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Hometown Idaho PAC: Who are they?

| October 20, 2022 1:00 AM

Hometown Idaho PAC is a nice-sounding name, conjuring up images of Bedford Falls, the pleasant town in the movie, “It’s a Wonderful Life."

Shortly before the May 17, 2022, primary election, mailers from “Hometown Idaho PAC” started showing up in local mailboxes. Who or what is this mystery organization? What is it doing in Boundary County?

The website hometownidahopac.com offers a series of links to pages and videos opposing the August school bond, complete with misleading tax information, and a link to a video featuring Steve Fioravanti, candidate for county commissioner. Clicking on the “candidate” tab gives the option of selecting candidates with the HIPAC “seal of approval” or candidates condemned as “Rinocrat.” The website then directs users to the Idaho Freedom Foundation ratings as a means of becoming “more informed.” IFF ratings have been criticized for bias and for influencing legislation.

A dive into campaign finance data compiled by the Idaho Secretary of State indicates that HIPAC formed in the fall of 2021. The treasurer is Beate Clark, who is also treasurer for “Steve Fioravanti for county commissioner.”

Most of the donations come from Boundary County residents. The names are familiar. They are found opposing the school bond and supporting the library board recall. They write letters to the editor that push for tax cuts but don’t address the cuts in services that follow. They claim to espouse “freedom” yet push for censorship.

Two large donations stand out. Christian Fioravanti of Sandpoint gave $5,000 in 2021 (and $500 more on Sept. 30, 2022). BECO Construction of Idaho Falls made an in-kind contribution of $2,000 on Oct. 9, 2022. Doyle Beck, the individual behind BECO Construction, is also on the IFF board of directors.

HIPAC adopts IFF endorsements for state-level candidates. The HIPAC website and money trail lead to IFF. Are IFF and its outside donors meddling in Boundary County elections? Does Steve Fioravanti support IFF’s plan for Idaho?

“Hometown Idaho PAC” isn’t about Bedford Falls. It’s about promoting fear and mistrust. It’s about unraveling what our community has joined together to build. It’s about Pottersville, the miserable place that Bedford Falls almost became.

MARY OLLIE

Bonners Ferry

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