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Conflict of interest? Thanks to Shelley we’ll have an answer

Letter to the Editor

Well done, Shelley Dumas. I was at the Jan. 26 Idaho County commissioners meeting where $5,000 of taxpayers’ money was approved by Commissioners Chmelik, Frei, Brandt to be paid to the Coalition of Counties, Chmelik’s recently formed organization. To pay his expenses promoting the coalition, Chmelik formed his own nonprofit Western Landmark Foundation, which operates under the umbrella of another nonprofit. Is using taxpayer money to fund one’s own organization a conflict of interest? Does it pass the smell test? Thanks to Shelley, we will have an answer.

By forming his own nonprofit foundation to promote the idea that public lands be turned over to state control, Chmelik has proved himself an astute disciple of Ken Ivory, a Utah State Representative.

What does it mean if these nonprofits succeed and states are given control of public lands?

The answer is clear in Ivory ‘s newest nonprofit “Free the Lands” project for a national nonprofit called Federalism in Action, one of many organizations formed to serve the interests of the Koch brothers, billionaires who have bought an inordinate amount of influence with politicians at both state and national level. Is Chmelik willing to sacrifice the people’s land to do the bidding of the rich and powerful?

Is Chmelik pursuing the same goals as the “Free the Lands” project? Its supporters maintain “states would better manage the land and local control would allow them to make money from taxes and development rights on those acres.” Goodbye public lands. Hello Koch brothers? Western Pacific Timber? And.....?

Mary Ann Davidson



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