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McGeachin Claims Idaho Owns Federal Lands In Appearance On Far-Right Podcast

Lt. Gov. Janice McGeachin, right, shortly before greeting a crowd on the steps of the Idaho Capitol in Boise as she announces her bid for governor in 2022.
James Dawson
Boise State Public Radio
Lt. Gov. Janice McGeachin, right, shortly before announcing her bid for Idaho governor. McGeachin recently espoused the controversial view that Idaho, not the Federal Government, owns federal land within the state's borders.

Idaho Lt. Gov. Janice McGeachin appeared on a far-right podcast where she touted an unusual theory of federal land ownership.

“I don’t view that the federal government owns the land in Idaho, my view is that the land of Idaho belongs to the state of Idaho,” she said.

McGeachin made the comments on Daniel Horowitz’s Conservative Review podcast. Her idea is a similar view to anti-government activist Ammon Bundy, who is also running to unseat Idaho Gov. Brad Little in the Republican primary.

The U.S. Constitution gives the federal government the right to administer federal land. And that interpretation has been upheld by nearly 200 years of court precedent.

More than 60% of land in Idaho is under federal control, much of it controlled by the Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management.

During her appearance McGeachin also stressed the constitutionality of a long-shot effort by several rural, conservative Oregon counties to become part of Idaho.

McGeachin has positioned herself to the right of Little, at times embracing militias and speaking out against restrictions aimed at stopping the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

The Conservative Review often puts forth fringe views. Before McGeachin’s appearance the host, Horowitz, encouraged states to secede from the U.S. He also hurled racist insults at immigrants, calling them, among other things, a “primitive, violent population.”

McGeachin declined a recorded interview and did not respond to written questions by deadline.

Heath Druzin was Boise State Public Radio’s Guns & America fellow from 2018-2020, during which he focused on extremist movements, suicide prevention and gun culture.

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