Yates Bashes State Leaders in Video
By BRYAN CLARK
A video released Thursday by Bonneville GOP Chairman Doyle Beck shows more than a conversation about control of the local central committee and a purported “secret society.” The video also contains candid takes on a number of political players, journalists and elected officials in the state.
Beck says he was reluctant to release the video because “there are things on here that are probably not appropriate.” But he felt he had to rebut state Chairman Steve Yates’ accusation that his memory of the meeting was “creative” and “inaccurate.”
Yates called Beck’s decision to covertly film the private conversation “creepy.”
In the video, both Beck and Yates portray C.L. “Butch” Otter as a governor asleep at the wheel.
Beck questions whether the Idaho Prosperity Project could be an effort by Otter to bring in the Idaho Association of Commerce and Industry to get control of the local party. Yates doesn’t buy it.
“Tell me what (Otter) has done in any organized way since the beginning of the year,” he said.
Beck chimes in to say that the rumor on the street is that Otter has “dementia or something” and is getting ready to hand the keys to Lt. Gov. Brad Little.
Yates adds: “I’ve seen basically a guy that has put it into a slow gear, let a staff that is not the greatest in the world do more than they’re capable of doing. They botch a veto here, botch an issue there, end up in a special session here, other kinds of stuff.”
IACI doesn’t fare much better.
Yates indicates that Alex LaBeau, the executive director of the IACI, had “humiliated” himself.
That’s a reference to a leaked email in which LaBeau said that Sen. Jeff Siddoway, R-Terreton, could perform a sex act and “hug a teacher.” Siddoway had pledged to block any tax cuts until the state made significant hikes in teacher pay.
“I would have thought (LaBeau would) have self-respect enough to just leave,” Yates said, suggesting LaBeau could “go to Florida and live out his days.”
And if IACI were somehow involved in the Prosperity Project, Yates said, Beck shouldn’t worry.
“If this is IACI, you couldn’t have asked for a greater gift,” he said. “Everything they touch is going to smell like that email.”
LaBeau has denied that IACI has anything to do with the Idaho Prosperity Project — though the organization does have a 10-year-old initiative by the same name, which is focused on helping businesses educate their employees about politics.
Yates indicates he has no relationship with LaBeau.
“The only interaction I’ve had with him is his coming into the party office not long after I was elected and trying to bully me into doing grunt work for the Otter for Idaho campaign,” he said. “We didn’t have friendly words then, and we’ve had no words since.”
Yates also relates that some instant racing advocates are livid that their political contributions didn’t pay off.
“You want to meet a mad man, go talk to Harry Bettis,” he said. “He had the biggest business stake in that decision. He gave tons of money to Butch’s campaign and a number of other lawmakers.”
Campaign finance records show that Bettis, a rancher and part owner of the Les Bois Park racetrack, has donated $10,000 to Otter since 2012, along with $8,500 to Little and $5,000 to lawmakers.
Bettis is particularly peeved at Senate Pro Tem Brent Hill, R-Rexburg, Senate Majority Leader Bart Davis, R-Idaho Falls, and House Speaker Scott Bedke, R-Oakley, Yates indicated.
“(He’s) furious, furious, furious at two things: All Republican politicians, but especially the Mormons,” Yates said. “So sick and tired of Mormon leaders from the east coming in and getting on their high horse about this or that.”
None of those legislative leaders received contributions from Bettis.