No more Gab for Idaho

gab logoIdaho state employees and legislators can no longer Gab on state computers and networks.

The controversial libertarian-leaning website Gab is now blocked by the Idaho state IT department.  

“We do not specifically block this site,”  said Jon Pope, Chief of Operations for IT Services in the Executive Office of the Governor. “However, as part of the automated protections in our firewall, this site falls into a security rating of ‘questionable.'”gab

The “free speech” website entered the zeitgeist in the wake of the Pittsburgh synagogue shootings when it was discovered that minutes before the incident Robert Bowers posted “I’m going in” on the Gab. Bowers then allegedly killed 11 people and injured many more in the anti-semitic attack.

Searches indicate there are Idaho members of Gab, but it’s unclear how many, nor is it clear if the website had been frequented by state employees or individuals on the state system before the site was blocked.

Gab was accessible by state computers through the beginning of 2019 before it was flagged as a possible “threat introduced to our network,” said Pope.

Last November, Gab had 800,000 users, including far-right personalities like Richard Spencer and Alex Jones.

The site calls itself a laissez-faire platform for discussion but has been characterized by multiple scholars as a safe haven for hate speech.

Facebook, Twitter, and Reddit are still accessible through the Idaho state network.

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Proposed workload standards might not save Idaho from the courts

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By Seth Ogilvie, Idaho Reports

New rules addressing public defense in Idaho could have huge implications on the ability of indigent Idahoans to receive a fair trial and the state to fend off a lawsuit from the ACLU.

On Monday, the Senate Judiciary and Rules Committee accepted new public defender workload standards. The change would cap public defender workloads at two active capital cases at a time, as well as 210 non–capital felonies, 520 misdemeanor cases, 232 juvenile cases, 608 civil cases, or 35 non–capital substantive appeal cases a year.  

“There are approximately 16 states with standards,” said Kathleen J. Elliott, Executive Director of the Idaho State Public Defense Commission. “Idaho is a leader and one of only a few states that conducted an actual study.”

The study assumes 2,080 work hours in a year, according to Elliot. The math on 2,080 hours paints an interesting picture. That would mean public defenders would be able to work a full 40 hour week worth of casework, for 52 out of the 52 weeks in a year. They would not have time for vacation or sick time. That number leaves no time for travel or administrative and clerical work they may be responsible for, without exceeding a typical 40 hour work week. They would be able to work full time on cases every week of the year and then do every other job requirement on top of these hours and still meet the expectations of the survey.

In a nutshell, that means public defenders who hit the maximum on these standards would take no vacation and no sick time, or they work far more than 40 hours a week.

“It needs to be an Idaho-based system, so we did the Idaho study,” said Chairman Todd Lakey, R-Nampa. “This may not be the final, end-all answer, but it’s a good start, and it substantially increases the standards, which again means we’ve got to fund it.”

“I’m a bit disturbed when I hear we can’t afford to comply with the constitution,” said Sen. Mark Nye, D-Pocatello, upon learning of possible problems funding the new guidelines.

The Idaho Association of Counties had previously opposed the standards. “Counties have born the brunt of financing this system,” said executive director Seth Grigg. On Monday, though, the association remained neutral “because compliance with the standards is tied to funding from the state.”

The Public Defense Commission standards allow for a higher caseload than the National Advisory Commission on Criminal Justice Standards, or NAC, standards.  These standards were created in the seventies, long before advanced forensics and audio and video recordings became prevalent in trials. These modern pieces of evidence require more extended case hours. NAC standards permit defending attorneys no more than 150 felonies, 400 misdemeanors, or 200 juvenile court cases.

“It’s going to result in ongoing Sixth Amendment rights violation for people who are charged with crimes, and this probably also means more people in prison,” said Kathy Griesmyer of ACLU Idaho. “It’s this assembly line of, you meet your client, and you plead them out because that’s all you have time for.”

The American Bar Association says NAC caseload standards “should in no event be exceeded.” Despite this warning, the Idaho standards allow for ongoing workloads for attorneys in Idaho that go beyond this standard.

That doesn’t worry Lakey. “Their numbers weren’t generated by an empirical study,” he said, referring to the NAC standards. “It was people sitting in a room at a hotel at a conference coming up with, ‘Here’s what I think it should be.’”

According to 2018 caseload reports, over 50 percent of indigent cases in Idaho were handled by attorneys with caseloads exceeding the PDC standard, and attorneys violating the NAC standard handled almost 90% of cases.

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A December motion made by the ACLU in Tucker v. Idaho states it bluntly: “The undisputed factual data makes it plain that, at best, no more than half of indigent defendants in Idaho are being assigned to defending attorneys who are not overextended by caseloads that force them to triage individual cases. The other half of the cases, or more, are being handled by attorneys who are forced to triage and prioritize cases due to excessive caseloads.”

The 2018 reports don’t only reveal a system that surpasses the PDC standards but highlights many individuals who exceed the limits. An attorney in Payette County, who resides in the judiciary committee’s Vice Chair Sen. Abby Lee’s district, reported handling 63 felony cases, 776 misdemeanor cases, 105 juvenile cases, 34 felony probation cases, 32 family law cases, and 71 misdemeanor probation cases.

Based on the PDC proposed caseload standards and 2018 reports, Idaho would need around 28 new attorneys added into the system to meet its PDC requirements. If Idaho were to adopt the “not to be exceeded” NAC standards, they would need to hire around 75 new attorneys.

“The numbers that were proposed were adjusted to diminish the number of attorneys that are needed,” said Griesmeyer. “Despite knowing that, they would still be excessively high caseloads that attorneys would be asked to take on.”

These numbers are likely not even the full picture. Thirty-eight counties allow defense attorneys to have a private practice, adding even more work on top of their indigent defense caseloads. “I mean, the study was what it was and it’s still three times the standards,” said Lakey. “And everybody’s nervous about how we’re gonna pay for it.”

Time is of the utmost importance for the state, both for the people currently in the system and the looming litigation. “We cannot procrastinate on this,” said Elliott. “We need to make ongoing improvements to the system.”

The adoption of these rules sits in the shadow of the ACLU lawsuit against the State of Idaho, meaning the real PDC standards may be set in a courtroom, not in the legislature.

“If the state was not interested in having this lawsuit, they should be significantly considering the recommended suggestions by the ACLU, and we’ll be asking a judge to decide,” said Griesmyer. “It’s not a threat, but just a really encouraged suggestion.”

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Much ado about… nothing?

img_2920.jpegBy Devon Downey, Idaho Reports

A group of Ada County election officials and volunteers were ready to scrutinize the nearly 18,000 ballots cast this November, looking for 7 votes that would kick Sen. Martin out of office and replace him with Jim Bratnober.

Six votes stood between a complete flip of District 15 from Republicans to Democrats with Reps. Luker and McDonald already losing their races. With such a small margin, it was clear that a recount would be requested.

The recount process for this race is dictated by Idaho law. A sample of 5% of the votes cast is to be counted by hand, compared to the results from election night, and then counted by machine. If the difference is 1% or more, then a hand recount will be required. If not, machines will recount the votes.

To put this in perspective, 1% of a sample this small could mean that there is a large number of votes changed throughout the district. 5% of the total votes in District 15 would be 895. To trigger a hand recount, 9 votes would need to change. If only 8 votes change, a machine recount would still be used.

Extrapolating that to the entire District means that there could be 160 votes that were miscalculated by the machines, but will still be recounted by machines because that wasn’t enough of an error to require a recount by hand. That total is over 26 times larger than the margin between Martin and Bratnober.

CWI could be even larger. Over 175,000 ballots were cast, meaning that there could be a change of 1,740 votes throughout the county that could change and not be recounted by hand. That is over 12 times what CWI needs for the levy to pass.

Even without a hand recount, the election results could be changed.

The recount process started on December 3rd when Ada County officials and volunteers did a hand recount of roughly 5% of the total vote in the district. 926 ballots were counted from the second precinct in the district, all of which were cast on election day.

The ballots were split between 9 teams of 4 volunteers who would check and record each vote.

Around 9:50, Ada County Chief Deputy Clerk (and Ada County Clerk-elect) Phil McGrane explained that the hand recount matched the results from election night. 

Well, they did after a minor math issue that terrified the vote counters.

McGrane explained that when calculating the votes, some of the columns were misleading, causing everyone to count ten more votes than there really were. This lead to a preliminary count that added an extra 180 votes.

After finding that mistake, everything went smoothly. Officials started using the machines to count the sample. If the machine recount were off by 1% or more, then a hand recount would have been triggered.

But just like the hand recount, the machine recount had the same totals that were found on election night.

These recounts should “make people feel more confident,” McGrane said. The most important thing was to get the count right.

When asked about his preferences for recounts, McGrane expressed reservations about recounting all of the ballots by hand, explaining that human error usually makes problems more likely. Machines don’t have the same errors that humans do and therefore are better equipped to handle recounts.

Volunteers started working on the sample for the CWI levy after they finished the Senate recount. McGrane stated that they are counting 9,615 ballots for that sample from 10 to 12 precincts.

IMG_2921Like District 15’s recount, the numbers will be tallied at the end and compared to the election night results. When that is done, they will do a machine recount. If the results match, there will be a machine recount for all of Ada County’s ballots. A hand recount will be done if those results vary by more than 1%.

While the sample ballots were counted by the machines quickly, it is going to take a few days for the machines to do all of District 15’s ballots. McGrane expects to know more either by Wednesday or Thursday.

The CWI results will take much longer. Over 190,000 ballots were cast in Ada County on election night, which means we may not know the results for a few weeks.

As contentious as some of the elections in Idaho were, the recount for one of the closest races this year was anything but that. A quiet room of volunteers continues to work on counting ballots, but unlike what we have seen in elections across the country, Ada County’s recounts look to be going very well.

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Alarms in the House Speaker race

Crane (1 of 1)By Seth Ogilvie, Idaho Reports

A large repository of marijuana and THC infused products is protected by Crane Alarms Services. The Republican Assistant Majority Leader Rep. Brent Crane is a vice president at Crane Alarms Services. Ron Crane, Idaho’s Treasurer, is the owner.

The Crane family business provides security to Hotbox Farms a marijuana dispensary in Huntington Oregon. The shop carries a wide variety of edibles, concentrates, vapes and cannabis products. The website says it is “proud to be your one-stop shop” for cannabis.

Rep. Crane has repeatedly come out against recreational marijuana in Idaho, pointing to the problems faced by law enforcement in other states, like Oregon, are having in communities with legal marijuana.

“I am unwavering in my opposition to the legalization of recreational marijuana,” Crane told Idaho Reports. Idaho Reports could not find any Crane vote in favor of CBD oil, medicinal marijuana or any other pro-marijuana legislation in his time at the Idaho Statehouse.

Rep. Crane is against selling marijuana in Idaho but “Yes,” Crane said in his email statement, “I can confirm that Crane Alarm does provide security services at Hotbox Farms in Huntington, Ore.” Rep. Crane is also aware of the money his company is receiving from Hotbox Farms. “I am aware of it because I oversee the invoicing for our customers.”

Crane (2 of 1)The Crane Alarm Services website says Rep. Crane and his brother, Jaron Crane, oversee the day-to-day operations of the business but Idaho Treasurer Ron Crane is still very involved.

Crane Alarm services are split between a fire and a security division. Rep. Crane is the Fire Division Manager. Rep. Crane says the decision to provide security services to Hotbox Farms was something he had no control over. The decision was made by his brother, adding that “It was solely (Jaron’s) decision to provide security services to Hotbox Farms.”

Residents in Ontario, Ore. voted to legalize the sale of marijuana just feet over the Idaho border earlier this month.  Rep. Crane said, “I can assure you that the Fire Alarm Division has not and will not be providing fire alarm service to marijuana dispensaries in Ontario,” what the security division may do is unknown.

Knowledge of the Crane Family business’ involvement with marijuana dispensaries in Oregon has been rumored for a while. It wasn’t until recently pictures of the Crane Alarm Services stickers in Hotbox Farm’s windows began to circulate.

IMG_4594“I successfully went through a Republican leadership campaign for assistant majority leader. Not a single comment was raised regarding this issue,” Crane said, of his 2016 leadership election, the year after Oregon legalized marijuana. “But when I announced my campaign for speaker, a mysterious someone surfaces to call into question my character in an attempt to paint me as a hypocrite.”

Idaho Reports reached out to Speaker of the House Scott Bedke, he said he knew of the pictures but had no involvement with distributing the photos nor did he want anything to do with them what so ever.

“These are the same tactics that the Clintons and the Democrats have used for years in an attempt to silence or destroy their political opponents,” Crane said.

 

Whether it is hypocrisy or a Clintonesque smear campaign, marijuana has taken a surprisingly prominent position in the Republican leadership elections. How it all plays out will be deiced at the legislative organizational session on December 6th. Tune into Idaho Reports for the verdict.

 

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An uprising lying in wait

By Seth Ogilvie

There could be an active insurrection against the new way a group of legislators wants to pay schools.

For the last two years, a legislative interim committee has been meeting and trying to figure out the best way to give Idaho schools the money they need to teach kids. Currently, schools get their money based on average daily attendance or the number of kids in the classrooms, and several other line items, like the career ladder. The committee is looking to fundamentally change the way the state spends its money on education, and stakeholders are nervously awaiting the final proposal.

Already, there are signs of dissent.

A slide presented in the November 12th  Boise Board of Trustees meeting reads “Southern Idaho Conference Superintendents are opposed to a formula which creates winners and losers and promotes divisiveness.”

“It is unfortunate that they essentially want to do away with the career ladder,” Dr. Troy Rohn, a Boise School District Trustee, added in an email.

“The Idaho Association of School Administrators, the Idaho School Boards Association, the Idaho Education Association, and the Southern Idaho Conference Superintendents all support keeping the Career Ladder in place,” Boise Schools superintendent Dr. Don Coberly told Idaho Reports Friday.

A letter signed by Executive Director of the Idaho School Boards Association Karen Echeverria , Executive Director of the Idaho Association of School Administrators Rob Winslow, and President of the Idaho Education Association Kari Overall states “We currently have the ability to determine the gap between what the legislature is funding for salaries and benefits and what school districts and charter schools are actually paying. If these dollars are placed into the new formula, we will never be able to capture that data again.”

Changing the way money is allocated in schools has the potential to create huge political problems, because it will affect every legislative and school district differently.

The big problem is math. “They built this model and it has a lot of levers on it,” Winslow told Idaho Reports. If the same amount of money is in the system and that money is dispersed differently, some will benefit and some will suffer. Without adding more money into the system, there is no way of making sure there are no winners and losers without simply retaining the old system or reverse engineering a new system to hit the same goals.

If, after two years of work, the committee were to simply reverse engineer a system to recreate the old numbers, citizens would also be within their rights to wonder why they spent two years working to get a result we already had.

The new system has many variables, and the committee has been constantly tweaking them. “If you raise the base, it kind of lifts everybody,” and you can change the formula without hurting districts, Winslow said, but that would mean more money.

The Boise School District Board of Trustees recently evaluated a recent incarnation from the committee, another version will be released November 26th. These won’t be the final numbers but they are symbolic of the problem; It’s hard not to create winners and losers.

One of the biggest winners, according to the Board of trustees analysis, is Caldwell School District, which would gain $3.4 million. Two of the biggest losers are Boise, which would lose $5 million the equivalent of 100 teachers and Fremont County who will lose, $1.6 million or 32 teachers.

“What the legislators are trying to do now is make a model that is as acceptable as possible to other legislators,” Winslow said. “They came up with a model that will irritate all these legislators because they’ll go back home and realize ‘Wow, you’re messing up my district,’” Winslow said. “That’s a hard sell.” Winslow added it’s a poor idea to give a bunch of legislators a reason to hate it.

A large portion of the money in the recent model would end up in the Treasure Valley: Vallivue would increase $3.1 million, Nampa by $4.3 million, Kuna by $1.3 million, and Mountain Home and Middleton would see just under a million dollar increase.

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“This will be devastating to some small districts,” Rohn wrote. “Northern Idaho schools will be hit hard along with our district.”

Rohn points to the “wealth factor” as a huge problem that is executed regardless of a districts ability to pass a supplemental levy. “It’s completely unfair and is targeting districts that right now have high property values,” Rohn said.
The formula will affect about half of the state of Idaho’s general fund spending, and stakeholders are understandably anxious. This formula could require more money to keep every district from cuts. Winslow said “If you don’t put enough money in it, it just doesn’t work well.”

But there are competing demands for that money. Idaho voters passed Medicaid expansion this year, and the 2018 legislature passed a large tax cut. The money hasn’t been rolling into Idaho coffers like people expected, Idaho is down $47.3 million from expectations this fiscal year.

This isn’t the type of policy, however, that the Idaho Legislature will easily admit defeat on. Speaker of the House Scott Bedke placed himself on the committee a move that sends a signal he is behind this idea. Students, teachers and all of Idaho will be drastically affected by how the legislature disperses the money, and everyone wants something.
“We were promised something less complicated and transparent based on the committee work that was previously done,” Rohn said. “This version is nothing like that.”

“There shouldn’t be winners and losers,” Winslow said. “You can adjust it and play with it and make yourself a winner and somebody else a loser but that’s not right.”

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Harassment doesn’t end overnight

Wide view of the boise capital building

By Seth Ogilvie, Idaho Reports

The Idaho Legislature will have a new policy on harassment this year. The plan comes in the wake of numerous highly publicized nationwide events and a few lesser-known incidents at the Idaho Statehouse. Senator Cherie Buckner-Webb who co-chaired the Respectful Workplace Task Force Committee said, “There have been stories. There’s folklore about things that have happened in this body.”

Countless legislatures and businesses throughout the country are undertaking the same changes. “This was something that needed to be done for a long time, and there’s been a cry across legislatures and across the United States,” Sen. Buckner-Webb said.

The Idaho Legislature did not have an articulated procedure before this and complaints did not have a standardized method. “There wasn’t a process whereby someone could report and feel confident that it would be acted upon,” Sen. Buckner-Webb said. There was no way of quantifying what was going on.

The new policy lays out definitions of harassment and puts procedures in place to process complaints. “They did well on how the committee is going to investigate and how they’re going to punish people,” said Monique Lillard, Professor of Law at the University of Idaho and past president of the Employment Discrimination section of the Association of American Law Schools. “I think they covered all of the important components.”

“Our goal is to interrupt any harassment that might be going on, to eliminate harassment and to protect all the folks that work in this building,” Sen. Buckner-Webb said. People should thrive, she added, and not be fearful of harassment when they come to work.

The policy has noble goals, but it may have a few mechanical flaws. The policy states people, “should submit a complaint directly to one of the appropriate contact persons.” That is just one singular person, not the committee. The policy lists nine positions consisting primarily of leadership for the legislature and the staff who people can approach with a complaint.

That one person contacted has ultimate discretion. They can consult with the Office of the Attorney General or any member of the Respectful Workplace Committee, they can bring the complaint to the committee, or they can resolve the charge themselves. “That could allow for massaging things so that they’d go away,” Lillard said. “Sometimes that’s good, but sometimes that’s a cover-up.”

“There is much power in that one individual to say ‘Oh, this isn’t worth passing on,’” Lillard said. “That could be a place that important matters could get quashed, but then that (complainant) could go to somebody else.”

Another possible flaw resides in the record keeping. Every complaint is recorded “under the complainant’s name,” according to the policy. Those records will be “retained for three years following termination of employment or service.”

“It ought to be under the accused’s name,” Lillard said. “Not under the complainant’s name, we can all think of nationally known politicians who might have a long list of accusations.” Under this system, a politician accused of harassment would not have a file, but the person who accused that politician would have a file. If an intern were to accuse a legislator, then three years passed or less than two legislative terms, that complaint could be erased from the record.

Then there is the problem of confidentiality. The records can only become public if a court compels it or if the “person, or persons, against whom the complaint is filed consents in writing to disclosure,” the policy states. The person who made the complaint would seemingly not have access to the complaint or be able to ensure it’s confidentiality if the person they accused wanted it public. “The confidentiality resides in the accused,” Lillard said.

There also may be unintended consequences. “It’s sometimes called the “Mike Pence rule” because he doesn’t go to lunch or dinner alone with women,” Lillard said. Shortly after the workforce training session in the 2018 legislature men in the statehouse began openly contemplating not meeting with women alone. “Some members of the body said, I’m not going to do anything that can put me in the least bit of harm’s way,” Sen. Buckner-Webb said. Some politicians didn’t want to have lunch with a lobbyist or have a woman in their office.

Segregating oneself off from a group of people for fear of what they may accuse you of is a big problem for a woman or any marginalized person because that denies them access, friendship and a seat at the table when deals are made. “There’s a right to talk to your elected representative and to have them say; ‘Well I won’t talk to you unless you bring somebody else with you or unless I bring somebody else in this room,’’Lillard said. “I find that really troubling.”

The Pence rule could also be illegal discrimination based on gender. “Women shouldn’t have to run some gauntlet of leaders and people grabbing at them when men don’t have to run that gauntlet. It keeps women from moving forward in the workplace if they have to endure insults or slurs or come-ons or whatever,” Lillard said, “It’s completely ironic if the anti-harassment law results in flat out, blatant discrimination.”

The lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community have no protections from discrimination, nor would they be protected by this policy, because they are not a protected class in Idaho. “But I would like to think (the policy) is inclusive although that is inferred if it’s not called out, and as you know that community is not included in our Human Rights Act,” Buckner-Webb said, “I’d love to see that changed right away.”

The policy was not a response to the climate within the Idaho Statehouse. This policy was a response to a worldwide reckoning that the halls of power have not been adequately policed and some of the most powerful have been harassing their co-workers. It is a significant change to the Idaho legislature, that had no formal plan in place before. It might not be perfect but “they’re definitely on the right track,” Lillard said.

If you’d like to learn more about the policy Sen. Buckner-Webb is on the November 16th Idaho Reports.

 

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On harassment and racism

By Seth Ogilvie, Idaho Public Television

The race to be Idaho’s next Lieutenant Governor has taken a dark turn, both online and in person, with accusations of racism, sexism, and threats eclipsing discussion of public policy. 

The fight initiated by the Idaho Republican Party over social media posts made headlines today but the story goes back much further.

“Let’s keep white supremacy out of Idaho’s executive branch.” Amanda Bell, the Campaign Events and Media Director for the Kristin Collum, wrote in a fundraising email in August. On Wednesday, Idaho Reports asked Collum if she believed Rep. Janice Mcgeachin was a racist. “The racists in Idaho think she’s a racist,” Collum said. “They identify with her.”

The accusations of racism stem back to a story from earlier this year about racist comments on her social media and McGeachin’s association with Three Percenters and other far-right groups.

There are photos with her and the leaders of the Three Percenters. There are videos on YouTube where she’s at the Redoubters meeting and endorsed by them,” Collum said. “She was flown in a private plane by (north Idaho Republican) Brent Regan, and he wrote a statement saying, ‘Yeah, too bad I couldn’t do strafing rounds on the way there.’”

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That last reference has been circulating on the internet, and it is affecting the McGeachin campaign.

At the Idaho Public Television lieutenant governor debate on Oct. 17, McGeachin arrived with two men who acted as security guards. According to multiple people in the building, one of them had a Three Percenter tattoo.  “They weren’t actually security. They were some friends of hers, they were combat veterans, she was feeling a little edgy,” said Mary Strow of the Idaho Republican Party. According to Strow, McGeachin felt threatened by comments left on Facebook and Twitter. One of the comments referenced a “red hole in the head” according to Strow. McGeachin didn’t want to appear “weak because she’s a woman,” Strow said. “But that’s why she had those guys.”

Idaho Public Television was not notified of any threats against McGeachin or any other candidates.

In a Wednesday interview, Strow accused a person by the name of T. Robert Burnham of making the comments. In a Facebook message to Idaho Reports, Burnham said “I’ve never referred to Ms. McGeachin in such vulgar terms or threatened her – or anyone – in any way. I’ve gone back through every post I’ve made since May of this year and there’s nothing even remotely that nasty about Ms. McGeachin.”

Idaho Reports reached out to McGeachin, who declined to comment on the content of this story. “It’s like a ‘When did you stop beating your wife?’ thing,” said Strow. “I think she just feels like, why should she have to defend herself against such a disgusting attack and engage with these people?”

McGeachin is not the only target of alleged harassment. “I personally know how it feels to have people come onto my campaign page and put horrible horrible things,” Collum said. “It happens almost every day.”

Unlike McGeachin, Collum says she doesn’t fear violence. “While it’s vitriolic and disgusting and unfair, it’s hurtful,” Collum said. “I do not take any of them as being physically threatening.”

Collum will not entertain the idea of bodyguards or extra security. “If you’re not comfortable around your own people, that is saying something,” Collum said.  “I feel comfortable. I feel safe. I feel like Idahoans are good.”

The issue of harassment boiled to the surface this week when the Idaho Republican Party sent out a press release saying “Is Democratic Lieutenant Governor candidate Kristin Collum’s ‘Chief Security Officer’ the same sleazy online troll who’s been harassing Republican Janice McGeachin for months?”

The person accused is a man named Jerry Decime. “I know Jerry and I’ve known him for a while,” said Collum. “The (troll), they are something else.”

“The content is not sanctioned in any way by the Collum campaign,” Decime told Idaho Reports on Thursday, declining to comment further.

The content was characterized by the Republicans as “not about being mean, I mean I’m a bare-knuckle brawler when it comes to politics,” Strow said. “And her dismissing that, you know, especially when she’s going out ‘Oh, I’m pro-woman.’ I mean this is just gross.”

The person with McGeachin in this post is Mcgeachin’s son. “This speaks directly to (Collum’s) judgment,” said Strow, adding it offended her as a mother.

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The Idaho Republican Party thinks these posts are misogynistic and harassing. “He’s calling her a Nazi,” Strow said. “He just put photos of these Nazis with their swastikas above her, next to a flag and a ‘Don’t Tread On Me’ thing.”

Another photo shows McGeachin holding a doll and flipping off the camera.

“The middle finger one with a doll, which I don’t know how he got hold of that, those are their family photos, not doctored,” Strow said.

mary5

These posts can be seen as in bad taste, but they are not legally harassment. Courts have an incredibly high bar for harassment when it comes to public people. They almost always side with people’s First Amendment Rights, unless direct threats of violence are included and the person is capable of carrying them out.kristin_rage7

The Collum campaign has pointed to the Republicans’ social media as an example of harassment and racism. Collum said she doesn’t go a day without hearing “You’re a liberal socialist, go back to California,” or being called names.

The Collum campaign also pointed to multiple posts on the Idaho Republican Party’s Facebook page they said crossed the line.

IRP_rage3

The tenor of these post is disheartening, but most likely not illegal and probably just another sign that the types of campaigns we see nationwide are now right here in Idaho.

 

 

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