Sunday, June 20

Idaho Gubernatorial Candidate Backed by Right-Wing Militia Leader, Video Reveals | Idaho

Idaho Republican Lieutenant Governor and candidate for governor Janice McGeachin attended a meeting where a right-wing militia leader endorsed her in a brilliant introductory speech, as revealed in a video obtained by The Guardian.

The video shows Eric Parker, who was indicted for his role in the 2014 confrontation at Bundy Ranch in New Mexico, where he was photographed pointing an assault rifle at federal agents, reminding McGeachin that she told him in an earlier meeting that “if I get in, you’re going to have a friend in the governor’s office”.

In the same speech, Parker tells the small audience that when he sought McGeachin’s help in the Todd Engel case, another Bundy Ranch aide who was sentenced to 14 years in prison in 2019, he showed him sealed evidence from the trial.

He recalled that he told her, “I’m not sure this is legal,” and that she replied, “I want to see it,” after which he said that he “started writing letters to the Justice Department” and “gathering support.” on behalf of the prisoner.

Parker posted the video of the speech on his Telegram channel on May 19, the same day that McGeachin publicly announced his candidacy for governor, where he could face current Republican Brad Little, who has not yet clarified his intentions.

In her endorsement, Parker tells the audience, “We have to do everything we can to get her where she can do the most good for us … we have to make her be there for us. A few moments later, McGeachin walks into the box and the two embrace.

McGeachin has encountered previous controversies involving ties to extremist groups. In 2018, she declined to answer questions from the media about whether she was using members of Three Percenter as security during her career as governor. In 2019, she was photographed with Three Percenters demonstrating in support of Engel.

He has also offered support to protesters who oppose the masks and the blockade in the state, including the Ammon Bundy Peoples’ Rights Network.

In his speech on the video, Parker also recalled McGeachin signing a letter in support of him, as part of an effort led by far-right Idaho Rep Dorothy Moon during her own federal indictment in Nevada for her own role in the match.

Parker pleaded guilty in 2018 to a misdemeanor after two hung jury trials for felonies including conspiracy, extortion, assault and obstruction, and eighteen months in prison. Engel’s trial was overturned by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals last August.

Earlier that year, Parker founded Real 3% of Idaho as an unincorporated nonprofit organization. In late 2020, he claimed the organization had 2,500 members statewide and has repeatedly denied that the group is a militia.

A June 1 video on Parker’s 3% Idaho YouTube channel shows Parker and Engel drilling with assault rifles on a rural property, featuring the caption “Eric and Todd, Idaho Gunmen Celebrate Father’s Day. the fallen”.

Parker is not shy about controversy. In a May 2 photo on Parker’s Telegram account, Parker stands next to Nate Silvester, who at the time was still a deputy in the Bellevue, Idaho sheriff’s office, just a few miles from Parker’s address in Hailey in Blaine County. Parker identifies Silvester only as “Official Funny”, presumably a reference to the fact that the deputy was enjoying a moment of viral fame after he posted a video on TikTok mocking the tweets of LeBron James, who had tweeted protesting the fatal police shooting of Ohio teenager Ma’Khia Bryant.

Following Silvester’s April 24 video, which said, among other things, that the officer who shot Bryant “did the right thing,” the city of Bellevue put him on administrative leave and then fired him on May 29.

Lindsay Schubiner, director of programs for the Western States Center, a progressive nonprofit whose work includes monitoring extremist groups in the region, said Parker’s video “demonstrated his welcoming relationship with McGeachin.”

She described the relationship between such an important politician and the far-right militia figure as “deeply disturbing.”

Schubiner added that McGeachin “has consistently sought the support and endorsement of extreme anti-democratic movements in Idaho,” and that “no public official has any interest in promoting the agenda of an anti-democratic paramilitary group.”

Neither McGeachin nor Parker responded to repeated attempts to contact them for comment.

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