We started this website with a commitment to exposing the truth about Friends of NIC (FONIC) and their fake conservative candidates. The swamp is deeper in North Idaho than most people realize. This post will shed some light on what’s been going on here in Kootenai County.
Friends of NIC told you their candidates were conservative, even while they argued that the NIC trustee race was “non-partisan.” They tried to mislead voters by sending out sample ballots that so closely resembled the KCRCC sample ballot that some people were almost fooled.
FONIC pivoted and told you that their candidates were “candidates you could trust!” Wait, how can we trust your candidates when their very platform is based on a foundation of lies and deception?!
Next, they told you that their candidates were the ones to vote for based simply on duration of residency in Idaho! They tried to make this election about Trustee Banducci when he isn’t even on the ballot. They went back to proclaiming that their candidates were conservative, even when the Kootenai County Dems were endorsing them and Tarie Zimmerman was giving money to the Kootenai County Democrat Central Committee!
Friends of NIC has raised over $175,000 between the FONIC PAC and individual contributions to their candidates! Nearly $200,000 folks.
Seems to be A LOT at stake in this race! What could it be? They say they want to “Save NIC” and argue that the accreditation issues are because of Trustees Banducci and McKenzie. Never mind that former trustee, Christie Wood, is the person that stirred up the accreditation pot. Also, never mind that NIC’s own website says accreditation is not in jeopardy.
Friends of NIC say legacy and foundation donations were jeopardized because of Trustee Banducci, when the reality is that THEY are the NIC Foundation and they have threatened to withhold donations in a toddler temper tantrum fit of rage because they fear losing control of NIC.
They claim that they are so invested in preserving NIC, yet they won’t address the cataclysmic enrollment attrition (only 4,299 students?!), disproportionate staffing budget increases and questionable (at best) real estate investments that some of the Trustees (APPOINTED members Wold, Goedde, and Broschet) seem committed to despite the current economy.
Who ARE the “Friends of NIC?”
It’s a tangled web, but we’ve attempted to make sense of it for you. Initially, Christa Hazel started the FONIC PAC. Christa is the only “conservative, Christian Republican” (her words) woman we know that loves Ruth Bader Ginsburg, supports the “Women’s March,” put up a Biden Harris sign in her front yard in 2020 and was lauded as a “Biden Woman” by the Kootenai County Dems.
Might be an important time to remind you that the liberals love to redefine words to fit their narrative and agenda (remember when they redefined women, mothers, pandemic, vaccines, immunity, and recession?). So, when you’re a liberal living in Kootenai County, if you have any semblance of a strategic mind, it is in your best interest to redefine the word “conservative.”
Shortly after Hazel started FONIC, Jim Coleman took over as the chairman. Who is Jim Coleman? Jim (aka R. James Coleman) is a founding member of the North Idaho Republicans (we’ll get to them in a minute) and is a sitting board member on the “NIC Foundation.” He also runs Coleman Engineering and, if the rumors are true, has landed a lot of premium government contracts. Interestingly enough, his LinkedIn account states: “Value Engineering and Value Analysis for Public Infrastructure and Building Projects including schools, prisons, water and wastewater systems.” As of yet, we have not received requested public records related to this matter. We will update when and if they are received.
Who Supports Friends of NIC?
So, we know who organized the Friends of NIC PAC, but who is supporting this PAC and it’s efforts to install their fake conservative candidates?
There are a handful of groups and organizations that are supporting Friends of NIC and their candidates. Friends of NIC has the following groups in common and there is significant overlap among these groups/PACS: North Idaho Republicans PAC, Citizens to Elect Qualified Experienced Candidates CEQEC PAC), Kootenai County Democrats, Take Back Idaho, and Reclaim Idaho, as well as real estate and industry professionals and NIC Foundation board members.
North Idaho Republicans (NIR) PAC
Formed in March of 2022 by Sandy Patano and Jack Rigs; Jack Riggs, Chair. NIR didn’t support any candidates that Kootenai County Republican voters overwhelmingly supported in the May 2022 Primary election indicating an absolute disconnect from actual North Idaho Republican values. As it turns out, a good number of “founding members” of this PAC have contributed money to Friends of NIC and their candidates. TL;DR: a good ol’ boys group of establishment RINOS pretending to represent North Idaho conservative values.
Citizens to Elect Qualified Experienced Candidates (CEQEC) PAC
Formed in early 2021; the original chairman was former police chief Tom Cronin and the treasurer was Tom Malzahn (North Idaho Republicans founder). Pretty much the same strategy as North Idaho Republicans. Same game, new name. Interestingly, Tom Cronin supported Democrat Larry Bieber (running against Republican Elaine Price) in this election cycle.
In a strange turn of events, it appears that Brad Corkill is now the Chairman of CEQEC PAC and CEQEC PAC is giving money to Brad Corkill’s campaign, as well as the other fake conservative candidates and Friends of NIC. In fact Brad Corkill, through CEQEC, gave $15,000 to FONIC to support Brad Corkill. Sounds crazy, right?! You can’t even make this stuff up!
We are sharing information on the next two PACs because they show up all over the place when looking at campaign contribution histories of those who have supported Friends of NIC and their candidates, further bolstering our contention that Friends of NIC are nothing more than liberals pretending to be conservatives and hoping to deceive conservative voters in Kootenai County.
Take Back Idaho PAC
A RINO PAC established to fight “GOP extremism.” You can read more at this link.
Reclaim Idaho PAC
A liberal progressive PAC responsible for Prop 1 (Quality Education Act) which was to have been on the ballot next week. Reclaim Idaho opted to pull the prop from the ballot after Governor Little had the establishment legislators steamroll through HB1, a $410M taxpayer check to the Idaho public education system. This PAC poses as nonpartisan, but all you need to do is take a look at their donors and who they support on social media and you will quickly realize that this is a Democrat PAC.
Please check out the next post for an in-depth review of the donor histories of any individual, company or PAC that has contributed to Friends of NIC. We could do the same analysis for each individual fake conservative candidate, but the bulk of the money has gone to Friends of NIC and a cursory review tells us we would see the same patterns for the individual candidates anyway.
Of all of the contributions we reviewed and have shared here, there is only ONE single donation (to Ben Toews) given to support a candidate that Kootenai County voters chose in the May 2022 primary. For example, while 70% of Republicans voted for Raul Labrador, not one of the supporters of Friends of NIC supported him. Friends of NIC and their candidates for NIC trustee positions claim to represent Kootenai County community values. If that were so, we should see broad support of the candidates favored by actual Kootenai County Republican voters. We do not. The truth is, they lost badly in the May Primary this year and they understand that people are waking up to their con. Real conservatives are savvy and the May primary showed the swamp establishment that we aren’t interested in business as usual crony politics in North Idaho. That scares them. Desperate times call for desperate measures and they are desperate enough to link arms with progressive liberals to protect their interests.
About 1/3 of all Friends of NIC donors are Democrats. Several more support liberal PACs like Reclaim Idaho or RINO PACs like Take Back Idaho and North Idaho Republicans.
There is a lot of money being funneled back and forth between PACs and candidates to support the same flavor of fake conservative candidates. It seems that with each election cycle comes a new fake conservative PAC!
So, to sum it up….
Friends of NIC wants you to believe that their candidates are conservative, and they have gone to great lengths to deceive voters. There is a lot of money being thrown at this race: nearly $200,000 for a community college trustee election. Fake Republicans and liberal Democrats understand that they can’t win unless they join together and then successfully dupe a fair amount of actual conservatives. Friends of NIC (and all of the other groups involved) are intensely committed to protecting their own self interests, be it real estate deals (like this one or this one) government contracts, or a liberal agenda (all ages drag show anyone?), even at the risk of endangering NIC’s accreditation. They manufactured a sky is falling fear campaign and fueled it with lies and misinformation. Don’t fall for it.
So, what can we do?
Share this post. Share the link to our website. Get the NICTruth out there! Right now, text or call 10 friends and share our link with them. Urge them to vote for Waggoner, Hartman and Sheridan for NIC Trustees. Remember, vote for ALL 3!!