most honorable cure would be for those candidates to return their ill-gotten gains. Most well-intentioned folks would return the money.

The list of recipients is interesting because they have been some of the most disruptive influences in Idaho politics in recent years. They toe the line of the Freedom Foundation and will certainly continue to do their utmost to keep it happy. The IFF has worked hard to sabotage Idaho’s public schools, to prevent folks of modest means from getting medical care and to stoke up conflict over any number of non-existent issues just to score political points.

Raul Labrador has the support of 34 legislators, including some of the most loyal IFF followers. He has pledged to provide them legal help for their legislative mischief. Labrador has fiercely opposed the Affordable Care Act and Medicaid expansion, both of which have provided life-saving medical care to thousands of Idahoans. In 2017, he famously said, “Nobody dies because they don’t have access to health care.”

Janice McGeachin and Priscilla Giddings followed IFF’s lead in making the false claim that Idaho school kids are being indoctrinated with critical race theory. The claim was made to discredit our schools. Idaho schools are overseen by locally-elected school boards and kids are taught by teachers who live in the community. There is no credible evidence to support the IFF’s wild claims. There is evidence to support that McGeachin’s office is running a deficit and that Giddings outed and ridiculed a sex abuse victim.

Hot-headed Brandon Durst is an IFF acolyte, who will carry out its efforts to hamstring public education in Idaho. He famously forced a confrontation with a respected State Senator, for which he was condemned for “bad behavior” by Senate GOP leadership.

Dorothy Moon has made any number of false claims about the integrity of the election process in the State, including a strange claim that Canadians are coming down to vote in our elections. County Clerks from across the State and political spectrum have hotly refuted her claims.

Each of these IFF and BCRCC candidates has responsible opponents who have pledged to grapple with the real problems facing our State, rather than made-up problems designed only to get people riled up. The IFF has furnished a roadmap for voters to follow in the Republican Party primary on May 17 — Just vote for those who did not improperly receive BCRCC money.

Lawrence Wasden has done a courageous job as Attorney General. He is not afraid to tell legislators what the law is, not what they want to hear. Governor Little has done a reasonable job of governing, despite backstabbing by the Lt. Governor. Speaker Bedke is substantially more qualified than Giddings. Phil McGrane has an excellent track record for election integrity and competence. Durst has two reasonable opponents.

A responsible slate of candidates opposing IFF’s dysfunctional slate provides a fine roadmap for voters. Those who are unaffiliated (independent voters) may register to vote in the Republican primary from now until they show up at the polls on election day. Eligible voters should not miss the opportunity to support reasonable candidates.

• • •

Jim Jones is a Vietnam combat veteran who served eight years as Idaho Attorney General (1983-1991) and 12 years as a Justice on the Idaho Supreme Court (2005-2017). He is currently a regular contributor to The Hill online news. He blogs at JJCommonTater.

LINKS:

Recently called out by the State GOP Chairman:

https://www.postregister.com/news/government/idaho-gop-requiring-bonneville-republican-central-committee-to-correct-by-law-violations-violations-related-to/article_5027f6b4-27be-5834-88a4-098bf65cbd2b.html

Sabotage Idaho’s public schools;

https://www.idahoednews.org/voices/freedom-foundation-politicians-are-gunning-for-idaho-public-schools/

Getting medical care:

https://www.idahostatesman.com/news/politics-government/state-politics/article225248740.html

Non-existent issues:

https://www.idahoednews.org/voices/extremist-legislators-demonstrate-why-voters-need-to-clean-house/

Most loyal IFF followers:

https://idahofreedom.org/idaho-freedom-index/

In 2017, he famously said:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/powerpost/wp/2017/05/06/nobody-dies-because-they-dont-have-access-to-health-care-gop-lawmaker-says-he-got-booed/

There is no credible evidence to support the IFF’s wild claims:

https://cdapress.com/news/2021/jun/18/editorial-come/’

McGeachin’s off is running a deficit:

https://www.boisestatepublicradio.org/politics-government/2022-04-01/budget-crunch-may-mean-mcgeachin-has-to-work-for-free

Giddings outed and ridiculed a sex abuse victim:

https://lmtribune.com/opinion/opinion-giddings-disqualified-herself-from-public-office/article_2d0c4155-68aa-535e-88e7-7eef3bca0f0c.html

He famously forced a confrontation:

https://magicvalley.com/opinion/columnists/jim-jones-some-statewide-candidates-come-into-better-focus-and-it-ain-t-pretty/article_b35f96fe-6ec2-5388-ac5b-c1f6304681f1.html

Canadians are coming down to vote:

https://www.idahostatesman.com/article259553294.html

Unaffiliated (independent voters) may register to vote:

https://legislature.idaho.gov/statutesrules/idstat/title34/t34ch4/sect34-411a/#:~:text=34%2D411A.,CHANGING%20PARTY%20AFFILIATION%20%E2%80%94%20unaffiliated%20electors.

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