House Speaker Lawerence Denney has appointed an ethics committee to investigate the conduct of Rep. Phil Hart, R-Athol. Rep. Tom Loertscher, R-Iona, will chair the seven-member panel, and Rep. Wendy Jaquet, D-Ketchum, will be vice-chair. The committee likely will meet in August.
“I have full confidence in the Idaho House process and in the capable and experienced members I have selected for this committee,” Denney said. “It is important for both the House and for Rep. Hart to have this matter resolved quickly and in a fair, even-handed manner.” Denney said he would take no immediate action with regard to Hart’s committee assignments, because none of the committees on which Hart serves will meet before next January. The ethics complaint against Hart charges a possible conflict of interest due to Hart’s service on the House Revenue & Taxation Committee while fighting his own back state and federal income taxes, and possible abuse of legislative privilege for Hart’s invoking the privilege to seek repeated delays in his personal tax cases.
Click here to read Denney’s announcement of the appointment of the committee; the other members are Reps. Dell Raybould, Bert Stevenson, Rich Wills, Bill Killen and George Sayler.
Betsy Z. Russell covers Idaho news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Boise.
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