Sunday, March 26, 2023

OPINION: McGeachin keeps wasting taxpayer dollars

| August 31, 2022 1:00 AM

Leave it to lame duck Lt. Gov. Janice McGeachin to turn her job into something that it isn’t.

To be clear, a zoo animal could do the lieutenant governor’s job when the Legislature is not in session. In fact, a zoo animal might be overqualified for the position.

McGeachin will have a useful purpose (presiding over the Senate) when the Legislature meets in special session. Otherwise, she has no constitutional duties for the rest of her term. Technically, she’s supposed to serve as acting governor when Gov. Brad Little is out of the state, but lately he has not notified McGeachin of his travel plans and who can blame him. McGeachin used a couple of his out-of-state ventures to impose politically charged executive orders that Little immediately reversed upon his return to the state. So, as far as Little is concerned, she forfeited her right to be “acting” anything for Idaho.

But don’t think for a minute that McGeachin will serve the last months of her tumultuous term quietly. She asks, “Is this what you expect from your elected officials?”

In her case, yes.

“Would it even be appropriate for an elected official to do nothing with six months left in a term of office? I would never do that. It’s not in my nature to sit back and do nothing and I think it would be unjust to the taxpayer.”

Again, in this case, give the taxpayers a break. Do nothing, please.

Conservative politicians often talk about limited government, waste in spending and bureaucrats running amok. McGeachin, who seems to be continuing with her failed campaign for governor, has become Idaho’s boondoggle queen. Instead of winding down, McGeachin has chosen to expand the scope of the office. She started by giving a fat raise to a former administrative assistant and elevating “constituent service” operations in her office.

Of course, there are other avenues for constituent services — including state legislators and the congressional delegation. The governor’s office has been known to help Idahoans wade through the bureaucratic maze.

Her most notable role has been promoting former President Trump — as if he isn’t getting enough help from Idaho’s all-Republican congressional delegation. But the delegation is not nearly as blatant as McGeachin. Republican members are not shy about criticizing Biden and Democrats, but they don’t go as far as promoting Trump’s agenda.

There are rules against doing that sort of thing in Congress. But McGeachin, as an independent state constitutional officeholder, apparently thinks she can make up her own rules and cry “fake news” if anyone pipes up.

A few weeks ago, she was gushing about her attendance at the America First Agenda Summit in Washington. As she describes, “It was wonderful to mingle with like-minded conservatives, dedicated to the restoration of America’s greatness.”

The star of the show was Trump himself, with McGeachin dutifully outlining the “America First” agenda. “We must take strong action to ensure that the America First agenda is implemented here in Idaho. We need courageous legislators who are committed to combating the threats facing our country and to restoring the traditional conservative values that made our country great.”

She promises that “You will be seeing more from our office in the coming months as we continue to champion and advance this historic agenda for a free and prosperous nation.”

More recently, McGeachin sent out another press release that included a celebration of Rep. Liz Cheney’s defeat (McGeachin spelled the name “Chaney”) in Wyoming’s primary. “It’s refreshing to see conservative Republicans rejecting out-of-touch elitists who have forgotten who they are supposed to represent. Victories such as (Harriet) Hagerman’s in Wyoming and Keri Lake’s in Arizona reflect a growing resurgence in respect for conservative values and America First principles. Despite the questionable outcome of the 2020 presidential election, the movement to Make America Great Again has only continued to grow. We can look forward to some monumental victories this November.”

McGeachin is sending a message that she’s not going away, which is fine. She may well be running for another office, working to reshape Idaho’s Republican Party, or taking a job with Trump. All that is fine, too.

But there is nothing fine about using a dime of taxpayer money to essentially promote a Trump campaign. Somebody needs to pull the plug on this operation.

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Chuck Malloy is a longtime Idaho journalist and columnist. He may be reached at

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