BOISE — Last week, Idaho legislators voted to censure Dist. 7A Rep. Priscilla Giddings and remove her from one of her three assigned committees regarding conduct unbecoming of a legislator.
On Nov. 15, the Idaho House of Representatives voted 49-19 to accept the recommendation of the Ethics on House Policy Committee that was formally issued in September. Republicans and Democrats in the House lodged a complaint against Giddings (R., White Bird), during the summer that said she engaged in conduct unbecoming of a legislator. On her Facebook page, Giddings posted a link to a blog that named and included the photo of a 19-year-old legislative intern who accused former Dist. 6A Rep. Aaron von Ehlinger of rape in April.
House members debated the matter for nearly two hours on Monday morning as one of the first orders of business for the reconvened legislative session.
Rep. Gary Marshall (R., Idaho Falls), spoke in favor of accepting the report. He said he fully supported the ethics committee members and said he believed they acted honorably, honestly and forthrightly.
Rep. Barbara Ehardt (R., Idaho Falls), spoke against accepting the recommendations in the report, but said she didn’t think it was politically motivated. Ehardt said she was concerned further action would amount to censorship, and that the process of the ethics investigation was punishment enough.
Giddings spoke toward the end of the debate, taking issue with the ethics investigation process and refuting the allegations made in the report that she lied to the committee during the hearings. Giddings said she wanted to share a news article that she said was the only one that told “both sides of the story” in the matter of the accusations against von Ehlinger.
Giddings remains on the Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee and the Agricultural Affairs Committee.
Von Ehlinger, who represented the Lewiston area and resigned his legislative seat following the ethics hearings on his behavior, was arrested on felony charges of rape and forcible penetration with a foreign object on Oct. 8. He pleaded not guilty to those charges, and the case is scheduled to go to a jury trial on April 26. Von Ehlinger has maintained his innocence and testified before the ethics committee in April that the sexual contact was consensual.
— Information for this story came from coverage by reporter Kelcie Moseley-Morris, Idaho Capital Sun (idahocapitalsun.com).