Update: The following statement was sent to Idaho Dispatch by Speaker Scott Bedke (R-Oakley):
The Speaker’s office has no power, influence or authority over the Ethics committee. The members of the committee are elected to the committee by the House members.
The timeline of events simply doesn’t match Rep. Gidding’s assertion that there is some type of political smear campaign targeting her based upon the Ethics investigation. The Ethics investigation request was issued May 3rd. Rep. Giddings did not declare her intention to seek a statewide office until May 21st. Rep. Giddings is now attempting to deflect and to use the investigation as a fundraising tactic. I believe all elected officials should be held to a higher ethical standard, that was the intent of asking for the investigation. I am looking forward to the fair and impartial deliberation of the Ethics committee on this issue.
For the second time this year, and Idaho legislature will face an ethics hearing before the Idaho House Ethics Committee.
In April, Aaron Von Ehilinger, a State Representative at the time, faced an ethics hearing for ‘conduct unbecoming a legislator’ for his romantic involvement with several women who worked at the Capitol building. Von Ehlinger resigned from his position after the Ethics Hearing.
Tomorrow morning, Rep. Priscilla Giddings (R-White Bird), a candidate for Lieutenant Governor, will also go before the House Ethics Committee based on several complaints submitted to the committee.
One complaint was submitted by Rep. Greg Chaney (R-Caldwell), and the other was submitted by several dozen legislators, Republicans, and Democrats.
The complaints stem from April of this year when Giddings shared a news article from Redoubt News. The article contained the name, image, and other personal information about the woman who is currently accusing Von Ehlinger of rape. When the article was released, there was no active investigation by the Boise Police Department, but the House Ethics Committee had chosen to move forward on an ethics hearing.
The complaints against Giddings also discuss her sharing information in her newsletter about the Von Ehlinger case, discussing possible motives for the Von Ehlinger hearing, and statements she made during her testimony before the committee and said she ‘misrepresented her actions.”
Giddings has denied that she did anything wrong and said that she exercised her 1st Amendment rights.
Idaho Dispatch has asked Giddings what she thinks about the upcoming hearing taking place tomorrow. Here is what she sent us:
Sadly, the kind of dirty politics Speaker Scott Bedke is now playing with his weaponized “ethics” hearing is just par for the course. It is a blatant misuse of taxpayer dollars and unethical electioneering.
As a decorated Air Force officer and a recognized women’s advocate, I take a backseat to no one in standing up for the rights of victims. I will not be silenced. I will not sit down and shut up. I will not stop fighting for the people of Idaho.
Several lawmakers and citizens have spoken to Idaho Dispatch about the Gidding’s ethics hearing and asked why Speaker Scott Bedke (R-Oakley) is signed onto the ethics hearing because he is also running for the Lt. Governor’s spot in the Republican primary next year.
Idaho Dispatch found the following timeline for when both candidates announced their candidacies and when Bedke and others signed the ethics complaint against Giddings.
- The ethics complaint filed by Bedke and other legislators is dated May 3, 2020, five days after the Von Ehlinger hearing.
- Giddings announced her candidacy for Lt. Governor on May 21, 2020.
- Bedke announced his run for Lt. Governor on May 27.
Idaho Dispatch reached out to Bedke to ask if he wished to respond to allegations he was using the ethics hearing as a ‘political tool’ to go after opponents. Bedke has not responded to our request at the time of this writing.
Idaho Dispatch will be covering the ethics hearing tomorrow and will be discussing more details about the allegations and the outcome of the hearing.
Tags: House Ethics Committee, Priscilla Giddings, Speaker Scott Bedke