Ethics Hearing Was All About Ousting Rep. Giddings
by Shari Dovale
August 2, 2021 brought the long anticipated Idaho Ethics Committee hearing, chaired by Rep. Sage Dixon, against Representative Priscilla Giddings. She is accused of 2 charges. The first is that she shared a news article that was already published and the second that she misled the committee in a previous hearing.
Giddings walked into the room to a standing ovation by the onlookers. She was composed and ready. She held herself to a standard with which the committee members, and Chairman Sage Dixon, could not possibly compete.
After watching the entire hearing, it was painfully obvious that the committee had predetermined their actions, and what their final response will be tomorrow when the hearing is concluded.
Giddings gave a complete opening statement, which you can read here: Rep. Priscilla Giddings Opening Statement
The committee members, along with their taxpayer-funded attorney Christopher McCurdy, an associate with the law firm Holland & Hart, spent the entire afternoon playing word games and semantics with Giddings as she did an amazing job of defending herself and her actions. Contrary to the “Ethics” committee members, and Chairman Sage Dixon, Giddings left the room more popular than when she walked in.
Greg Pruett with Idaho Dispatch reported today that Holland & Hart donated money to Speaker Scott Bedke (R-Oakley) back in 2016. This brings up the questions of conflict of interest, both with Speaker Bedke, as the political opponent of Giddings in the Idaho Lt. Governor’s race, and the law firm friends he has known for years. The Ethics committee Chairman, Rep. Sage Dixon, should have at least disclosed this information to the public and requested whether the defense had objections. Not very transparent of him, was it?
Read that report here: Speaker Bedke Received a Campaign Donation from Firm Tasked with Questioning Giddings
That is not the first complaint of “Conflict of Interest” thrown around this committee. It has been suggested that Speaker Scott Bedke has been a major contributor of the events surrounding this hearing. As the main political opponent in the Lt. Governor’s race, it should have been expected that the accusations would arise, therefore, you would think that Mr. Bedke would have kept his name off of the complaint. As it is, the complaint is now popularly known as “The Bedke Complaint.”
Since the money spent on these shenanigans came from public taxpayer dollars, it should have been considered by the “Ethics” committee, and Chairman Sage Dixon, therefore they would have at least attempted to be transparent for the public. But alas, that was not to be.
From Redoubt News:
Yes, you read that correctly. They’re doing it by spending YOUR money. LOTS of your money.
You should also know that 100% of the money spent by the House “ethics” committee investigating Priscilla Giddings has been authorized solely by Scott Bedke, Speaker of the House. That’s because not a dime gets spent from the House legal fund without Bedke’s authorization.
It should be of interest to anyone who has genuine ethics that Scott Bedke announced he’s running for lieutenant governor to challenge Priscilla Giddings, who had previously announced. That’s fine in and of itself, but how convenient and how coincidental that more than $100,000 of public money from the House legal fund has been spent to “investigate” Bedke’s political rival, all under the guise of an “ethics” investigation.
Consider Greg Chaney, the author of one complaint and signer of another. He had his own ethical issues a few years ago when he was accused of “Domestic Battery in the Presence of a Child.” Yet, he seems to think that he is an authority on holding oneself to a higher standard.
Then there is John McCrostie, the Democrat Representative that was caught stealing his opponents campaign materials and destroying them. After he was finally caught, he never even apologized. Instead of facing ethics charges himself, he was made a member of the committee to hold judgment over his peers.
Those are not the only instances where Speaker Bedke and the “Ethics” committee looked the other way. How about Jim Guthrie and Christy Perry? They were caught having an affair when they were both married to others. This affair was scandalous enough to cause an investigation into whether or not they were using taxpayer funds to pay for their trysts. Yet, it was acceptable by the standards of the Idaho House Speaker and the “Ethics” committee.
The committee, and Chairman Sage Dixon, were not at all fair towards Rep. Giddings. After they stressed that it was not a criminal proceeding, they continued to refer to the hearing as a “Public trial” and that they were disseminating “evidence”. Yet, unlike a judicial trial, they told her that if she wanted to see all of the evidence against her, she should have asked for it.
This was a major issue in several criminal trials, including the Bunkerville trials that Redoubt News covered extensively. The prosecution is not allowed any surprises, and the defense is allowed the benefit of the doubt. That is all a part of Due Process.
Additionally, Chairman Sage Dixon admonished Giddings to “have some respect” when she got frustrated at being asked the sames questions repeatedly. Dixon should have told the attorney to move on, yet it seemed more compelling to strike a blow at the defendant.
This hearing was not about doing the right thing. It was not about being transparent, or righting any wrongs. This hearing was a blatant attempt at finding some way to oust a good conservative legislator that does not Get-with-the-program for Scott Bedke. He knows that he has little chance of winning the Lt. Governor primary against Giddings without using dirty political tricks.
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