- Jeremy Lanningham
- Rep. Luke Malek (R-Coeur d'Alene)
When Boise Weekly sat down with then-newly elected Idaho Rep. Luke Malek (R-Coeur d'Alene) in 2013, he wasted little time declaring his political independence: "Nothing bothers me more than politicians who feel they have ownership in their offices."
In his two terms in the Idaho House, Malek has made no bones about his split from members of his own party and certainly from minority Democrats.
The Pacific Northwest Inlander recently chronicled Malek's lousy rating—he got an "F+"—on the Idaho Freedom Foundation's so-called "Freedom Index," while at the same time garnering an "A" from the National Rifle Association.
Meanwhile, this morning's Coeur d'Alene Press reports a new political action committee has been formed, zeroing in on one target: Malek, who is again running for re-election to the Idaho House with GOP candidate Art Macomber for a primary opponent.
According to The Press, The Committee for Principled Government is targeting Malek's previous work as an attorney for the Coeur d'Alene Tribe and his opposition to "historic racing machines." In 2013, the Idaho Legislature approved the machines for operation at Idaho racetracks. But in 2015, lawmakers rescinded their approval, saying the machines were, in fact, slot machines and therefore illegal in Idaho.
Doug Okuniewicz, manager of the Greyhoud Park and Even Center in Post Falls—which hosted historic racing machines until the Legislature deemed them illegal—is the man behind the anti-Malek PAC.
"We feel like we never get a fair shake with Malek," Okuniewicz told The Press.
Malek was quick to group Okuniewicz along with his other critics such as Idaho Freedom Foundation President Wayne Hoffman.
"I don't know if [Okuniewicz] thinks copying Wayne Hoffman is the right approach," said Malek.