Documents obtained by the Guardian show that Scott Yenor was the mastermind behind Action Idaho. Yenor is a professor at Boise State University and a scholar at the Claremont Institute. Action Idaho is a far-right online media platform featuring inciting right-wing reports on Idaho politics.

The documents which were obtained through requests for public records show that Yenor looked for and got money for the project from rich and influential donors. This included the likes of Thomas D. Klingenstein, chair of the Claremont Institute.

Yenor’s Connections And Initiatives

He also tried to hire a rising conservative writer, Pedro Gonzalez, to lead the initiative. However, Gonzalez later got into trouble for some antisemitic remarks he made in online chats in 2019 and 2020.

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The documents also show Yenor uniting with experts who are part of both the Claremont Institute and the Society for American Civic Renewal (SACR). The SACR is a secret Christian Nationalist group that has been reported on extensively.

No Public Admission From Yenor

Yenor is yet to publicly admit his involvement in Action Idaho. It has also only been briefly mentioned before. This could lead to more questions about conflicts between Yenor’s job as a professor at a public university and his political activities.

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When asked for comment, Yenor only replied to one question, saying that ‘Pedro Gonzalez did not accept the offer’ of employment. The rest of his reply was personal abuse.

University Leaders Should Not Be Silent

Lindsay Schubiner is director of programs at the Western States Center, a civil rights non-profit. Its activities include monitoring extremists. She said: ‘Action Idaho is making yet another dangerous attempt to mainstream extremism in Idaho politics. It is particularly troubling that the driving force behind it is an educator.’

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Schubiner added, “Boise State University leaders should not be silent; bigotry on campus impacts the quality of education of every single student.”

Action Idaho’s genesis

The earliest mention of Action Idaho in Yenor’s Boise State email account comes on 25 May 2021. He sent an email with two attached documents to his wife, Amy Yenor.

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One of the documents is a written donor pitch for a media outlet to organize conservative political opinion and activism in Idaho. The document asked the outlet to take on ‘issues and fights that will make the state more congenial to conservatives’. This new media outlet is Action Idaho, the document explains.

Key Points From Presentation Deck

Also attached to the 25 May email is a PowerPoint-style presentation deck which offers a more pointed variation on the written pitch.

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The deck specifies that ‘the new media outlet must be un-cancellable, reliable, and strategic in taking on Idaho’s Establishment and protecting a culture conducive to liberty and faith.’

Action Idaho’s Vision And Strategy

The presentation expresses an ambition to channel conservative views in taking over institutions like school boards and the legislature. It plans to make a guide for citizens and lawmakers, covering elections, school board decisions, and creating a new culture. It also aims to unite people to improve Idaho by challenging the current establishment.

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More combatively, it says Action Idaho ‘needs to identify friends of that culture and support them (i.e., in business, schools, politicians, churches). While also identifying enemies of that culture and exposing  them and seeking to undermine their public support’.’

Action Idaho’s Publishing History

During its short time online, the Action Idaho website followed through on its promises. Its main website is now a gambling site. But it still has a Twitter/X account that shares far-right views on Idaho politics. 

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The website was first registered in December 2021. But it didn’t begin publishing regularly until February 2022. Action Idaho targeted various groups, including Yenor’s employer, Boise State University.

March 2022 Article Overview

In March 2022, the website posted an article by Anna K. Miller. She is a director at the right-wing Idaho Freedom Foundation. She’s also a longtime partner and friend of Yenor’s.

Source: HumanProgress

The article praised a Title IX complaint filed against BSU by men’s rights activist and former University of Michigan professor Mark Perry.

STEM Scholarship Controversy And Yenor’s Speech

Perry said that a scholarship at BSU, encouraging women to join STEM courses, was discriminating against men. Perry has also filed many similar complaints at colleges across the country.

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The STEM scholarship was created by a former BSU student after a speech by Yenor on October 31, 2021. In the speech, Yenor said career-focused women were “more medicated, meddlesome and quarrelsome than women need to be.” It also called universities “the citadels of our gynecocracy.”

Article Criticises BSU For Ejecting Campus Preacher

An article on June 11, 2022, without an author, criticized BSU for ejecting “Campus Preacher” Keith Darrell. It called the event the “latest episode where Boise State University offended Christians and free speech.” The article and reports in BSU’s student newspaper didn’t mention the preaching content.

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However, at New York’s Binghamton University last October, Darrell reportedly said death sentences for gay people were justified. He also mentioned that “step-by-step consent is a boner killer.” In September 2021, Darrell was arrested for resisting officers at Boise State.

Hostility Towards LGBTQ+ Community

Action Idaho supporting the extremist preacher aligns with the idea in a July 2022 article. The article claimed that forming alliances with controversial figures is needed to fight perceived threats to American and Idahoan values.

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The group displayed hostility towards Idaho’s LGBTQ+ community by focusing on pride events on June 8, 2022. This resulted in the arrest of Patriot Front members on June 15 for disrupting a pride event in Coeur d’Alene.

Response To LGBTQ+ Pride Fest Article And Recruitment Efforts

Soon after the arrests, an article titled “LGBTQ+ Pride Fest is a Groomer Fest” was posted. Community activist Alicia Abbott slammed Action Idaho for spreading harmful content and misinformation.

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Before it started, Yenor tried to recruit Pedro Gonzalez to lead Action Idaho. In June last year, Breitbart talked about Gonzalez’s role in controversial Telegram chats with racist and antisemitic messages. Despite this, Gonzalez rose in influence. He also became a senior writer at a conservative magazine.

Gonzalez’s Lecture And Offer For Executive Director Role

Yenor’s expense claims show that he paid Gonzalez for a guest lecture at BSU in September 2021. At the lecture, Gonzalez spoke against the globalist agenda.

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Shortly after, Yenor’s son put forth Gonzalez as the Executive Director of Action Idaho. He aimed to promote Christian nationalist ideals. It’s unclear who assumed the role after Gonzalez turned it down.