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OPINION: IFF files, Part 6: Why are they hiding?

by MARY SOUZA/Uncanceled and Unfiltered
| March 24, 2023 1:00 AM

I’d like to start this column with an apology. I’ve been referring to IFF/KCRCC and their associated groups as Libertarians, and that’s not fair to real Libertarians. According to referenced sources, Libertarians believe people should be free to think as they choose. Nowhere do the references even hint at true Libertarians being demanding, bullying, and penalizing others for thinking for themselves. But that’s exactly what the IFF/KCRCC does, so we will have to find a different description for them. Authoritarians, perhaps?

These folks are absolutely not Republicans. So why are they taking over the Idaho Republican Party? I believe they want to hide their radical plans by pretending to be Republicans.

Last week I told you about the many statewide and national groups trying to take over Idaho’s government. Now let’s take a closer look at the local off-shoots of those groups entwined in the web of IFF/KCRCC:

Idaho Tribune is an online newspaper, believed to be managed by David Reilly. But don’t try to find his name on it. As with many of these alt-right publications, they lack transparency. You can go to the web site, where you will still not find any names of the owners/organizers, but you will find a link to the Idaho Freedom Foundation. Bingo. The connection is real.

Idaho Dispatch is another online publication. It’s been around much longer and is run by Greg Pruitt of the Second Amendment Alliance. His name is also not evident on the publication. I recall several years ago when Greg tried to mimic IFF’s bullying of legislators. He sent a red postcard to all of us, demanding we sign a pledge or he would say mean things on social media. I laughed when I saw the card, tossed it in the trash, then asked my fellow senators if they signed. Only one had done so, and regretted it. The funny thing is that Idaho, under real Republican leadership, has been increasing gun freedom for years. We passed bills almost every year to bolster our gun rights in Idaho, and are rated second in the nation, behind Wyoming, in gun freedom. Greg was just trying to gain power and be more like IFF.

The People’s Pen is a website and a physical mailer that looks like a newspaper, but it’s not. It reads like a campaign ad. Newspapers are transparent about their ownership, and name the publisher, editor and give their contact information. The People’s Pen does not. Readers can’t see who owns and operates the publication and who pays for the printing and mailing. Isn’t that important to know so we can assess possible bias? Let’s look closer at the latest edition. The front page title is “Progress Report for the Boss: You the People”. Except you are NOT the boss with this group, and it was smarmy of them to say so. “The Boss” is KCRCC/IFF of course, and the legislators better not forget it.

Inside the latest People's Pen edition is an interview with Maria Nate who is now a lobbyist for the new Idaho State Freedom Caucus. It’s part of a growing network to control state legislatures, as if we don’t have enough of that already. Maria says her network provides legislators with “paid staff, strategy, and a way to push messaging out.” Wow. So who is paying for this? IFF? And what is left for IFF legislators to do? IFF/KCRCC campaigns for them and gets them elected, IFF analyzes the bills and tells them how to vote, and then the new Freedom Caucus strategizes for them, does their messaging and sends it out. I guess their only job is to sit around reading The People’s Pen.

Maria’s husband is Ron Nate, a former loyal IFF legislator who lost his re-election bid last year. But don’t worry, Ron is a Senior Policy Fellow and lobbyist for the Idaho Freedom Foundation’s 501c(3) which is required to severely limit any lobbying activity. How does that work? Nonetheless, the IFF web of connection is real and it is spreading.

We all realize that swarms of people are moving into Idaho. Along with citizens and families, there are organized groups coming in like crazy, especially in North Idaho. We seem to have a reputation up here. But mixed with this population surge is the danger of folks masquerading as good Republicans, when in fact they are either very liberal or extreme anarchists, both bent on dividing our previously strong Republican Party and breaking down our system of government.

Here’s just a small sampling of the many groups, web sites, and “news” outlets claiming to be protectors of Idaho, but they have a very disturbing problem:

North Idaho Freedom Fighters

Growing Freedom Idaho

People’s Rights

Kootenai Journal

Redoubt News

Idaho Liberty Dogs

Stop Idaho Rinos

All of these outlets claim their goal is freedom for Idaho. Most of them have a “donate” button, yet none of them give readers the identity of the people behind their sites. Even their “contact” information is generic. Why is there such a lack of transparency? What are they hiding?

When any group uses fear tactics, behaves in disrespectful, controlling, demanding ways, and hides their true identities and intentions, we should all be on alert and highly cautious. Take the time to ask questions, talk with your friends and use your common sense. This is happening right now in Idaho, and we need to pay attention. Be very careful with your donations and your votes, and please do your own thinking.

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Mary Souza, a Coeur d'Alene Republican, represented District 4 in the Idaho Senate for eight years from 2014 to 2022.

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