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Eye On Boise

Thu., July 29, 2010, 9:25 a.m.

Sayler: ‘It’s a pattern of actions’

Rep. Wendy Jaquet told the Ethics Committee, "When I look at this I wonder in my mind whether Rep. Hart should be on the Revenue & Taxation Committee, because of the history that Rep. Hart is still dealing with with regard to tax matters. ... We have a representative who basically is not paying his taxes, and my constituents are paying their taxes. I feel that he should not be on the Revenue & Taxation Committee because of the appearance of conflict."

Starr Kelso, Hart's attorney, responded that that's "a political issue - it has nothing to do with a legal issue of a conflict of interest."

Rep. George Sayler, D-Coeur d'Alene, said, "In this situation, the perception up here for the most part is that Rep. Hart has behaved inappropriately. ... It's a pattern of actions involving taxes on all fronts." Why, he asked, did Hart continually delay his tax appeals citing legislative privilege? How does he explain his overall behavior?

Kelso, after conferring with Hart, said, "Are we going to be involved in second-guessing how people operate under the rules and laws of our country when they do not impact the legal parameters of the Legislature? I think that the Legislature does not want to go there." Kelso pointed Sayler instead to "the remedy at the ballot box. ... If constituents are concerned and have issues, they vote." However, of course, Hart is unopposed for re-election in November.




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Betsy Z. Russell
Betsy Z. Russell joined The Spokesman-Review in 1991. She currently is a reporter in the Boise Bureau covering Idaho state government and politics, and other news from Idaho's state capital.

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