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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Eye On Boise

Listen live to Hart ethics meeting

This morning's House Ethics Committee meeting will be broadcast live on the Internet; you can listen in by going to the Legislature's website and clicking on the link under "Announcements."

Rep. Phil Hart, R-Athol, has submitted letters of support from GOP central committees in Boundary, Bonner and Benewah counties, saying he should be cleared of all ethics charges. "We know that Representative Hart received 75.2 percent of his district's vote and this was after the people already knew about his problems with the IRS and Tax Commission," wrote Pamela Kaynor, Benewah County GOP chairman. The committee also received several emails and letters from Hart supporters, several of them identical. W.L. Leiby of Coeur d'Alene wrote in a Dec. 9 letter, "What is the problem here? Is it that rep. Hart supported and was supported by the tea-party? Is it that he supported staunch new conservatives against tired old dead-wood? Why is it Rep. Hart is  being persecuted by the establishment?"

According to public records including IRS liens and court documents, Hart owes more than $500,000 in back state and federal income taxes, penalties and interest. He also has an outstanding judgment for thousands of dollars stemming from a 1996 timber theft on state endowment lands that he unsuccessfully defended in court.

Betsy Z. Russell
Betsy Z. Russell joined The Spokesman-Review in 1991. She currently is a reporter in the Boise Bureau covering Idaho state government and politics, and other news from Idaho's state capital.

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