McHugh's office won't review Mack vote case

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COEUR d'ALENE - It's unclear yet if charges will be filed in the case of an allegedly forged Kootenai County Republican Central Committee proxy ballot, but it is likely the local prosecutor's office won't be making that call.

Kootenai County Prosecutor Barry McHugh told The Press the matter would probably be sent out of the county to another office to review for possible prosecution.

"I would anticipate that because I participated in the vote," McHugh said.

An evaluation independent of his office would be more fair, he said.

The proxy ballot in question was cast on Feb. 28 when the county's committee of elected Republican precinctmen voted to retract the committee's invitation to Richard Mack to be the keynote speaker at the party's Lincoln Day Dinner on March 24.

The vote in favor of rescinding the invitation was 31-30, and McHugh cast one of the winning votes.

One of the proxy ballots, another one of the winning votes, was later alleged to have been forged. Erin Jenkins of Confidential Investigations of Hayden, a private investigator hired by members of the Republican Central Committee's executive board, determined the signature on Kelly Chadderdon's proxy ballot did not belong to Chadderdon. Chadderdon later told Jenkins it was not his signature.

The ballot was carried into the committee meeting and cast by Duane Rasmussen who told The Press he did not speak to Chadderdon or several other people whose proxy ballots he was asked to carry into the meeting.

Members of the GOP Central Committee's executive board turned the matter over to the Coeur d'Alene Police Department last week.

Police Sgt. Christie Wood said Thursday the detective assigned to the case has completed interviews and will be forwarding statements to the prosecutor's office.

"He has concerns that the complaint filed does not meet the forgery statute," Wood stated in a message to The Press.

McHugh said Friday his office has not received the statements.

The Feb. 28 vote that McHugh participated in took place after several Kootenai County Republican Central Committee members publicly opposed the decision to have Mack speak at the Lincoln Day Dinner, stating Mack does not fairly represent Republican interests.

Mack, a former Arizona sheriff, is a self-described "constitutional conservative" and frequent speaker on the national Tea Party circuit.

After filing the forgery complaint with the police, the Republican Central Committee's executive board voted to throw out the vote. They announced that Mack will once again headline the March 24 Lincoln Day Dinner at The Coeur d'Alene Resort.

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