Idaho Democratic Party Chairman Larry Grant is calling on House State Affairs Committee Chairman Tom Loertscher, R-Iona, to resign from the Legislature, citing Loertscher's killing of a bill proposed by Idaho highway districts to require a public hearing before a public road is vacated, shortly before he filed a lawsuit seeking to declare a road on his land private. “Loertscher’s actions are highly suspicious,” Grant said. “It certainly appears he has used his office for personal advantage." House Speaker Lawerence Denney, who assigned the bill to Loertscher's committee at his request, rather than to the Transportation Committee, has declined thus far to call for an ethics committee to investigate the issue, though any House member may request one. Click below for the party's full news release.
News release from the Idaho Democratic Party
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Date: June 13, 2011
GRANT CALLS FOR LOERTSCHER RESIGNATION
Boise –– Larry Grant, Chairman of the Idaho Democratic Party, has called for the resignation of Representative Tom Loertscher, a Republican Legislator from Iona.
“We have yet another legislator who appears to be using his office for personal gain,” Grant said. “He either needs to prove how his actions are not self-serving or resign.”
Loertscher recently filed a lawsuit in state court to have roads that cross his land declared private to close them to the public. Loertscher filed his lawsuit just weeks after killing a bill in the Legislature that would have required counties to hold a public hearing before vacating a road, according to the Post Register.
“Loertscher’s actions are highly suspicious,” Grant said. “It certainly appears he has used his office for personal advantage. The easiest way to clear it all up would be an ethics investigation, but it doesn’t appear that is going to happen.”
Lawrence Denney, Speaker of the Idaho House of Representatives, has told the press that he will not call for an investigation.
“I don’t know what Loertscher and Denney have to hide,” Grant said. “If Denney helped Loertscher kill the bill, then maybe Denney needs to step aside and let someone else make the call on whether to investigate.”
Denney, as Speaker, assigned the bill in question to Loertscher’s State Affairs Committee instead of the Transportation Committee where it would normally have been heard.
“This is just more of the fog that the Republicans like to have around to shroud their actions. We need more openness in government, not less. That’s something the Republican majority doesn’t seem to care about.”