Boss move: Lt. Governor issues executive orders to protect liberties while governor out of state

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BOISE, ID- Guess you can’t fault her for trying, but the Lt. Governor of Idaho, Janice McGeachin once again tried to take advantage of the governor’s absence from the state by issuing an executive order which bans employers in the state from implementing vaccine mandates for employees, The Blaze reported citing an Associated Press story.

It was the second time this year she has done so.

While we applaud her chutzpah (and her executive order), clearly McGeachin seems to be in a bit of a power struggle with Gov. Brad Little (R), whom she is running against for election.

In this case, Little was in Texas meeting with nine other Republican governors to discuss Biden’s bungling of the situation at the U.S. southern border.

However once he learned of McGeachin’s executive order, he issued a statement saying that he didn’t authorize the order and vowed to immediately repeal it upon his return.

While Idaho’s state constitution allows the lieutenant governor to act in the stead of the governor, executive orders such as that issued by McGeachin.

Under the order, McGeachin exempted K-12 schools, universities, and anyone with a conscientious objection from being subjected to being vaccinated or required to submit to testing, according to the Washington Examiner.

“Today, as Acting Governor, I fixed Gov. Little’s Executive Order on ‘vaccine passports’ to make sure that K-12 schools and universities cannot require vaccinations OR require mandatory testing. I will continue to fight for your individual Liberty.” 

In addition to the executive order on COVID, she also attempted to deploy the Idaho National Guard to the U.S-Mexico border, however the Guard’s commanding general said she didn’t have the authority to issue such an order for that purpose.

In a letter obtained by the Associated Press, she wrote:

“As of Wednesday, my constitutional authority as Governor affords me the power of activating the Idaho National Guard,” she wrote to Major General Michael J. Garshak. “As the Adjutant General, I am requesting information from you on the steps needed for the Governor to activate the National Guard.”

Garshak replied as follows:

“I am unaware of any request for Idaho National Guard assistance under the Emergency Management Assistance Compact (EMAC) from Texas or Arizona,” he wrote. “As you are aware, the Idaho National Guard is not a law enforcement agency.”

McGeachin denied she attempted to deploy the National Guard, but only inquired as to the process:

McGeachin said she spoke with Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick’s office last month, and they said there was a need for extra resources to help “the situation on our southern border.”

“I am in Texas performing my duties as the duly-elected governor of Idaho, and I have not authorized the Lt. Governor to act on my behalf,” Little tweeted, then moved on to slam McGeachin’s move.

“Before I even left the state, the Lt. Governor unabashedly requested information from the Adjutant General to deploy our National Guard to the border, the same place I am visiting today to work with my fellow Republican governors on solutions to the crisis,” he wrote.

“Attempting to deploy our National Guard for political grandstanding is an affront to the Idaho constitution and insults the men and women who have dedicated their life to serving our state and the country,” he continued, according to the Daily Mail.

In May, McGeachin issued an executive order banning mask mandates, once again while Little was out of state. Little, calling the executive order an “irresponsible, self-serving political stunt” reversed the order immediately upon returning to the state.

Idaho has an interesting way of electing their governor and lieutenant governor, as they do not run on the same ticket and instead run separately.

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For more on McGeachin, we invite you to read a prior report we filed:

DIG DEEPER

BOISE, ID- This doesn’t appear to be a good way to gain support of law enforcement.

The Daily Beast reports the lieutenant governor of Idaho, who is trying to become the state’s next governor, has claimed to be a supporter of law enforcement.

However it has been learned that Janice McGeachin has been steering money to a far-right operative who has used his social media platform to call for violence against law enforcement officers.

This past January during a legislative hearing, McGeachin’s steering of $26,785 to a man named Parrish Miller for “professional services and “computer services” came to light. Those services were performed between when she first assumed her position as lieutenant governor in 2019.

Democrat lawmakers questioned her decision to allocate the funds to Miller out of her rather small budget, given his position as an analyst for the Idaho Freedom Foundation, a conservative think tank that has been the subject of a recent lobbying scandal.

Public disclosures showed Miller worked for McGeachin’s 2018 campaign in which he received a total of $9,425.

Aside from those questionable expenditures, it is Miller’s apparent animosity toward government in general and law enforcement and federal agents in particular that has gained some lesser attention.

In two opinion pieces from last year, the Idaho Falls Post Register poked Miller for a Facebook post in which he urged confronting police officers who arrested a pandemic lockdown protester in Meridian, Idaho with “an army of heavily armed citizens who won’t tolerate their tyranny any longer.”

Miller has also on a number of occasions compared arrest to kidnapping. More disturbing, he has also written that “shooting someone who is attempting to kidnap you is always justified,” along with “there is nothing wrong with hunting down active kidnappers to bring them to justice.”

“If anyone—including an employee of a criminal gang which calls itself a government—attempts to initiate force against an innocent individual, it is perfectly justifiable for that individual…to use defensive force (up to and including lethal force),” the paper quoted what appears to be a now-deleted post on Miller’s personal blog.

The paper said they reached out to Miller for comment, to which he didn’t respond, with one expert arguing that his posts “speak for themselves.”

“Parrish Miller is a well-known Idaho extremist,” said Mike Satz, executive director of the Idaho 97 Project. “He utilizes very dangerous, very violent, very aggressive language very often online.”

Satz described Miller’s commentary as “inciteful” and “inflammatory,” and condemned McGeachin for not sacking Miller.

“By holding him up and maintaining a relationship with him, she’s really endorsing it,” he said.

The Beast said they had examined Miller’s social media and found more disturbing commentary than those reported by the Post Register.

Many of the comments take on the appearance of a “sovereign citizens” type of mindset, or as the Daily Beast said a philosophy, which they describe as a “19th century anarcho-capitalist doctrine which holds that private property and individual rights are absolute and the state is inherently oppressive.”

In other words, they noted, Miller said in a 2015 post that “cops have no legitimate authority.”

They said that Miller has promoted similar theories and activities of anti-government militias on the internet for going on seven years, back to 2014. However the armed standoff between law enforcement and armed ranchers at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in 2016 seems to have triggered a desire for retribution in Miller, they said.

During the course of that year, Miller’s posts seemed to take on more of a deranged tone.

“Each and every day innocent people are murdered, kidnapped and caged by government functionaries,” he wrote on Facebook in May. “Voting has never will never change these facts. Shooting the offending government functionaries might.”

That September, Miller talked about so-called “freedom fighters” who would “be demonized as cop killers” for using force against government action.

Later that month, Miller used the Greek phrase “molon labe,” which means “come and take it.” That, the Daily Beast claims is a battle cry for right wing “militants.”

“What does ‘Molon labe’ mean to you? The right to keep and bear arms is inalienable which means ‘unable to be taken away from or given away by the possessor,’” he wrote. “If a cop attempts to confiscate a gun from someone, that person has the right to use lethal force to protect their inalienable right.”

A friend of Miller’s dressed him down on Facebook and challenged him. Miller, who apparently opposes restricting gun possession by felons, children and the mentally ill, then doubled down on his comments.

“ANY person—including politicians and cops—who EVER attempts to disarm ANYONE who is not actively involved in harming another person is the true criminal and thus defensive force—up to and including lethal force—is fully justified to prevent their attempted confiscation.”

Later the next year, Miller continued his call for destruction of government property and execution of public servants, where just prior to July 4, 2017, he wrote, “Using fireworks to commemorate ‘Independence Day’ is a direct reminder that explosives are an excellent way to combat tyranny.”

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In August of that same year, while trial was being held for a man named Eric Parker, who had aimed a rifle at federal agents from a highway overpass in Nevada in 2014 over the Cliven Bundy dispute, Miller said that Parker hadn’t gone far enough.

“Here’s my likely unpopular opinion: Not only are Eric Parker and the others innocent of any crime, but they would have been fully justified had they opened fire on the federal agents in Bunkerville and shot them all dead.”

Miller’s anti-government rhetoric has not abated over the past four years.

In July 2018, he wrote, “If independence required secession, revolution and shooting government enforcers in 1775, why would it be any different today?” he said on Facebook. This was after he had received some $5,625 from McGeachin.

“Actions that are ALWAYS justified. Resisting arrest. Lying to state employees. Ignoring state mandates. Not paying taxes or fines,” he wrote a few weeks later.

Despite the fact he was receiving checks from McGeachin’s office the following year, his violent rhetoric continued unabated. For example, in July 2019, one day after public records indicated he had received another monthly payment from the state, he went on another rant against the system, again encouraging the murder of anybody involved in the justice system.

One part of the post read:

“Can you imagine how quickly things would change if politicians, judges, prosecutors, and enforcers found themselves being shot and killed every time they aggressed against individuals? The victims of the system outnumber its perpetrators by at least 50:1, yet this small minority of criminals is able to oppress the other 98 percent of mankind because the victims do not resist.”

Sounds like a peach. And the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic and its related lockdowns only served to further inflame Parrish, which is what caught the attention of the Post Register. However that didn’t stop McGeachin from continuing to use taxpayer funds directed to Miller.

For example, July 1 of this year, Miller returned to the use of incendiary devices against police and public officials.

“As we approach ‘Independence Day,’ I would remind you of an important and valuable lesson from history: Independence was achieved by unleashing many tons of explosives to kill tyrants and those who fought on their behalf. This is, quite literally, what fireworks celebrate.”

The Daily Beast reached out to the Idaho Freedom Foundation for comment without a response. McGeachin’s office refused to confirm or deny whether she agreed with Miller’s views, calling it “a ridiculous line of questioning.”

“I have been a strong and consistent supporter of law enforcement throughout my life and my political career,” she said in a statement emailed to The Daily Beast.

According to Satz, Miller serves as a tie between the lieutenant governor and the Idaho Freedom Foundation, which has even been criticized by Republicans over its influence on state politics.

Miller’s LinkedIn page said that he stopped working for the foundation in 2015, however his name and picture are still listed on a list of analysts on the organization’s website. He also posted his most recent assessment before the Idaho statehouse on the foundation’s website in May, which coincided with the close of the Idaho legislative calendar.

McGeachin appointed an Idaho Freedom Foundation employee to her anti-critical race theory task force. In return, the group and its affiliate Idaho Freedom Action have featured McGeachin on their website. That also included one from last October where it objected to draconian lockdown measures.

Both Democrats and the Post Register say that McGeachin has left one of the jobs budgeted for her office vacant since she was sworn in, while noting the state already provides officials with the exact kind of professional services for which she pays Miller.

According to Satz the current arrangement in fact allows Miller to legally act in the capacity of a liaison between her office and the Idaho Freedom Foundation, which skirts lobbying and ethics rules which Idaho Freedom Foundation’s vice president violated earlier this year.

“He’s still clearly operating as a conduit between them and Janice McGeachin,” Satz said, speaking of Miller.

The arrangement between McGeachin and Miller has also caught the attention of the Idaho State Fraternal Order of Police, which includes 2,600 state troopers who would ostensibly be under her command were she to be elected governor.

“We are not privy to the exact nature of that relationship or what boundaries are set between Mr. Miller and the Lt. Governor, but what I can tell you is when any elected official has ties to someone who is clearly anti-law enforcement and who openly advocates for the killing of cops, it naturally raises concerns and questions from our membership,” said Sgt. Bryan Lovell, the union’s president.

Over the past year-plus, McGeachin has criticized incumbent Republican Gov. Brad Little, vehemently opposing COVID-19 -related restrictions.

For example, in 2020 she reopened her family’s bar in defiance of Little’s orders. And, when Little briefly left the state in May, leaving her in charge, she used her temporary authority to issue an order barring masks in public facilities, which Little reversed when he got back.

Little has not announced his intentions for the governor’s seat for 2022, however there are currently at least seven contenders in the GOP primary field.

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