Idaho will soon have a federal attorney whose job is to help protect civil rights and combat hate

The attorney will focus on civil rights and hate crimes, two priorities of the U.S. Attorney’s Office

By: - June 14, 2023 4:00 am

A fair housing pamphlet sits on a table in the classroom at Valor Pointe in Boise, Idaho, in October 2021. The federal Fair Housing Act is one of the laws a new Assistant U.S. Attorney will be tasked with enforcing. (Otto Kitsinger for Idaho Capital Sun)

The team of Idaho attorneys who work on behalf of the federal government will soon include a civil rights lawyer — a role that hasn’t existed before.

Hate crimes and civil rights violations are two of the areas Idaho’s U.S. Attorney Josh Hurwit said his office would focus on, after Hurwit was appointed by President Joe Biden last year.

Josh Hurwit, U.S. Attorney for the District of Idaho
Josh Hurwit, U.S. Attorney for the District of Idaho (Courtesy of U.S. Attorney’s Office)

Hurwit and other federal district attorneys around the nation rolled out a “United Against Hate” initiative to bring together law enforcement, community leaders and others to more effectively combat hate crimes and violence.

“In my view, this initiative is particularly timely for Idaho, as we have experienced a series of troubling hate incidents throughout the state in the past several years,” Hurwit said in a news release early this year.

This month, the U.S. Department of Justice began taking applications for an attorney who will focus on enforcing civil rights in Idaho. The application deadline is June 20.

“This new position will protect the civil rights and constitutional rights of all persons in the District of Idaho through criminal prosecution, civil enforcement, and community outreach,” the job description says. “The criminal component of this position will involve prosecuting civil right crimes in federal court, including but not limited to hate crimes and excessive force violations by law enforcement.”

The attorney also may pursue lawsuits over housing discrimination, violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act and other civil rights laws. The listed salary is $69,107 to $180,756.

Federal prosecutor announces task force to target COVID-19 fraud in Idaho

The U.S. Attorney’s Office for Idaho also is hiring a lawyer to augment the work of its COVID-19 fraud task force — a multi-agency effort to find and punish those who abused pandemic-era financial assistance programs.

That new attorney will focus on civil litigation related to COVID-19 fraud, such as cases where a person fraudulently applied for a Paycheck Protection Program loan with forgiveness and now could be subject to civil penalties.

The lawyer will “hold accountable individuals who have sought to line their pockets by defrauding taxpayer-funded pandemic relief programs,” the job listing says.

The position is listed as a temporary one — about three years — but may be extended or made permanent, the job listing says. The listed salary is $74,250 to $180,756.


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Audrey Dutton
Audrey Dutton

Audrey Dutton was a senior investigative reporter with the Idaho Capital Sun after 10 years at the Idaho Statesman. Her favorite topics to cover included health care, business, consumer protection issues and white collar crime. Before coming home to Idaho, Dutton worked as a journalist in Minnesota, New York, Maryland and Washington, D.C. Dutton's work has earned dozens of state, regional and national awards for investigative reporting, health care and business reporting, data visualization and more.