Previous InvestigateWest reporting revealed Bundy ranch militant was instrumental in crafting the bill 

By Daniel Walters / InvestigateWest

Two similar versions of legislation to narrow Idaho’s “Terrorist Control Act” to only apply to those connected to foreign terrorist organizations failed to find enough support to move out of an Idaho House of Representatives committee on Friday. 

The bill had swiftly passed through the Idaho Senate with more than three-quarters of members supporting it. But critics, including former Idaho Attorney General Jim Jones, began raising concerns that the bill would render useless the Terrorism Control Act, which had been developed in response to a white supremacist bombing in North Idaho. 

InvestigateWest subsequently reported that Eric Parker, leader of the Real Three Percenters of Idaho, a militia-movement group, had played an instrumental role in developing the legislation and pushing it from behind the scenes. Parker had himself been labeled a domestic terrorist by the FBI after pointing a rifle at federal agents during the 2014 Bundy ranch standoff in Nevada.

Idaho’s Terrorist Control Act has rarely been used. Parker was not aware of it having been abused, but he said he was certain it would be politically weaponized in the future. 

“I’m not here to relitigate the Bundy ranch or relitigate my character,” Parker said in an interview with InvestigateWest. “I’m trying to work in legislation to protect people from weaponized laws.” 

The House introduced the Senate’s version of the bill with some minor changes to the language. But the fundamental sticking point was over the bill’s unusual definition of “domestic terrorism,” which required a tie to a foreign terrorist organization. 

A handful of Democrats on the House Judiciary, Rules, and Administration Committee argued that the current law already had a clear definition of terrorism unmuddled by ideology: criminal actions, dangerous to human life, that were intending to influence government policy through intimidation. 

“The idea that we would require someone who wanted to do that to send an email to Hamas first” in order to call that “domestic terrorism” didn’t make any sense, Rep. Chris Mathias, D-Boise, argued.

A few Republicans on the committee had similar concerns. 

“There is ‘homegrown terrorism’ and ‘domestic terrorism’,” said Rep. Dan Garner, R-Clifton. “To tie it to a foreign entity does not encompass what that is in people’s minds.” 

Supporters, meanwhile, both pointed to abuse of domestic terrorism laws at the federal level and stressed that the bill wouldn’t directly address that problem. 

“This bill does not attempt or even profess to try to correct or alter any federal activity,” Rep. Douglas Pickett said. “That’s not our purview.” 

A motion to send the replacement bill to the Idaho House floor failed in an 8-8 tie. 

In theory, either version of the bill could be resurrected, but supporters like Parker believe the bill is effectively dead until next year. 

“It wasn’t partisan,” a frustrated Parker said in a phone call on Tuesday. “It was never intended to be partisan, it was intended to protect everybody.”

FEATURED IMAGE: Eric Parker, head of the Real Three Percenters of Idaho, a militia movement group, was accused of “domestic terrorism” by the FBI.  (Reuters/Jim Urquhart photo)

InvestigateWest ( is an independent news nonprofit dedicated to investigative journalism in the Pacific Northwest. A Report for America corps member, Daniel Walters covers democracy and extremism across the region. He can be reached at