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Daily News: Hart Sets Bad Example

Hart’s latest problem with the Idaho Tax Commission has brought another creative excuse for nonpayment to the surface. The time limit for Hart to pay a $53,000 tax bill ran out in December. He said he ignored the deadline because the Idaho Constitution exempts lawmakers from civil process during the Legislative session. Never mind that the tax bill was due a full 10 days before the 2010 session started. We don’t buy the use of an exemption he twists to suit his purpose. And we hope the Idaho Tax Commission doesn’t either/Murf Raquet, Moscow-Pullman Times-News. More here.

Question: What would you do if you were in Rep. Phil Hart’s shoes right now?

Press: Hart Should Step Aside For Now

But Rep. Hart has become increasingly ensnared in a web of his own making. A member of the House Revenue and Taxation Committee, Hart is paying dearly for first, his defiance of the tax structure, and second, his negligence in appropriately addressing the first shortcoming. In the stories pouring out of newspapers about Hart’s tax liabilities and snail’s pace in remedying them, one essential element is missing: remorse. Nowhere does one sense that Hart is sorry he’s let down the tens of thousands of diligent taxpaying citizens he represents - many of whom don’t like the tax structure any more than he does - or the 1.6 million Idahoans who are smeared by his reluctance to share the American burden while living the American dream/Mike Patrick, Coeur d’Alene Press. More here.

Question: Mike Patrick goes on to opine that Hart should take a leave of absence from the Idaho Legislature until he pays his tax debt to the IRS and state of Idaho in full. Is that the right remedy for this situation?

Rusche: ‘Ethical cloud’ hangs over Legislature

House Minority Leader John Rusche, D-Lewiston, said he discussed Rep. Phil Hart’s case with “many” members of his House minority caucus, and also heard lots of comment from the public about it, before deciding to formally call for a House ethics committee to be convened. “I think there are significant questions among both legislators and the general public about the behaviors and whether they’re ethically appropriate or not,” Rusche said. “The Legislature has an ethical cloud hanging over it. It really is not a good deal for any of us, minority or majority legislators.”

He added, “I don’t want it to be viewed as a political thing, but rather an ethical investigation to protect the process in the House of Representatives.”

Idaho Ethics Panels Are Rare

The last time the Idaho House convened an ethics committee was in 2003, when then-Speaker Bruce Newcomb called for the committee to investigate himself for holding a closed meeting with a quorum of the House Revenue & Taxation Committee; the panel cleared Newcomb of any wrongdoing. In 2005, the Idaho Senate convened an ethics committee that censured then-Sen. Jack Noble after he introduced legislation that would have made his own convenience store eligible for a state liquor license, though it’s across the street from an elementary school, without disclosing his personal stake in the issue, and then lied about it to the Ethics Committee/Betsy Russell, Eye On Boise. More here.

House ethics committees a rarity

Here’s a link to my full story at spokesman.com on how the Idaho House will convene a rare ethics committee to look into a complaint regarding Rep. Phil Hart.

The last time the Idaho House convened an ethics committee was in 2003, when then-Speaker Bruce Newcomb called for the committee to investigate himself for holding a closed meeting with a quorum of the House Revenue & Taxation Committee; the panel cleared Newcomb of any wrongdoing. In 2005, the Idaho Senate convened an ethics committee that censured then-Sen. Jack Noble after he introduced legislation that would have made his own convenience store eligible for a state liquor license, though it’s across the street from an elementary school, without disclosing his personal stake in the issue, and then lied about it to the Ethics Committee. Noble resigned on the eve of a Senate vote on whether to expel him from office.

Current Speaker Lawerence Denney said it’s rare for an ethics committee to be convened; this will be his first since he’s been speaker. “It is (rare), and that’s really good,” he said.

Rusche Seeks Ethics Hearing On Hart

House Minority Leader John Rusche, D-Lewiston, pictured, has filed a formal request for the Speaker of the House to convene an ethics committee to look into two issues regarding Rep. Phil Hart, R-Athol: Hart’s invoking of legislative privilege from civil process in his personal tax disputes over income taxes with the IRS and the Idaho State Tax Commission; and Hart’s service on the House Revenue & Taxation Committee while pressing his own case in a state tax appeal that Idaho’s income tax is unconstitutional. “Does he have a conflict, if he’s trying to set aside tax law through his personal suit while at the same time he’s sitting on the committee making tax law for everybody?” Rusche asked. He also questioned whether “by invoking the privilege in the manner he has, is that abusing the privilege of a legislator”/Betsy Russell, Eye On Boise. More here.

Question: Are you comfortable that an ethics panel of 4 R’s & 3 D’s will eschew politics in favor of truth as they look into Hart’s tax woes?

Rusche calls for ethics committee on Hart; Denney says he’ll appoint one

House Minority Leader John Rusche, D-Lewiston, has filed a formal request for the Speaker of the House to convene an ethics committee to look into two issues regarding Rep. Phil Hart, R-Athol: Hart’s invoking of legislative privilege from civil process in his personal tax disputes over income taxes with the IRS and the Idaho State Tax Commission; and Hart’s service on the House Revenue & Taxation Committee while pressing his own case in a state tax appeal that Idaho’s income tax is unconstitutional. “Does he have a conflict, if he’s trying to set aside tax law through his personal suit while at the same time he’s sitting on the committee making tax law for everybody?” Rusche asked. He also questioned whether “by invoking the privilege in the manner he has, is that abusing the privilege of a legislator.”

Under House Rule 76 (click below to read the full rule), Rusche’s submission of the complaint requires House Speaker Lawerence Denney to appoint an ethics committee of seven senior House members, four from the majority party and three from the minority. The committee then will conduct a preliminary investigation, and if probable cause is found that an ethics violation has occurred, it can hold a hearing and make recommendations to the full House ranging from dismissal of the charges to expulsion from the House.

Denney, who is attending a conference of speakers of the House in Maryland, said, “I haven’t officially received it yet, but when I do get the official one, I will immediately appoint an ethics committee and appoint a chairman.” He returns to Idaho on Sunday; Denney said he’ll likely appoint the committee by around the end of next week. “Really, I think this is probably as good a way to handle this whole thing as anything,” he said.

Earlier, Denney had been sympathetic to Hart, who has invoked his status as a state legislator to argue that he should be able to appeal an order to pay $53,000 in back state income taxes, penalties and interest despite having missed a filing deadline. Denney had even planned to go to the Attorney General and make a case for giving Hart more time; now, he said, he’ll hold off on that.

This year’s legislative session began a few days after Hart’s 91-day appeal period ran out on hisback state income taxes; he argues that legislative privilege should stop the clock and give him until spring to appeal. Hart also is fighting the IRS, which has filed nearly $300,000 in tax liens against him in Kootenai County in the past year; he stopped filing state and federal income taxes in 1996 while he pressed an unsuccessful lawsuit charging the income tax was unconstitutional. He’s since made partial payment.

 

HBO Poll: Individual Taints Hart Poll

  • Wednesday’s Poll: One individual obviously skewed the results of a poll that asked: “Should House Speaker Lawerence Denney call for an ethics probe into Rep. Phil Hart’s tax problems?” A Hart supporter, pseudonymed “idahocolt,” (as I cautioned yesterday) circulated an e-mail calling for sympathizers to sway the poll. Which caused an early evening swing. But one individual, I believe, was responsible for skewing the poll after 9. From 8:42 p.m. to midnight Wednesday, the no’s outdistanced the yesses 142-24. At 8:42 p.m., the tally was 156 in support of an ethics investigation (53%), 119 against (46%). At 5:58 (when I left work), the tally was 173 of 226 in favor of an ethics probe (77%), 46 against (20%). Final tally: 299 of 514 (58%) against an ethics probe, 211 (41%) in favor. Seems the closest count to reality (including troops stirred up by “idahocolt”) is the 8:42 p.m. total of 53% for, 46% against.
  • Cop Punch: 163 of 263 respondents (62%) say that a Seattle police officer was justified in punching a female jaywalker who attacked him. 86 of 263 (33%) say he was not. 14 of 263 (5%) were undecided. Poll results + discussion here. And: video of attack here.
  • Today’s Poll: Do you think the Idaho Meth Project billboards are too graphic?

MG: Hart Should Follow Gandhi’s Example

MtnGardener: Why should anyone elect as a representative someone who owes the rest of us money. We can argue about whether taxes are too high or too low but you can’t fund police, roads, schools etc. without taxes. If he’s a tax protester he can do what Gandhi did and go to jail for his beliefs. It ain’t legal to dodge taxes. Nor is it moral.

Question: Should a person who involves himself in civil disobedience be willing to go to jail for his/her beliefs?

DFO: D’s Should Field More Candidates

I know why local Democrats don’t field more candidates to oppose to oppose Republicans in Kootenai County races. It’s hard to persuade someone to raise thousands of dollars, take 6 months of their life off, and expect to be beaten by 55-60% of the vote. But a situation like Phil Hart’s begs the question. Why not simply get someone to serve as a name holder — or place holder — in case the Republican melts down? The Demo wouldn’t have to raise all that much money or campaign hard. Just be there to hold a Republican accountable for his actions — or votes in the previous term — in debates and newspaper interviews. It’s next to impossible to try to defeat Hart with a write-in candidacy. I applaud Demo David Larsen for stepping up as a write-in candidate in the spring primary, so House Education Chairman Bob Nonini will have to explain some of his curious positions on education, including his behind-the-scenes opposition to UI’s attempt to sign a lease for a building in Coeur d’Alene’s future Education Corridor. It’s a shame to see Rep. Phil Hart, with his myriad tax problems, running unopposed in the general election — DFO.

HucksOnline Poll Fires Up Far, Far Right

Is the Far, Far Right in Kootenai County trying to sabotage today’s HucksOnline poll? You be the judge. One of my Berry Pickers intercepted this mass-email SOS from “idahocolt”: “It looks like the Mike Jorgenson and his cohort D. Rasmussan another liberal RINO throwing temper tantrums about being unseated are at it again. Rasmussan is a very close personal friend of Dave Oliveria,  The liberal conservative hating Spokesman review blogger that spews hate and garbage at anything considered conservative and liberty preserving. Right now they are after Phil Hart one of our very staunch states rights/sovereignty legislators. Please go this page http://www.spokesman.com/blogs/hbo/ and vote NO for Phil Hart.  They are working the phones no doubt to get the liberal spokane and CDA crowd to vote yes and the rest of us need to speak up.”

Question: Do you think Duane Rasmussen (note spelling) and I are buds? That I’m “a liberal, conservative hating SR blogger?” That the SR is working the phones to slant the daily poll? What do you make of this SOS alert?

Richert: Pols Should Own Up To Mistakes

At the Idaho Statesman today, blogger/opinionator Kevin Richert looks at the cases of 4 politicians in financial trouble (Rep. Phil Hart, Canyon County clerk candidate Chris Yamamoto, Canyon County Prosecutor John Bujak, and U.S. Senate candidate Tom Sullivan) and concludes: “I think politicos should fully own up to their mistakes, humbly ask for the voters’ understanding, and let it go at that. In other words, they should behave more like their constituents. People who are victims of bad decisions, bad timing or bad luck. People who are stoically struggling through adversity.” Sullivan is a Democrat. The other three politicians w/financial problems are Republicans. You can read Kevin’s full post here.

Question: Why do politicians have such a tough time owning up to their mistakes?

HBO Poll: Rep. Hart Is A Tax Dodger

  • Tuesday Poll: 173 of 226 respondents (77%) said Rep. Phil Hart, who says income taxes are unconstitutional and owes $400,000 in federal and state taxes, is a tax dodger who hides behind principles. 46 of 226 respondents (20%) say he’s a principled man. 7 of 226 respondents (3%) were undecided.
  • Today’s Poll: Should House Speaker Lawerence Denney call for an ethics probe into Rep. Phil Hart’s tax problems?

Marty: So Tax Evasion Builds Character?

Adversity can arm a leader with compassion and empathy. Working at minimum wage can teach politicians about the challenges facing the working poor. Attending college can show them the difficulties today’s students encounter as they pay rising costs. Certainly, living on food stamps would enlighten any politician about how limited public assistance is in the Gem State. But it’s a stretch for Rep. Phil Hart, R-Athol, to claim his ongoing tax woes make him a better public servant. A third-term lawmaker unopposed in his bid for a fourth, Hart is a former tax protester who serves on the House Revenue and Taxation Committee. “I think it makes you a better legislator, to have these life experiences … ” Hart told the Spokesman-Review’s Betsy Russell. … Sure/Marty Trillhaase, Lewiston Tribune. More here.

  • Trillhaase: Every day Denney waits to call an ethics probe is a day too long.

Question: Should House Speaker Lawerence Denney call for an ethics probe into Rep. Phil Hart’s tax problems?

Hart Has Used Session To Hold Off Taxes 4X

Here’s a link to Betsy Russell’s full story today re: how Rep. Phil Hart, R-Athol, has used the legislative session to hold off the tax man four times in the six years he’s served as a state lawmaker, starting his first year in office; and here’s a link to a letter from a Spokane attorney that Hart submitted to the state Board of Tax Appeals to bolster his case. Washington has a very similar legislative privilege clause in its state constitution to the one that Hart cites in Idaho’s constitution, but Hugh Spitzer, who teaches state constitutional law at the University of Washington School of Law, said he hasn’t heard of lawmakers invoking it in similar situations.

Question: What bugs you more — that Rep. Phil Hart owes the IRS about $350,000 in back taxes? Or that he owes Idaho $53,000 in back taxes?

Hart used legislative session to hold off tax man four times, starting in first year in office

Here’s a link to my full story today on how Rep. Phil Hart, R-Athol, has used the legislative session to hold off the tax man four times in the six years he’s served as a state lawmaker, starting his first year in office; and here’s a link to a letter from a Spokane attorney that Hart submitted to the state Board of Tax Appeals to bolster his case. Washington has a very similar legislative privilege clause in its state constitution to the one that Hart cites in Idaho’s constitution, but Hugh Spitzer, who teaches state constitutional law at the University of Washington School of Law, said he hasn’t heard of lawmakers invoking it in similar situations.

“The reason for these provisions, which are very common not only in the United States but throughout the world, is to protect elected legislators from harassment by their opponents,” Spitzer said. “It became very important in England in the 17th century … because the kings would try to shut down parliament, arrest members of parliament with whom the king disagreed.” But, he said, “It’s one thing to say the government can’t force you to do something, can’t arrest you, can’t harass you with a new lawsuit, but it’s another thing to say that this somehow frees you up from procedural requirements of litigation in which you are already involved, and that you have a right to an automatic stay.”

Phil Hart Has Held Off Tax Man Before

It turns out that Rep. Phil Hart’s current dispute with the Idaho State Tax Commission and state Board of Tax Appeals isn’t the first time he’s invoked his status as a state legislator to hold off the tax man. In 2006, as a newly elected lawmaker with just one session under his belt, Hart came to Boise for a one-day special session called by then-Gov. Jim Risch. While Hart was in the state Capitol, an IRS employee snagged him and served him with a document subpoena. “They just caught me in the building. It was a surprise,” Hart said. “They just handed me some paper work and it was a summons, and that was that.” He protested, noting the state Constitution’s protection of lawmakers from civil process while in session, and the IRS served him with the same summons again in November during a face-to-face meeting/Betsy Russell, Eye On Boise. More here.

Question: Why aren’t government “watchdogs” in the community — and we have a number of them — calling for Hart’s resignation?

Holding off the tax man…

It turns out that Rep. Phil Hart’s current dispute with the Idaho State Tax Commission and state Board of Tax Appeals isn’t the first time he’s invoked his status as a state legislator to hold off the tax man. In 2006, as a newly elected lawmaker with just one session under his belt, Hart came to Boise for a one-day special session called by then-Gov. Jim Risch. While Hart was in the state Capitol, an IRS employee snagged him and served him with a document subpoena. “They just caught me in the building. It was a surprise,” Hart said. “They just handed me some paper work and it was a summons, and that was that.”

He protested, noting the state Constitution’s protection of lawmakers from civil process while in session, and the IRS served him with the same summons again in November during a face-to-face meeting. Hart took that as a sign he’d won on the civil process question.

Then, in January of 2008, the Internal Revenue Service mailed a Notice of Deficiency on income taxes to Hart during the first week of the month. “The legislative session commenced January 7 of that year and continued for approximately three months,” according to a letter Hart requested from a Spokane attorney and submitted to bolster his case in his current state income tax appeal. “It appears that you are privileged to argue that the issuance of the NOD was ineffective under the legislative immunity provisions of the Idaho Constitution,” attorney Donald J. Gary Jr. wrote to Hart in September of 2009.

Then, on Hart’s state income tax dispute, the Idaho State Tax Commission issued Hart two notices of deficiency in September of 2008, covering tax years from 1996 to 2004. He protested the decision, and then, on Jan. 15, 2009, sent the state Tax Commission a letter asking to delay his hearing until 30 days after the adjournment of the 2009 legislative session. After being granted a delay to May 15, he sent another letter April 29 asking for another delay; that year’s legislative session ran until May 8. The Tax Commission agreed to another delay, but said the hearing should take place within two weeks of the end of the session. Hart then didn’t contact the commission until June 6, proposing dates in late June or July; the hearing finally was held on July 8, though the commission said he still didn’t provide all the requested documents. He then sent additional materials to the commission in September of 2009, including the letter from the Spokane attorney.

Phil Hart Contests $53K Owed To Idaho

An Idaho state legislator is fighting the state Tax Commission over $53,000 in back taxes, interest and penalties, claiming in part that because he’s a legislator, he’s exempt from the deadlines for tax appeals that apply to all other taxpayers. Rep. Phil Hart, R-Athol, who also argued unsuccessfully to the Tax Commission that Idaho’s state income tax is unconstitutional, was notified on Oct. 2, 2009, that he owed the money and had 91 days to appeal. But Hart argued that time frame would run out 10 days before the start of the 2010 legislative session/Betsy Russell, Eye On Boise. More here.

Question: Do you think state Rep. Phil Hart, who serves on the Idaho House Taxation and Revenue Committee, has an exemption to meet tax deadlines because he’s a legislator?

Rep. Hart contests state income taxes, claims extra time for appeal due to session

An Idaho state legislator is fighting the state Tax Commission over $53,000 in back taxes, interest and penalties, claiming in part that because he’s a legislator, he’s exempt from the deadlines for tax appeals that apply to all other taxpayers. Rep. Phil Hart, R-Athol, who also argued unsuccessfully to the Tax Commission that Idaho’s state income tax is unconstitutional, was notified on Oct. 2, 2009 that he owed the money and had 91 days to appeal. But Hart argued that time frame would run out 10 days before the start of the 2010 legislative session.

“As a member of the Legislature, I can defer filing an appeal and all the work that that entails while the Legislature is in session and 10 days prior to the beginning of the session,” he wrote in a Dec. 31 letter to the Tax Commission. Asked why he didn’t file his appeal during October, November or December, Hart said, “I don’t know. We were putting our game plan together.” On March 31, two days after the legislative session ended, Hart filed a notice of appeal, but he didn’t pay the full required prepayment of 20 percent of the amount owed until April 13. The state has now moved to dismiss Hart’s appeal for failing to file on time and failing to pay the required deposit on time.

Hart, the Tax Commission argues in legal documents, “is seeking to use his status as a legislator to relieve himself of having to comply with the statute of limitations.” The case is prompting debate about Idaho’s state constitutional provision that exempts lawmakers from “civil process” during the legislative session. You can read my full story here at spokesman.com, and read the Tax Commission’s published decision in Hart’s case - the decision he’s now appealing - here. Here’s a link to the state’s brief arguing for dismissal of the appeal; here’s Hart’s memorandum in opposition to dismissal; and here’s Hart’s motion for a time extension.

Stapilus: Why Hart’s Tax Problems Matter

The story this last week about state Representative Phil Hart, R-Athol, being slapped with $300,000 in tax liens (from 1997-2003 and two more recent years) almost slipped by – people get into financial arrears, on a basic level there’s nothing shocking there – except for a few points that should be noted before this slips away. One is that Hart is quite influential among very conservative Republicans; in the Panhandle, he’s among the must-get endorsements if you’re running with Tea Party and other very ideological conservatives. He has become influential enough that he was a key lever behind the ouster of incumbent Republican Senator Mike Jorgenson, from his district, by Steve Vick; the extent of Hart’s involvement has been a matter of some dispute, but he apparently recruited Vick to run/Randy Stapilus, Ridenbaugh Press. More here.

Question: Does Rep. Phil Hart’s tax problems matter to his followers?

Rusche Won’t Ask Hart To Quit Tax Panel

RE: Rep. Hart faces nearly $300K in new IRS liens/Betsy Russell, Eye On Boise

House Minority Leader John Rusche, D-Lewiston, told IdahoReporter.com that he won’t call on Rep. Phil Hart, R-Hayden Lake, to resign from the House Revenue and Taxation Committee following a revelation by a writer from the Spokesman Review that the IRS had filled more than $300,000 in liens on Hart’s property for failure to pay taxes. Rusche, attending his party’s state convention in Worley, said that though he wouldn’t call for Hart to resign from the committee, on which Rusche also sits, he isn’t entirely comfortable with it.  ”I see significant problems in someone with those kind of problems helping to craft tax policy for the state,” Rusche said.  He said the he feels that constituents in Hart’s district deserve proper representation and he is unsure if Hart can provide that/Dustin Hurst, Idaho Reporter. More here. (Idaho Reporter Photo: John Rusche during 2010 legislative session)

Question: Should someone with Hart’s long-standing problem w/paying federal taxes be allowed to continue to serve on the House Revenue & Taxation Committee?

Rep. Hart Faces $300K In New IRS Liens

The IRS has filed nearly $300,000 in new federal tax liens against Idaho state Rep. Phil Hart in the past year, five years after Hart said he’d reached an agreement to repay $90,000 in back taxes, penalties and interest. The new liens, filed in Kootenai County, cover the tax years from 1997 through 2003, plus 2006 and 2008. They are against anything Hart owns or has rights to, including real estate, cars, business accounts receivable and more; such liens go on credit reports and can keep a delinquent taxpayer from getting a loan, signing a lease or obtaining credit. Hart said, “I will eventually get through this, so it’s the motivation to get through it, I’ll put it that way. It’s like running on the beach where the water’s up to your knees.” But, he said, “I think it makes you a better legislator, to have these life experiences. … You get first-hand dealings with the bureaucracy, see how they operate, see how they interpret things, experience the process.”/Betsy Russell, Eye On Boise. More here.

Reaction?

IRS goes after Rep. Hart for big tax debt

The IRS has filed nearly $300,000 in new federal tax liens against Idaho state Rep. Phil Hart in the past year, five years after Hart said he’d reached an agreement to repay $90,000 in back taxes, penalties and interest. The new liens, filed in Kootenai County, cover the tax years from 1997 through 2003, plus 2006 and 2008. They are against anything Hart owns or has rights to, including real estate, cars, business accounts receivable and more; such liens go on credit reports and can keep a delinquent taxpayer from getting a loan, signing a lease or obtaining credit.

Hart said, “I will eventually get through this, so it’s the motivation to get through it, I’ll put it that way. It’s like running on the beach where the water’s up to your knees.” But, he said, “I think it makes you a better legislator, to have these life experiences. … You get first-hand dealings with the bureaucracy, see how they operate, see how they interpret things, experience the process.”

House Speaker Lawerence Denney called Hart’s continuing tax woes “kind of a distraction for us, but it’s his personal thing.” Denney said, “I think certainly he does have experience that most of us don’t have and certainly don’t want to have. … It appears to me that the people up there love him.” You can read my full story here at spokesman.com, see the tax liens here, and read the 2000 U.S. Tax Court decision here in which a federal tax judge dismissed Hart’s lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the income tax.

ICB: Why Did Mike Jorgenson Lose?

“I must admit I am not up on Hayden Lake politics as well as I would like to be,” begins Idaho Conservative Blogger in a post Thursday. “I was however surprised when Sen Mike Jorgenson lost his primary race a few weeks ago. I met Jorgenson at Austin Hill’s Take Back America Town Hall on KIDO and listened to his views on Arizona’s new Immigration law and what he thought Idaho should do. For awhile Jorgenson seemed to be the flavor of the week.  I also read Phil Hart’s reaction to Jorgenson’s stance. I felt Hart made good points and that a good compromise between the two looked promising. But I did notice what seemed to be friction. Do I think this was Jorgenson’s problem getting re elected? I wasn’t sure so I hit the research and here is what I found, you decided for yourself.” More here.

Question: ICB wonders what beat state Sen. Mike Jorgenson in the May primaries — politics or HIS politics. ICB offers some clues re: what he thinks it was. How about you? Why did Jorgenson lose to ultraconservative Steve Vick?

Reid: What Does Rally Right Stand For?

Rally Right — what does it stand for? Change, new ideas about raising money desperately needed for broken roads and to keep our schools open? Phil Hart wants to mint a silver dollar. Can we really create legal Idaho tender and turn a profit? It may sound cool, but doesn’t it seem that the startup costs would be costly and the completion mighty steep? And who will buy it anyway? Value is merely perception. I can’t imagine hauling around a pocket full of silver dollars. I have a hard enough time as it is keeping my pants hanging right. Phil, I don’t think this is a very good venture for state government. How about encouraging folks to pay their taxes willingly?/Reid Harlocher, Special to the Coeur d’Alene Press. More here.

Question: Will there be a backlash against Rally Right in the fall general election?

Jai Nelson (Hearts) Phil Hart?

Am I the last to know that uberconservative Phil Hart and Kootenai County commissioner-elect Jai Nelson are an item?

Huckleberries Hears …

… there might be fireworks tonight when the Kootenai County GOP Central Committee meets for the first time since the primary elections of last week, especially if state Rep. Phil Hart pushes hard in a new direction. It’s hard to say whether the Rally Right & Reagan Republican forces have enough votes to take control of the Central Committee. The votes’ll be close. Matt Roetter, who was defeated in his race for a precinct committee man, might be the focus of the fireworks as he seeks re-election to his state committee man post. Stay tuned.

Is Phil Hart Taking Control Of Local R’s?

Item: Primary election over, but GOP rift continues: Jorgenson still upset about Rally Right group/Tom Hasslinger, Coeur d’Alene Press

More Info: Rally Right takes firm stances on conservative values, including God as the country’s founder, states’ rights that prohibit government intrusion, and low taxation, among others. One of their slogans is: “It’s easier to fix the Republican Party than start a third party.”
They enjoyed success Tuesday night too, one member said, as at least 41 of the 71 precinct candidates who were unofficially supported as being conservative by the group, won.
But others in the Republican Party are concerned about the direction of the party following Tuesday’s results. They said Hart is recruiting candidates to support his ultra-conservative platform for North Idaho politics, and is unofficially supported by Rally Right.

Question: Do you want the local Republican Party to swing more to the right?

Vick, Barbieri To Join Hart In District 3

Steve Vick had little trouble dumping multi-term state Sen. Mike Jorgenson in the District 3 race, after Jorgenson fought to keep him off the ballot over a procedural matter. In the other contested Republican primary in District 3, Vito Barbieri bested a four-person field, defeating GOP stalwart Duane Rasmussen and Hayden Councilwoman Geri DeLange. Vick and Barbieri will join state Rep. Phil Hart to form the new District 3 legislative delegation.

Question: What was Mike Jorgenson’s undoing?