Idaho Majority Leader Mike Moyle Violates Ethics Rules
The Idaho House Needs New Leadership
A funny thing happened on Friday, January 20th, on the House floor of the Idaho legislature.
A group of about thirty students and parents toured the Capitol building, and while in the House asked questions of legislators who happened to be available. Their questions revealed them to be an informed group of citizens and covered a variety of topics.
One of the legislators answering their questions was Representative Mike Moyle, a 19-year House member and current House Majority Leader, a powerful position second only to House Speaker Scott Bedke. In the normal course of Q&A by the visitors, Rep. Moyle made the jaw dropping statement that in the next couple of weeks they would see a legislator “jettisoned” from the House.
Two other legislators were present during the comment, and he made a point of looking directly at one of them as though he was specifically sending her a message. She happened to be one of the legislators who had stood in solidarity with Representative Heather Scott on January 12th after Scott was removed from her committee assignments by Speaker Bedke.
Rep. Moyle’s comment along with his demeanor gave all the indications of an intimidation attempt against a legislator. More egregiously, though, it blasted out to random members of the public that disciplinary action against a legislator was in progress, with Rep. Moyle apparently privy to its already-decided outcome: “jettisoning” the legislator. That term has among its definitions “discarding something unwanted”, or “throwing something overboard as in a ship jettisoning wastes.” The comment can reasonably be understood as expulsion of the legislator, and Rep. Moyle even provided a time frame: within two weeks.
With this comment Rep. Moyle violated House Rule 76 of the Idaho Legislature, “Committee of Ethics”. This rule spells out the disciplinary action process against a legislator for an ethics issue. It specifies a series of steps, and confidentiality is a requirement during several of those steps. Disciplinary action ultimately requires a vote by the committee as well as the entire House; a vote for expulsion would occur only if it was found that a felony had been committed or if public office was used for pecuniary gain.
None of that has been the case with Rep. Heather Scott, who is currently a target of Speaker Bedke and apparently also Rep. Moyle for making a private remark to another legislator which pointed to ethics problems in the House.
If indeed an ethics complaint exists against Rep. Scott, Rep. Moyle violated the confidentiality clause of House Rule 76 and would thus be subject to an ethics complaint himself. Even more troubling, his comment points to a judge-jury-executioner mentality in the House leadership to “jettison” a legislator without following the House’s own rules.
These are the indicators of leadership problems that often arise when politicians have held office for a long time.
The Idaho House of Representatives is in dire need of a thorough “House cleaning”. Or, if you prefer, a full-scale “jettisoning”, beginning with Speaker Bedke and some of those whom he has appointed to leadership positions.