Idaho Dispatch

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Op-Ed: How the Mainstream Idaho Press Helped Spread Fake News from Senator Lodge

By • December 19, 2022

This report is intended to expose some disappointing actions, to put it mildly, by two different titans of Idaho politics:

1) Former State Senator Patti Anne Lodge

2) The mainstream Idaho press

During the 2022 legislative session, House Bill 693 was passed in the House with a 37-33 vote on March 7th. On the Senate side, the bill was assigned to Senator Patti Anne Lodge’s State Affairs Committee on March 8th.


This bill was simple, it added one line to the Idaho statute on absentee ballots. Lines added to existing code are inserted and underlined as seen here.

“The use of drop-off boxes or similar drop-off locations to collect absentee ballots is prohibited.”


Essentially, it banned ballot drop boxes for elections in Idaho. These are the boxes made infamous by national election investigators with evidence of ballot stuffing operations that may have impacted the integrity of various elections across the country. (Topic for later time.)

This drop box bill was among several other election integrity related bills sitting in her committee, as well as the House approved “Unmask Idaho” bill (H0631) that prevented all government agencies from mandating the wearing of face masks. (Again, a topic for another time.)

Senator Lodge was reported to have told the Associated Press that she received emails opposing the legislation from elderly, disabled, and people with children that can’t wait in line to vote, that they want Idaho to continue to use drop boxes. Bill Banning Ballot Drop Boxes Is Dead in Idaho Senate ( Senator Patti Anne Lodge claims she received thousands of emails. Thousands. As part of an organization that rallies people to connect with their lawmakers to voice their opinion on legislation, we at Citizens Alliance of Idaho found this claim of “thousands” to be a remarkable accomplishment if true. In fact, I personally delivered over 1800 signed petitions collected in just 2 weeks from real people that supported passage of the “Unmask Idaho” bill that was stuck in Senator Lodge’s committee. We posted a picture at the time of me delivering those petitions to Senate leadership.

Well, we decided to fire off a Freedom of Information Act style records request for these “thousands” of emails that Senator Lodge and her committee received in opposition to the bill. We even requested the emails that were in favor of the bill.

In fact, we requested all emails that even mentioned House Bill 693 or the words “ballot drop boxes.” We wanted to hear what the “voice of the people” was telling Senator Lodge when it came to this hot-button issue.

When the request was granted, we cleared space on a hard drive so that we had enough room to download the thousands of documents. We made sure the computer doing the download wouldn’t go into sleep mode and time-out the download.

To our surprise, once we opened the answer to our request, the attachment downloaded immediately. It was a simple PDF containing eleven emails. 11 emails retrieved that were sent to Senator Lodge.

The state of Idaho was only able to recover eleven (11) emails total, for or against, out of the “thousands” that Senator Lodge claimed to have received in opposition to the ballot drop box prohibition bill. But it gets worse, folks.

Five of those emails were from the same person. Someone called “Watch Man” who forwarded 5 articles or newsletters opposing the bill without any of their own comments or feedback. Which means that there is feedback from only SIX people.

Another person was neither for, nor against, the bill as their email was simply caught up in the dragnet of the search because the bill number was referenced in a lawmaker’s newsletter that was forwarded. So we can drop that person from the list. We are now at a total of FIVE.

Of those five people, four were actually in FAVOR of banning drop boxes and voiced their support of bill H693 in the emails they sent. Notice though, these came in AFTER the news reported her “thousands” in opposition claim. Anyway, now we are really down to just one email left.

Here it is friends. The final person left was the only person who wrote an email to Senator Patti Anne Lodge expressing their personal opposition to H0693, among other things. We went from “thousands” to one, just like that.

It should be disclosed that the Legislative Legal Counsel who fulfilled our records request included the following disclaimer “…these are the records that Senator Lodge possessed as of the date of your request—not every record that she may have received during the session.”

Because of the absence of a records retention policy, Senator Lodge may have simply ?? the rest of the “thousands of emails” she received before receiving our records request. But why hold on to these eleven (or one)?

One may also want to ask when would she have had time to rid herself of thousands of emails when she was busy out on the campaign trail this election year. Mind you she wasn’t campaigning for herself, she was retiring after over 20 years in the State Senate.

This eleven term Republican State Senator, Patti Anne Lodge was actually out there publicly campaigning for the Democrat candidate for Attorney General. But, I digress. Let’s continue, shall we?

By now, I imagine some of you aren’t surprised by this news. In fact, some legislators I talked to privately about this are not surprised at all either in what Senator Lodge publicly claimed.

Politicians such as Senator Lodge will routinely make off-the-cuff statements or offer little-white-lies to substitute for making more complicated arguments or provide cover for the underbelly of politics. But there is a butterfly effect to these actions.

When Senator Lodge made this claim to KeithRidler of AP, many of Idaho’s leading news organizations TheIdahoPress, EastIDNews, CBS2Boise, KTVB picked it up and reported it widely. Lending weight to her argument that the bill was unpopular and not wanted. 

The casual reader of this news believes the public sentiment is solidified. Even if it did pass the House, there was an intense public outcry and Senator Lodge’s apparently false claim proves it. Therefor she would not allow the bill to be debated in the Senate.

Is this how our legislative process should work? One chamber passes a bill and a lawmaker in the next chamber doesn’t like it, so they use the press to create a false narrative to justify the death of the bill?

The fact that KeithRidler took Senator Lodge at her word isn’t too surprising, but wow, what a huge scoop for this now aging retired reporter. Potentially thousands of human interest stories related to one of the biggest stories in the country, election integrity, ignored.

Then there are local news wires that simply copy & paste from the AP whatever is sent out without verifying it. In an age of fake news & misinformation, shouldn’t our local news sources be looking out for their readers by verifying what the AP puts out? It’s Official: the Associated Press Is ‘Fake News’ (

The average family who’s just trying to get by, trying to stay informed by at least checking the headlines as they head out the door to work or school, don’t have the time you or I do, to fact check every little thing a lawmaker says. We expect the reporter to do that job.

Well friends, now what? The first thing to do is to expose these people by publishing reports like this. In doing so, we hope to put all politicians on notice, especially those who have enjoyed as long a career in politics as Senator Lodge has.

When you make remarkable claims, you better be telling the truth, or you will be revealed and rightfully shamed. We are bringing the receipts.

In the spirit of full government transparency, the next thing would be to discuss the creation of a record retention policy for lawmakers. Should there be one, and what should it look like?

Perhaps our new AG Raul_Labrador can work with Lodge’s Senator successors in Canyon County: nicholsforidaho, brian_lenney, TheBenAdams3, LakeyTodd, Chris Trakel, and SenAbbyLee to come up with a legal and transparent records retention policy.

Finally, you the reader have much work to do. For if we are to preserve our values for the next generation here in Idaho, we must have citizen legislators that understand how to honor the constitution, respect their voters, and welcome accountability.

Lawmakers and reporters must be accountable. Asking questions is reasonable and it’s a moral duty. Thomas Jefferson said,

“Question with boldness even the existence of a God; because, if there is one, he must more approve of the homage of reason, than that of blindfolded fear.”

It is up to us to hold truth to power and bring accountability. #WeRideTogether


This Op-Ed was submitted by Matt Edwards of Citizens Alliance of Idaho and originally published on Twitter. Op-Eds do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of those at the Idaho Dispatch.

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Tags: 2022 Idaho Legislative Session, Ballot Drop Boxes, Citizens Alliance of Idaho, Election Integrity, Falsification of Records, House Bill 631, House Bill 693, Idaho Senate, Mainstream Media, MSM, Public Records Request, Records Retention, Senator Lodge, Senator PattiAnne Lodge

21 thoughts on “Op-Ed: How the Mainstream Idaho Press Helped Spread Fake News from Senator Lodge

  1. Lodge has been a piece of shit that has been circling the bowl but refuses to go down for many years. She’s thrown bills in her desk countless times so as not to ever have them read, just ask Greg Pruett about some of the bills for gun control that was mis-handled by this wretched bitch!

    I don’t sugar-coat anything, I call it as it is and as I see them, and she’s a certifiable cunt who should never have been put in a position of that amount of power.

    One other thing to mention here, you made a comment that should be shoved down the throats of EVERY REPORTER! And I quote:

    “The average family who’s just trying to get by, trying to stay informed by at least checking the headlines as they head out the door to work or school, don’t have the time you or I do, to fact check every little thing a lawmaker says. We expect the reporter to do that job.

    That’s right! We expect the reporters to fact-check every thing they report, and if it doesn’t sound legit, then its YOUR JOB TO REPORT THE TRUTH!

    This is EXACTLY why we are failing as a conservative state! And its not up to the reporter what we the people should read or hear, if its a fact, regardless of your own beliefs and political leanings, YOU REPORT IT EXACTLY AS IT HAS HAPPENED! Perhaps, if this was done, we’d have a new governor, most likely a different president, and quite possibly not be working our way into a recession!!!

    1. Your use or I dare say misuse of the 1st amendment is troubling. I appreciate people calling things as they see them or being blunt, or to stoop to the level of using foul language and name calling as you did really lessons your point or ability to engage in the free expression of opinions.

      1. Gosh all hemlock, anyways. It is “lessens”, Joseph, not “lessons”.
        Oh, by the way … I looked up “sh*t” and “cu*t”….. seems that cclem706 was right on the mark. If it’s brown, somewhat oblate spheroid in shape, and smells like, well, you know, I guess some allowances must be made …..

  2. Patti Anne Lodge was so content brown nosing the supposed Dictator, Kangaroo Court boy Scott Bedke, that she’d put anything he demanded in her draws and never let it out of committee.
    The more important issue here is to retire Scott Bedke to his ranch permanently. He has grown into a total disaster of a politician, disregarding the will of The People almost entirely.

  3. USA and states cannot manage election integrity with all our advanced technology, so obviously this lapse is by design. Blockchain online voting would be trustless, secure and can be audited but our politicians want to continue using a fraudulent system to stay in office along with their cohorts that fear honest elections when buying office is more beneficial to the corporate status quo.

  4. What? A politician telling outright lies to forward a political agenda? Say it ain’t so, Joe! /s

    It is disappointing that so many of Idaho’s politicians are of this Senator’s stripes. There is something real about getting power like this that turns many well-meaning people to jelly when it comes to principles. This Senator is promoting nothing more than a really good reason to implement term limits.

    1. My personal correspondence with Patti Lodge was shoddy at best. She replied to my email with the comment that I didn’t have an informed voice in such matters because I probably wasn’t even born here in Idaho, which in fact I was! So this comment naturally offended me and I did a little research on her. She is the one who wasn’t born in Idaho! Very rude and unprofessional of her, but at least she replied to my email.

  5. The real question is Lodge’s motives for burying ID’s freedom-preserving bills? Who’s pulling her puppet strings? I believe it runs deeper than what meets the eye.

  6. Why anyone would expect anything but lies from Patti Ann Lodge is beyond me. I have personally had an opportunity to testify before one of her committees when I observed her texting to someone in the room whom I believed to be a reporter and as I made this observation I was suddenly cut off before my time was up. This person had no business being in the legislature and I’m still not sure why she continued to be elected term after term. She is certainly no conservative and has proven that time and time again with her voting. The last straw was when she backed Arkoosh for AG over our former congressman Raul Labrador. There are many more like her and they are the ones who are trying to turn our state blue. You can bet that we will need someone like Labrador to keep a rein on these neocons who think they can run this state without the approval of the people. What I will say to the people of Idaho is stop reading the local Drudge which gives you totally slanted information as they are doing the bidding of IACI and the rino republicans that populate our house and senate. If you don’t wake up soon you will wake up one morning and Idaho will be another Washington State. what is worse is the influx of new people who say they moved here to live in a conservative state but mind you they are the very ones who keep voting for rinos like Little and Bedke because they have an R next to their name. Idaho is on the road to perdition if we don;t stop voting with our feet instead of our heads. Wake up Idaho and smell the stench that is settling in our capital and getting worse every year.

    1. Agreed. I’m one of those transplants from Commiefornia and have lived here for 10 years now. I was blinded by the idea of not knowing anybody here in politics and that I would only vote for (R) only. It took about 4 years to catch on (thanks to Idaho Dispatch and other non-profits) that things weren’t bring run properly and I started paying attention. I never thought I’d see conservatives as blind as I saw in Commiefornia! Was wrong. There’s conservatives and there’s people that think they are. The latter are Brad Little voters. I still hang my head when I say I’m from Commiefornia, but I never voted Democrat, and I never will in this great state of Idaho. Little’s only fear is he can’t find a way to disarm an army of real Idahoans.

  7. She was nothing more than a turd Lodging the toilet. What a lodge she is and was. I spoke with her many times via email about vaccines and she was a vaccine loving puppy to no end and called others uneducated if they didnt receive the vaccine. My wife was one of the ones that lost her job at St. Luke’s in Meridian off eagle road due to vaccine mandates. Lodge was a cow a argued with my wife about vaccines abilities and damages, my wife is a nurse. But yet The brown stinky lodge thought she knew everything medically as she was a politician. About damn time the stinky Lodge and that loser Cooley eye Greg Cheney were fired by the people. Both losers.

    Raul & Dorothy Moon, time to pass unmask idaho and ban future vaccine mandates ! And for the love of god. Remove idaho from the teachers Union. Why is Florida stomping Idaho on passing freedom bills ? Get it together ! Sick of seeing Idaho float along. Pass these laws. We will need them
    For the future !

  8. I am so sick of these fake republicans, the fake media, and leftists trying to ruin our country, state and children. These true stories or rebuttals to fake stories never make it to the people who need to hear it. Idaho County is run by a bunch of RiNO republicans. People have no integrity any more.

  9. The overreach, lies, corruption, overspent, mismanaged, and judge shopping going on in the greatest country of the world is a disgrace.
    Then you see the news as they try and add to it all being correct and justified is pathetic.
    But the best part is when you get to see some fool on social media or the comment section talking about how righteous the party of choice is. I’m not sure how anyone could believe the party of choice didn’t help to make the problem.
    Some how they truly believe socialism will be glorious in America and it will never be the same as the country’s that are willing to risk everything to get to America.
    Thus we have the double D club AKA dumber than dog sht.
    At the least in Idaho most of us recognize this. The down side is the tried and true Idahoan’s are being overran with fools looking to only fill one agenda for themselves whatever it may be. Continue as is and the new China/America is just around the corner.
    The only way forward it to oust the people that have made millions on a 200,000 doller a year job no matter the party of choice.

    1. Every state in this union, has towns and cities that surround college universities and such. Unfortunately, we let our society get to the point we can’t keep up with the continuous output of socialists being pumped out into the population. They come out, thinking they are the smartest people in the world. They come out thinking they are onto society’s tricks from the past, and they are here to change the evil ways of America’s past. Like locusts they spread, and are now the army of the future. Environmentalists they call themselves; we’ve been cutting emissions on all vehicles before they were even a twinkle in their granddaddy’s eyes, and paying dearly for it! I can go on and on, we need to do something about college professors, the media giants and corrupt politicians. If there is ever a time that the SHTF, I know where I’m headed first.

  10. Is she a committee of one? How is there no over-site before one person can “kill” a bill. reform and over-site is needed.

    1. There should indeed be oversight, yet that will never happen until Scott Bedke is dismissed and put out to pasture on his farm.

  11. She wouldn’t let the genital mutilation law amendment out of committee either. Unbelievable. Such low-hanging fruit and passed easily in the House. I’m a recent immigrant from The People’s Republic of Washington and I am shocked, but not surprised, at the democrats in this state who are in the Republican party. We’ve got work to do! Dan Foreman and Labrador were exciting wins and hopefully that’s pointing us in the right direction.

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