Ammon Bundy Jailed For 10 Days After Arguing His Campaigning Counts As Community Service

Ammon Bundy, leader of an armed anti-government militia, makes a statement at a news conference at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge Headquarters near Burns, Oregon on January 5, 2016. (ROB KERR/AFP via Getty Images)

Anti-government extremist and Idaho gubernatorial candidate Ammon Bundy was sentenced to 10 days in jail on Thursday after a county judge found him in contempt of court.

Ada County Magistrate Judge Annie McDevitt hit Bundy with the jail sentence and a $3,000 fine for refusing to do the 40 hours of community service he’d been ordered to complete when he was convicted of trespassing last year in connection with his COVID protest at the Idaho State Capitol in 2020.

“You didn’t just blow it off. Rather, you took the time and effort to blatantly disrespect the court’s order, making a mockery of the sentence you received,” the judge told Bundy during his hearing on Thursday, per the Idaho Statesman. “You were given an opportunity to go complete public service — you could have done it.”

Bundy had tried to argue that he did complete his community service — by making public appearances around the state as part of his campaign for governor.

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His campaign treasurer, Aaron Welling, told Idaho’s 4th District Court on Nov. 29 that the candidate had done “1,621 hours of public service” on the campaign trail by encouraging Idahoans to “become more active in holding public officials accountable to the people of Idaho.”

McDevitt didn’t quite buy that argument on Thursday.

“You did not do public service that was selfless, that was to serve others, but rather, you did it for your own campaign — which is by design to get you elected as governor, which is a paid political position in the state of Idaho,” she told Bundy.

But after the judge handed down her sentence, Bundy’s campaign dug its heels in the notion that the candidate had absolutely done his community a service by trying to convince Idahoans to vote for him.

“Ammon accepted the terms and went above and beyond by reporting over 1,000 hours of public service performed on the campaign trail, where he traversed the state several times over, educating Idahoans on their rights, the U.S. Constitution, the historical founding of our nation, the rule of law, and proper jurisprudence, among a host of other valuable bits of knowledge,” the campaign said in a statement. “If this not-for-profit act isn’t considered a ‘service’ to the public, we don’t know what is.”

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