Idaho House Speaker Lawerence Denney announced today that he’s removing Rep. Phil Hart, R-Athol, from the House Revenue and Taxation Committee and that he’ll convene a new ethics committee to look into a new complaint against Hart from Rep. Eric Anderson, R-Priest Lake. Hart, a tax protester who’s locked in a fight with the state Tax Commission over back state income taxes, also owes thousands on an outstanding judgment over a 1996 timber theft from state school endowment lands.
Denney, who announced his decision this morning at the North Idaho Chamber of Commerce legislative tour, couldn’t immediately be reached for comment. House Majority Leader Mike Moyle, R-Star, confirmed that Denney had made the decision to remove Hart from the committee, but wasn’t aware of reports that Hart had first told Denney he’d voluntarily step down; Hart refused to do that when offered the chance by a special House Ethics Committee in September.
”Rep. Hart will not be on the Rev & Tax Committee for the next two years,” Moyle said. “I hope he can get his issues resolved in regards to his tax situation. I don’t know enough about the timber deal to really comment on that. But the voters in his district sent him back with 75 percent of the vote, so I assume he’s going to be a legislator. I hope he has the time to get his problems solved.” Moyle added, “I feel sorry for him. … It’s a real touchy deal. … It’s a bad deal for all of us.” You can read my full story here at spokesman.com.