Rep. Phil Hart, right, talks with his attorney, Starr Kelso, left.
On Wednesday, members of a ethics panel voted unanimously to recommend removal of Rep. Phil Hart, R-Athol, from the House Revenue and Taxation Committee. Shortly after the decision was rendered, Starr Kelso, attorney for Hart, that the committee had no authority to recommend Hart’s removal.
Hart was cleared of two ethics complaints against him – one at an earlier committee meeting and one Wednesday – but members of the ethics panel felt that Hart’s ongoing legal case against the Idaho State Tax Commission could prove to be a conflict-of-interest for a member a House committee tasked with writing tax code. The commission and the Internal Revenue Service say Hart owes more than $700,000 in back taxes, fees, and interest, but he is fighting that amount. The commission recently ruled against Hart in the matter, but the Athol Republican has filed a motion to reconsider. If that motion is not approved, it is possible Hart could take his battle to district court. Full story. Dustin Hurst, Idaho Reporter