The Idaho Freedom Foundation’s bark is much worse than its bite

The outcome of the primary election had to be a serious blow to the Idaho Freedom Foundation (IFF). Many of the politicians who have danced to its tune in recent years went down to defeat, including Janice McGeachin, Priscilla Giddings, Dorothy Moon, Branden Durst, Ron Nate, Karey Hanks and Chad Christensen.

The IFF has stoked and thrived upon divisive, confrontational politics in Idaho ever since the Republican Party closed its primary in 2012. Using a suspicious rating system, the organization has sought to establish a reputation as a kingmaker amongst Idaho legislative candidates–score high on IFF’s “Freedom Index” and win, score low and lose. The more extremist IFF legislation a candidate will support, the better the rating. Many legislators were afraid to vote on a bill until learning how IFF scored it.

This election had to be an eye opener for those legislators who believed that IFF’s disapproval was the kiss of death. Several other organizations worked hard during this election cycle to show that candidates could think for themselves and overcome IFF’s scorn at the polls. The one I’m affiliated with, Take Back Idaho (TBI), endorsed a slate of candidates, including most of the statewide offices and 40 legislative positions.

Only one IFF-supported candidate, Raul Labrador, won a statewide office. Its preferred candidates lost for Governor, Lt. Governor, Secretary of State and Superintendent of Public Instruction. IFF board member Bryan Smith lost his second bid for Congress.

The candidates endorsed by TBI were just the opposite of those who would blindly follow IFF’s lead. They demonstrated a commitment to responsible, pragmatic representation, rather than inciting and profiting from hateful conflict. Of the 40 candidates TBI endorsed, 27 won and 13 lost. Some of the races were extremely close–Scott Syme, a stellar person, lost to IFF friend Judy Boyle by just 6 votes.

Some of our losses were quite painful. Sen. Jim Woodward, a Navy veteran and excellent legislator, lost in a hate-filled, truth-deprived onslaught from his opponent.
The loss of Lawrence Wasden as Attorney General will be felt by the State for years.

It is likely that IFF’s opposition to Wasden played a part in the outcome, but a number of other dark-money groups targeted him. The Club for Growth spent almost $300,000 on a scurrilous ad campaign against Wasden, falsely claiming he was a RINO (Republican in name only). Wasden’s problem was that he took his oath of office seriously–to support the Idaho and U.S. Constitutions. When he was confronted with a situation where he could either serve his personal political interests by shading his legal opinions or honestly state the law as he was required by his oath to do, the rule of law always won. That takes true courage and dedication to his sacred duty. His detractors distorted his honest stands. In truth, Wasden was among the best AGs this State has had.

TBI intends to take an active part in each and every future primary election until the malevolent grip of extremist groups like IFF and Club for Growth is removed from our great State. Now that legislators and prospective candidates know that IFF’s bark is much worse than its bite, that time may be closer than some think.

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5 thoughts on “The Idaho Freedom Foundation’s bark is much worse than its bite”

  1. I am heart sick that Lawrence Walden did not get re-elected, our water issues are much more important than worries about librarians allowing people to read books that might make them question the status quo.

    1. I agree, Kathy. Labrador has no knowledge of water issues and no devotion to protecting Idaho’s water resources. We could face uncertain times. However, should he fail to take necessary actions to safeguard our water, suit could be instituted under the private attorney general theory that the Idaho Supreme Court resurrected in the initiative case.

  2. Wasden’s loss was truly disappointing. Idahoans will come to realize that Wasden stands for
    The rule of law; Labrador stands only for himself.

  3. I was heart broken over Wasden’s loss. Not only was he true to his oath, but he served the needs of state agencies very effectively with his staff. He prioritized the array of responsibilities of the AG’s office with the best interests of the state & its citizens in mind.

  4. I too feel Idaho is at greater risk of monies being spent by Labrador in trumped up lawsuits and sowing discord in our state. I ask those of you who feel the same to track his actions and make noise in letters to the editor, your social media, and besiege his and the Governor’s office with calls and letters. If his actions are counter Idaho Constitution, we may run a recall campaign. The number of valid signatures required for a recall election for a state official is equal to at least 20 percent of the number of electors registered to vote at the last general election held to elect a governor.

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