COEUR d’ALENE — The Kootenai County Reagan Republicans say they have retained an attorney and have begun raising money to prepare for a legal fight to protect their brand name.
Ron Lahr of the Reagan Republicans said Thursday the money is being raised through the group’s political action committee, the KCRR Victory Fund.
In its newsletter this week, the group asked for money from its members.
“If you are against dirty politics, please donate to the KCRR Victory Fund,” the letter said.
Lahr said the group’s attorney, James Bendell, has determined the past use is well established and future use may continue unchanged.
“The prior use of the name and logo for three years means we can keep using it,” Lahr said. “They were just trying to scare us with the cease and desist letter.”
A newer group has registered the Kootenai County Reagan Republicans name with the Idaho Secretary of State. That group now claims sole ownership and rights.
In early May, Lahr and fellow Reagan Republicans leader Jeff Ward were served with a letter from an attorney representing the other group, informing them somebody else has the rights to the name, having registered it as a business name. The attorney, Scott L. Poorman, of Hayden, ordered Lahr and Ward to stop using the name.
While the attempted name grab has failed so far, the group is still fighting.
Lahr said the other group could cause problems during elections as candidates are endorsed by the two different Reagan Republicans groups.
“It would just cause confusion in the minds of voters,” he said.
He said Bendell is researching exactly what the original Kootenai County Reagan Republicans need to accomplish in court. Once Lahr and Ward’s group gets the appropriate finding or ruling from a court, that can be brought to the Secretary of State to try and decertify the newer group’s filings.
A leader of the newer group, former Idaho state Rep. Jeff Alltus, said Thursday his group, which he estimated to be 25 to 30 people at its core, believed Lahr and Ward’s group “abused” the name.
“We plan on continuing to use the Kootenai County Reagan Republicans name, since it’s ours,” Alltus said. “They were using the name in vain. It sort of ticked a bunch of us off.”
Lahr has called the efforts by Alltus and others in the newer group “identity theft.”
Alltus said they’ve had some meetings, and plan to have more, including some when candidates may come and speak.
“It’s our name, so it’s a done deal,” Alltus said. “There’s no need to go to court.”