From the Idaho Statesman; the revolution may not be televised, but it’s well underway:
The Republican Party’s libertarian wing is criticizing the conviction of a Mountain Home GOP official who defied a police order to stay away from Idaho Gov. Butch Otter’s office.
“Idahoans for Liberty,” a group including organizers of recent Tea Party events marched from the sentencing hearing Monday to Otter’s office. The group said Elmore County Republican Vice Chairman Christopher Pentico’s rights to petition the government and to speak freely were violated. They asked Otter to pardon Pentico and stop enforcing the trespassing law on state property.
What’s the matter Governor? Can’t take the heat?
About 75 Pentico supporters packed the courtroom of Ada County Magistrate Kevin Swain on Monday. Swain found Pentico guilty April 21, but said the application of the trespassing law to public buildings raises “troubling questions.”
Swain said he was issuing the lightest of possible sentences and would strike Pentico’s conviction after he completes probation.
Pentico’s supporters have expanded their influence in the party, beginning last year when they helped unseat Otter’s choice for party chairman. They played a prominent role in defeating Otter’s plan for a gas tax increase and have won seats on county central committees across Idaho.
A Republican who wants to increase taxes? Sounds like a RINO to me . . .
Last month, members of the Ada County Republican Central Committee tried to force a vote on a resolution alleging Otter violated Pentico’s right to due process. They won a majority on a procedural vote, but fell short of the two-thirds majority required for action.
In 2008, Idaho State Police barred Pentico from the governor’s office after repeated encounters with Otter and his staff. Though Otter said Pentico had never been threatening, his refusal to accept no for an answer was compromising his staff’s ability to do its work.
“If he’s disruptive to the staff – to the demeanor of the office – we have to remove him,” Otter told the Idaho Statesman last week.
Won’t take no for an answer” and “is disruptive to the demeanor of the office” — yup, that’s one thoroughly dangerous man there.
Pentico also has spoken with Attorney General Lawrence Wasden, state schools Superintendent Tom Luna, dozens of legislators and top staffers to former Govs. Dirk Kempthorne and Jim Risch. “He seems to think that if he comes 12 times, the answer will be different than the 11th time,” said Jon Hanian, Otter’s spokesman, after Pentico was sentenced to 30 days’ probation Monday.
And how are his actions different form those of a lobbyist; except that he actually believes what he’s saying, and isn’t being paid to do it? (And probably isn’t greasing any palms to do it?)
Boise State spokesman Frank Zang said BSU considers the Pentico matter closed. “We reviewed and addressed any concerns he may have raised in years past. There are no current issues of which we are aware.”
Trust me; he’ll let you know.
Pentico was arrested after he defied a March 25, 2008, State Police order to stay away from the governor’s office, the Capitol Annex and the Department of Education. A police officer handcuffed Pentico on April 2 after Pentico returned to the governor’s office and didn’t immediately respond to an order to stop.
Swain rejected the request of the Ada County prosecutor’s office: five days in jail, two years’ probation, a $200 fine, and a ban on Pentico’s entering three offices where he was barred in 2008.
Damn! Practice Fascism much in the Prosecutor’s office in Idaho? Thank God free speech still lives.
Rep. Pete Nielsen, R-Mountain Home, testified on Pentico’s behalf Monday. Nine other lawmakers signed a letter saying Pentico “has acted in a responsible and respectful manner.”
This last paragraph is the telling one. Pentico is not some crank; some obnoxious goofball who’s in need of heavy medication. He’s just a local GOP official who’s tired of being blown off by the RINO Republicans and is letting his voice be heard — something they, as Republicans, should be doing.
And Ten legislators — including a Congressman — stood up with him.
Governor Otter, I hope you’ve got another career to fall back on after they throw you out of office.