Ammon Bundy Tells Court His Bid For Governor Should Count As Community Service

The anti-government extremist was sentenced to 40 hours of community service on a trespassing charge after tying himself to a chair at the Idaho Legislature.

Anti-government extremist Ammon Bundy told an Idaho court that his time on the campaign trail for Idaho governor should fulfill the court-ordered community service sentence he received in July as part of a trespassing conviction.

The self-styled rugged individualist, who famously led an armed occupation of Oregon’s Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in 2016, announced his gubernatorial bid in June, and vowed to fight “federal tyranny” and “cronyism.”

Nearly a year earlier, in August 2020, Bundy tied himself to a chair and refused to leave a special session of the Idaho Legislature. He was arrested and ultimately convicted of trespassing and resisting and obstructing officers, both misdemeanors. His sentence included a $750 fine and 40 hours of community service.

He was also banned from entering the Idaho state Capitol for one year.

Ammon Bundy is rolled out of the Idaho Statehouse in Boise, Idaho, in a wheelchair on Aug. 26, 2020, following his arrest for trespassing.
Ammon Bundy is rolled out of the Idaho Statehouse in Boise, Idaho, in a wheelchair on Aug. 26, 2020, following his arrest for trespassing.
Keith Ridler via Associated Press

Rather than completing his court-mandated penalty, Bundy, 46, has been on the campaign trail spreading his extremist views, peddling a warped interpretation of the U.S. Constitution and fostering his network of militia members and other far-right radicals fighting COVID-19 safety measures.

In a Nov. 26 letter to the Ada County District Court, Aaron Welling, Bundy’s campaign treasurer, wrote that Bundy had “completed 1,621 hours of public service” via campaign activities across the state, the Idaho Statesman and Idaho Press reported.

“Mr. Bundy has traveled the State of Idaho several times meeting with people and encouraging them to become more active in holding public officials accountable to the People of Idaho,” reads the letter, which was printed on campaign stationery. “Mr. Bundy has organized and attended over 90 public events since he was sentenced six months ago. Through these public events Mr. Bundy has encouraged hundreds of people to register to vote and begin to participate more in preserving the conservative values the great State of Idaho was built upon.”

As part of his campaign, Bundy has also called for a state takeover of federal lands and compared vaccine mandates and other COVID-19 public health measures to the actions of the Nazis.

The Bundy campaign did not immediately respond to HuffPost’s request for comment Friday. But in comments to Idaho Press, Welling noted that Bundy’s public service in recent months included passing out water at political protests.

“It is what it is,” Welling told the newspaper when asked whether his letter to the court describes campaign activities or actual community service. “If the courts don’t like it, the courts don’t like it.”

This week, an Idaho judge tossed out Bundy’s appeal of the trespassing conviction.

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