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.
“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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