BOISE - A move to add a ballot initiative to bring back historical horse racing machines in Idaho is seeing some heated back and forth.
Last month, the people behind Save Idaho Horse Racing claimed those with the North Idaho Voter Project, a political action committee funded by the Coeur d’Alene Tribe, were intimidating employees who were trying to gather signatures.
The group said Monday that type of behavior continues with people now being stalked, harassed and even offered money to quit gathering signatures
Todd Dvorak, who’s representing Save Idaho Horse Racing, told KTVB, that campaign staff have filed anywhere from six to 10 police reports against those with the North Idaho Voter Project.
“This has been happening daily now for about six weeks,” said Dvorak.
Dvorak says the tactics used by the North Idaho Voter Project even break the law in some cases. He points to a Facebook message he says is between someone with the North Idaho Voter Project and a signature gatherer.
“What we have is a contract, a copy of a contract that was extended to one of our petition gatherers, essentially offering to pay that person a certain amount of money to quit their job and quit collecting signatures,” said Dvorak.
The alleged offering of $1,500 by a person named Kiely to quit gathering signatures.
“Do you guys know for a fact that this Kiely person works with the North Idaho Voter Project, the one that he had a messaging conversation with?” KTVB asked.
“We don't know that, that's something that we hope local authorities will get to the bottom of,” said Dvorak.
Dvorak also cites similar conduct where a campaign worker was given $1,000 to go the Coeur d’Alene Casino to spend the day gambling. Dvorak told KTVB the worker took the money, but eventually admitted that to campaign staff. The staff member is no longer employed.
These latest claims are being investigated by the Ada County Sheriff’s Office.
Tyrel Stevenson, an attorney from the Coeur d’Alene Tribe, released a statement to KTVB calling these latest claims lies.
“These are more lies from people who have been lying to Idahoans for years. The special interests funding this petition clearly don’t have support for their effort to expand gambling in Idaho and are now looking for someone to blame. They should stop whining and accept reality: Idahoans don’t support them or their cause,” wrote Stevenson.
Stevenson told KTVB not one formal charge has ever been made against the PAC and every interaction they’ve had with law enforcement has involved officers agreeing they were within their rights.
Stevenson adds the contract in question is a non-compete agreement provided to someone who was negotiating for a job with the North Idaho Voter Project and such agreement is standard in these sorts of campaign efforts.
The deadline to gather signatures is April 30.