Sen. Monty Pearce, R-New Plymouth, the subject of an ethics inquiry in the Senate over failing to disclose a conflict of interest through numerous committee and full Senate votes on oil and gas rules and legislation, tells the Associated Press he did nothing wrong, pointing out that he did disclose during Senate-floor debate on Wednesday over House Bill 464 that he had leases dating back to the 1980s for oil and gas. Pearce's latest leases in western Idaho are to Snake River Oil and Gas, one of the main companies behind the 2012 legislation.
Pearce told the AP he believed the complaint against him was a partisan-motivated effort to sully his reputation. He also contends Senate rules don't require him to disclose potential conflicts during committee hearings, only during floor votes when he's required to tell the lieutenant governor of potential conflicts before voting.
“This is political,” he said. “As a landowner, the only measure where I could have a conflict was House Bill 464, and on that bill, I made the proper declaration. In short, I met the spirit and letter of Senate rules. I look forward to clearing my name and receiving an apology from those who made these baseless allegations.”
Betsy Z. Russell covers Idaho news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Boise.
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