Boise Leaks Exonerated
The Kootenai County Republican Central Committee (KCRCC) has accepted the findings of an Elections Subcommittee dealing with the background of District 2 House candidate, Doug Okuniewicz. The Election Committee’s complete report can be viewed here.
The findings were in response by the Kootenai County Republican Central Committee to a report from Boise Leaks on January 7th, 2020.
The findings acknowledge that Okuniewicz “has spent the majority of the last two decades working with and for the Alabama/Idaho, Inc., Coeur d’Alene Racing, CDA Greyhound Park, Winning for Idaho, and JH Benefits in various executive capacities and as a lobbyist with a core focus on the Idaho State Legislature to promote and adopt legislation to legalize gambling in Idaho.” All of these issues were presented and documented in our original report.
The findings also affirm that Okuniewicz’ political action committee, Winning For Idaho, has contributed to Democratic candidates and organizations and that “Given Mr. Okuniewicz’ ongoing substantial personal interests in monetizing patents he owns, the committee strongly feels it may be difficult for Mr. Okuniewicz to comply with the House Rules.” [emphasis ours]
Doug Okuniewicz has accused Boise Leaks and Chuckleberries Online of being “Fake News” and “publishing false allegations” on numerous occasions, including in this letter to the KCRCC, which has been thoroughly analyzed and debunked in detail on Chuckleberries Online.
Bjorn Handeen: “Pretty Well Documented”
In a 3/31/20 Facebook post by KCRCC precinct committeeman, Don Bradway, Elections Committee Chairman, Bjorn Handeen, acknowledges that our “accusations” are “pretty well documented.” Handeen goes on to claim that some of our “accusations” are “meaningful and some aren’t.” We publish and let the Court of Public Opinion decide what is relevant and what isn’t.
Handeen recused himself from chairing the Elections Committee meeting that investigated the Boise Leaks report on Doug Okuniewicz, appointing Clark Albritton in his stead.
It has been reported to us that Handeen abstained from a vote to accept the report in a 4/14/2020 electronic meeting of the KCRCC which was convened in large part to review the report Handeen’s committee authored and submitted.
It is well documented that Coeur d’Alene Racing is the single largest donor to Doug Okuniewicz’ political action committee, Winning For Idaho. Coeur d’Alene Racing is also major donor to the Kootenai County GOP.
Analysis & Opinion
The right of the people to know everything about their candidates and public officials is paramount.
We invited Doug Okuniewicz to submit documentation showing our report and our documentation to be false. Our offer to Doug Okuniewicz to submit documentation supporting his allegations that we falsified documents or lied in our report still stands. As of this report, we have not been contacted by Okuniewicz or any government agency regarding the information we disclosed.
Item 2 on the Elections Committee report is a clear indication that they intend to “take appropriate measures” to ensure that the candidacy of District 4 House Candidate, Patrick P. Mitchell is “legitimate.” Mitchell ran for office as a Democrat in 2016. The question must be asked: Why investigate Patrick Mitchell for simply running as a Democrat if they are not going to follow through on documented allegations against lobbyists like Doug Okuniewicz, who are actually funding their opposition?
Item 3 on the Elections Committee report indicates that a candidate “vetting process” has “stalled.” Apparently, there is not the will to insure that voters can have “confidence” in the Republican brand. What were the guidelines given to the Elections Committee regarding a vetting process and why were they stalled? When was the Elections Committee charged with this task?
Doug Okuniewicz is behind a very powerful lobbying effort and an even more powerful political action committee. Winning For Idaho is funded almost exclusively by Coeur d’Alene Racing. Idaho Sunshine reports submitted by WFI read like a Who’s Who of Idaho legislators and state officers. The KCRCC issued a severe censure of 2018 Gubernatorial Candidate, Tommy Ahlquist, for campaign donations to Democratic organizations and candidates. A similar rebuke has yet to appear from the KCRCC regarding Doug Okuniewicz’ donations to Democrats, which are far more significant than those of Tommy Ahlquist. This inequality, coupled with Bjorn Handeen’s convenient recusal from chairing the investigation along with his abstention from the vote accepting the report, may indicate the GOP leadership’s collective surrender to financial pressure from Doug Okuniewicz.