Eye On Boise

Hart: 'I think the complaints will keep coming'

Rep. Phil Hart, R-Athol, talks with reporters after a House Ethics Committee on Friday dismissed a complaint against him in exchange for his decision to give up his committee vice-chairmanship. At right is Rep. Vito Barbieri, R-Dalton Gardens, a Hart supporter. (Betsy Russell)
Rep. Phil Hart, R-Athol, talks with reporters after a House Ethics Committee on Friday dismissed a complaint against him in exchange for his decision to give up his committee vice-chairmanship. At right is Rep. Vito Barbieri, R-Dalton Gardens, a Hart supporter. (Betsy Russell)

Rep. Phil Hart, R-Athol, said his decision to voluntarily step down as vice-chairman of the House Transportation Committee - in an effort to avoid an ethics vote removing him from the post - was the right step to take, a day after he apologized to the House for his ethics issues. "I'm glad it's resolved," Hart said. "I think it made it easier for the committee to wrap it up."

Hart said he still expects another ethics complaint, not from another lawmaker but from a citizen, to be filed against him. "I think the complaints will keep coming until the political effect of them is diminished," Hart said.

Hart remains embroiled in both state and federal income tax fights; he recently filed papers in Kootenai County asking a district judge to reconsider his strongly written ruling dismissing Hart's appeal of an order to pay more than $53,000 in back state income taxes, penalties and interest; a hearing on Hart's motion to reconsider is scheduled for March. Also in January, the IRS filed two more tax liens against Hart in Kootenai County; they include a $16,382 lien against Hart for 2007 federal income taxes, and a $14,168 lien against the trust that owns his engineering firm for business taxes owed from 2004; the federal tax agency already has filed nearly a half-million dollars worth of tax liens against Hart.
 




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Betsy Z. Russell
Betsy Russell covers Idaho news from the state capitol in Boise and writes the Eye on Boise blog.

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