An email from the Idaho Freedom Foundation arrived in the inbox of nearly every Idaho legislator last week touting a controversial and unsuccessful bill to criminalize Idaho police officers who enforce federal gun laws that might pass in the future as a paragon of “constitutional principles.” Last Tuesday’s mass email came just as the bill’s sponsor, embattled state Rep. Mark Patterson, R-Boise, hit the national news with his claims that a local sheriff’s move to revoke his concealed weapons permit over an undisclosed past assault with intent to commit rape case really was retaliation for his bill, and his criticism of the Idaho Sheriff’s Association for not backing it.
Idaho Freedom Foundation President Wayne Hoffman says the timing of the email was coincidental, and had nothing to do with Patterson’s case. “We just thought it was an interesting little tidbit to share,” he said.
The email, which went to a list of close to 5,000 addresses, including more than 150 Idaho legislative addresses, noted that the Freedom Foundation scores bills and tracks lawmakers’ voting records on them. After praising HB 219 as an example of legislation advancing “constitutional principles,” the email lists the foundation’s top 10 highest rated Idaho House members in the category of constitutional principles. Patterson is tied for 7th on the list. Senate members aren’t mentioned.
Hoffman said the Freedom Foundation isn’t involving itself in Patterson’s case. “It’s not our deal. We don’t have a dog in that fight,” he said. “That’s about politics, not public policy. That’s not an issue in which we engage.” You can read my full story here at spokesman.com.