Will Labrador succeed in an effort to politicize county prosecutor offices?

When I served as Idaho Attorney General in the 1980s, there was a strong bond between my office and the elected county prosecuting attorneys (PAs). We worked together to advance the interests of the law enforcement community. The AG is not a prosecutor, but the AG’s office handles all criminal appeals and I worked closely with county PAs to propose and pass law enforcement measures in the Legislature. It would not have crossed my mind to support the election of PAs who would use their office to advance a political agenda. Politics should play no part in prosecutorial work.

It appears that Idaho’s current Attorney General, Raul Labrador, has crossed the line by improperly infusing politics into the race for an important prosecutor’s office. Just weeks after taking office last year, Labrador instituted a meritless, but politically charged, investigation against dozens of child care grantees and Idaho Department of Health and Welfare (IDHW) employees for allegedly misusing federal grant funds. The investigation was prompted by various right-wing extremists who claimed the funds were being used to indoctrinate young children. Litigation ensued and Labrador was disqualified from the IDHW case for a conflict of interest. After all, the IDHW employees were his clients.

After being removed from the case, Labrador hired Christopher Boyd, a like-minded politician, to handle the case. Boyd, the PA from sparsely-populated Adams County, was appointed as a Special Deputy Attorney General and put in charge of the case last August. Boyd may have calculated that the job would enhance his conservative credentials to run for the PA position in Canyon County. Indeed, he is currently a candidate for that position, running with Labrador’s endorsement. A win in that populated county would give Boyd a bigger paycheck while he gets positioned to run for AG when Labrador runs again for Governor in 2026.

Boyd soon learned the case was a loser and agreed in October to drop the case against the IDHW employees. However, in December he said he believed a crime had “been committed” and that one of the employees, Ericka Rupp, had “committed said crime.” He refused to reveal what crime Rupp may have committed, saying that he would pursue a secret special inquiry court proceeding to investigate further. After those claims were made at the end of the year, we have heard absolutely nothing more about any crimes, most likely because there is no legal basis for them.

I have looked into the facts of the grant fund dispute and can find no competent evidence that IDHW employees, including Rupp, committed any criminal offense. Unless Boyd can let Rupp know what the alleged charge is or produce even a sliver of evidence to show criminal conduct, he should have the decency to clear her name and apologize. He should either put up or shut up, instead of just leaving her hanging.

This gives the appearance of a PA candidate misusing his authority, either to make himself look like a fearless prosecutor or to cover up the fact that his AG initiated the investigation without any legal basis, or both. Is this the kind of person we want to entrust with the substantial power that a PA has over the citizens of his county?

The danger is that legislative extremists have littered Idaho’s legal landscape with pointless culture war laws that invite misuse by politically-driven politicians. They include criminalization of doctors, the book ban law, LGBTQ bashing laws and a host of other unneeded zombie laws that sit on the law books like loaded guns, waiting to be picked up and wielded by those more interested in political gain than community safety.

Boyd has allied himself with many of the same political zealots that have supported Attorney General Labrador and villainized Governor Little’s branch of the Republican Party. They include the Idaho Freedom Foundation, Stop Idaho RINOs, Dorothy Moon’s extremist branch of the GOP and the sketchy Idaho Tribune.

We have way too much political polarization and dysfunction in our state government. Extending the political warfare to county PA offices is a bad idea. Thankfully, the great majority of PAs are dedicated to protecting their communities. Voters can keep it that way by becoming informed and refusing to support political PA wannabes.

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2 thoughts on “Will Labrador succeed in an effort to politicize county prosecutor offices?”

  1. I’m so glad you are keeping us informed about Labrador. The last thing we need is for him to be governor. I just shudder to think about that. With the way he is running the AG office can give a hint about what he would do as governor.

    1. Thanks, Yvonne. You are correct about Labrador. He would be an unmitigated disaster as Governor. I’ll do everything possible to stop that from happening. Jim

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