- Associated Press - Friday, April 15, 2016

IDAHO FALLS, Idaho (AP) - A Republican central committeeman covertly filmed the head of Idaho’s GOP in an effort to bolster his claims that a secret society had been formed to oust certain members from party positions. The video didn’t reveal direct evidence of a secret society, but it did show the top GOP official criticizing prominent Republicans.

Bonneville GOP Chairman Doyle Beck released the 39-minute video of party Chairman Steve Yates on Thursday, The Post Register (https://bit.ly/1quKVI9) reported.

Earlier this month, a judge quashed a petition - filed by Beck and fellow central committeeman Bryan Smith - that would have forced Yates and others to give depositions about involvement in a possible secret society, known as the Idaho Prosperity Project.

Beck said an undated campaign plan, which was attached in the petition, lays out a yearlong strategy that involves recruiting and training walkers to be deployed in Bonneville and Madison counties.

The plan suggests walkers, who would be recruited among students at Brigham Young University-Idaho, would go door-to-door multiple times a week for four months before the May primary election with the intent of identifying voters who will support their endorsed candidates.



Beck said the video proves the secret society exists and it’s time for Yates to “come clean or resign.”

In the recording, Yates is shown criticizing Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter, the state’s top business lobbying arm and other GOP members. “I’ve seen basically (Otter) that has put it into a slow gear, let a staff that is not the greatest in the world do more than they’re capable of doing,” Yates told Beck.

The video goes on to show Yates and Beck discussing the Prosperity Project. Yates denies any involvement, but he said that he knew that several GOP members had been meeting and “talk about folks.”

Yates now says he was intentionally playing head games with Beck about the Prosperity Project. Yates said he knew about the Prosperity Project as a hoax, but he declined to comment on how he learned of the hoax.

“I wanted him to believe that this is real,” he said.

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