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Denney responds to Woodings’ criticisms: ‘An insult to the people of Idaho’

Rep. Lawerence Denney, the Republican candidate for Idaho Secretary of State, sent out a guest opinion today responding to last week’s article from Democratic opponent Holli Woodings ripping Denney for hiring a private attorney with public funds to represent the Legislature’s Federal Lands Interim Committee. Denney calls Wooding’s piece “an insult to the people of Idaho,” and charges that she had her facts wrong.

“My opponent’s statement makes several false claims,” Denney writes. “Chief among them is the charge that I bypassed committee members by hiring private counsel to determine how Idaho could best seek to recover its public lands from the Federal Government. That assertion is patently false and my opponent knows it.” Denney said the decision was made by himself and his co-chairman, Sen. Chuck Winder, along with the speaker of the House and the president pro-tem of the Senate, and that’s what legislative rules required.

He also notes that he wasn’t a party to the lawsuit to close Idaho’s GOP primary; defends his unsuccessful lawsuit to jettison his chosen member on Idaho’s citizen redistricting committee; says “many legal scholars” support pursuing transfer of federal public lands to states; and defends taxpayers’ payment of $100,000 for legal fees to attorney Christ Troupis for the closed-primary lawsuit. “This Democrat does not denigrate the fee claims of the attorneys for the gay marriage proponents against the State, even though the case never even went to trial and their fees are almost $500,000,” Denney writes. “It seems that this Democrat is only critical of Republicans defending their Constitutional rights. Unlike my opponent, I believe that everyone’s constitutional rights are entitled to a proper defense.” Click below for Denney’s full statement.


By Lawerence Denney

Idaho citizens expect their Secretary of State to analyze facts carefully, and then communicate the facts clearly, completely, and above all, truthfully. The Secretary of State’s office must be open and transparent. Unfortunately, the Democratic candidate’s first public statement in this campaign demonstrates a serious deficiency in any of these qualities.

My opponent’s statement makes several false claims. Chief among them is the charge that I bypassed committee members by hiring private counsel to determine how Idaho could best seek to recover its public lands from the Federal Government. That assertion is patently false and my opponent knows it. The decision to hire outside legal counsel was made not only by the two co-chairmen of the committee, myself and Senator Chuck Winder, but also by the Speaker of the House and the President Pro Tem of the Senate. Moreover, the rules authorized these members of leadership to make that decision. My opponent certainly should have learned as a legislator that the action she accused me of taking was not even a remote possibility under the Legislature’s operating rules.

Next, my opponent falsely claims that I sued to close the Republican primary. In fact, that suit was brought by the Idaho Republican Party Central Committee. Not only did I not bring the lawsuit, I was not even a party to it!  My opponent could easily have verified that fact by simply looking at the caption of any of the pleadings that are posted online.

The Democratic candidate then misrepresents the claims brought in the redistricting case. That suit simply asked the court to confirm the Party’s right to determine who served as its Party appointed commissioner. The Supreme Court unfortunately declined to hear the case on the merits.

As for my opponent’s unnecessary disparaging remark that the State was required to pay Christ Troupis for his legal work in the closed primary case, the Democrat knows that Troupis’ fees were only awarded because the Court determined that the State had denied the Republican Party’s Constitutional rights. Similar awards have been sought by and/or paid to other attorneys for the defense of other Constitutional rights. In that regard, this Democrat does not denigrate the fee claims of the attorneys for the gay marriage proponents against the State, even though the case never even went to trial and their fees are almost $500,000.  It seems that this Democrat is only critical of Republicans defending their Constitutional rights. Unlike my opponent, I believe that everyone’s constitutional rights are entitled to a proper defense.

My opponent’s last claim also has no factual basis. She asserts that the committee I co-chaired “gathered overwhelming evidence that there is no legal standing” for Idaho to recover its public lands. That contention is ridiculous. Where is that evidence?  The fact is that many legal scholars have come to the opposite conclusion – that the Western states not only have valid legal claims, but that they need to pursue them before the Federal Government allows these lands to burn up through mismanagement, or loses them to its creditors.  Contrary to my opponent’s unsupported claims, Idaho must seek to recover its public lands in order to preserve them as a trust for Idahoans – for recreation as well as economic growth.  Unlike my Democratic opponent, I believe that the people of Idaho will be far better stewards of their public lands than the bureaucrats in Washington, D.C.

The campaign statement issued by my Democratic opponent is an insult to the people of Idaho. They are entitled to a full and fair debate on the issues, free of exaggerated or misrepresented facts, so they will know who is better qualified to serve as their next Secretary of State.

Lawerence Denney, Republican Candidate

Idaho Secretary of State


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Betsy Z. Russell covers Idaho news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Boise.

Named best state-based political blog in Idaho for 2013 by The Fix

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