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Bonneville County GOP ‘SIC ‘Em’ committee wants Idaho legislators to answer to party, not voters

Carrie: Did you know a list of grievances has been filed against all six Republican legislators from Idaho Falls legislative districts 32 and 33?

Jerry: By whom?

Carrie: The Bonneville County Republican Central Committee. Their legislative chairs appointed a “Special Investigative Committee” to make sure legislators are voting the way the central committee interprets the party platform.

Jerry: Did they really name their committee “SIC”? The definition of “sic ‘em” is “to incite or urge to attack.” Why do this?

Carrie: At the 2023 Idaho GOP state summer central committee meeting, they passed new rules making loyalty to the party bosses more important than loyalty to us voters. Article XX says that party bosses can investigate whether Republican elected officials are adhering to their interpretation of the party platform.

Jerry: What happens if “SIC ‘em” finds them guilty?

Carrie: The first outcome is “censure and guidance.” But if they’re hauled on the carpet and found guilty again, party bosses claim they can remove their Republican affiliation and disallow them from running on the Republican ticket.

Jerry: Are our local legislators participating in their hearings?

Carrie: No. I’ve heard from all of them. One of their main objections is that the process is being hidden from the public. As Rep. Wendy Horman said, “I made my votes in public, I will respond to those votes in public.”

Jerry: Sounds like a star chamber.

Carrie: What’s that?

Jerry: It’s a secret or closed meeting held by an executive body that seems grossly unfair or used to persecute an individual.

Carrie: “Inquisition” comes to my mind. Some legislators mentioned they’d only be given one minute (which was changed to five) to respond to grievances. Yet the “SIC ‘em” committee has no such limitations.

Jerry: What do the grievances look like?

Carrie: One grievance is that most local legislators voted to fund Idaho’s share of the WWAMI program . That’s a joint medical program with the University of Idaho and the University of Washington School of Medicine. It’s where Idaho students learn to become MDs, something we badly need in our state.

Jerry: What’s wrong with that?

Carrie: They accuse the University of Washington of promoting LGBTQ+ issues among other sins.

Jerry: Sounds like the work of the Idaho Freedom Foundation?

Carrie: You bet! Among the listed violations are low Idaho Freedom Foundation scores. In their official “alleged violations” document, they describe the Idaho Freedom Foundation as an “accurate, independent source for liberty-minded policy, etc.”

Jerry: What a joke! Local Republican party bosses Doyle Beck and Bryan Smith are board members of the Idaho Freedom Foundation. They’re the ones setting the Freedom Foundation’s policies. So much for independence!

Carrie: A better name for Freedom Foundation rankings is “obedience scores.”

Jerry: Why is the Bonneville County Republican Central Committee fixated on purity rules?

Carrie: Lately, central committee-supported candidates have lost big at the polls. In District 32, their candidates were soundly defeated by mainstream conservative Reps. Wendy Horman, Stephanie Mickelsen and Sen. Kevin Cook. In District 33, their candidates lost to Rep. Marco Erickson and Sen. Dave Lent. The only winning legislator they support is Rep. Barb Ehardt and they’re even calling her on the carpet.

Jerry: I thought they liked Barb?

Carrie: According to Barb: “I was genuinely shocked to learn of this. It appears the main thing for which I’m being censured are my votes in favor of educational spending. For my constituents, education is a top priority.”

Jerry: So, their end game is to get our legislators to answer to them, not us voters. Otherwise, they’ll kick them out of the party?

Carrie: Correct. Did you know the chair of the District 32 “SIC ‘em” is BCRCC Treasurer Barbara Miller? She lost twice at the polls in the last two years. But it appears District 32 Legislative Chair Doyle Beck is actually calling the shots.

Jerry: Sounds more like a Politburo than a democratic republic. Reminds me of an old saying, “In order to remain true to oneself, one ought to renounce one’s party three times a day.”

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