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Eye On Boise archive for July 2010

FRIDAY, JULY 30, 2010

Llama on the lam in Lewiston

Here's a news item from the Associated Press: LEWISTON, Idaho (AP) — A llama is still on the loose in Lewiston. Nez Perce County Sheriff's Lt. Bill Madison says they still haven't identified the owner of the llama, which has been helping itself to neighborhood…

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It's not me... 

Imagine how stunned I was to see on the AP wire today that an elusive graffiti bandit is annoying the heck out of Pocatello by emblazoning "BZR" in all kinds of high and hard-to-reach places on buildings and signs in the southeast Idaho city. Yes,…

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The new allegations...

Here's a link to the letter that Rep. Shirley Ringo's attorney, Robert Huntley, delivered to the Idaho Attorney General's office yesterday on secret tax deals, with the three new sworn statements attached along with an earlier affidavit from Stan Howland. One note: One of the…

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Mike Gwartney (Betsy Russell)

Guv's top aide has been a lightning rod 

Gov. Butch Otter's administration chief and close friend, Mike Gwartney, has been something of a lightning rod for controversy throughout Otter's term in office, attracting the ire of state workers for proposing cuts to health benefits and clashing with lawmakers on everything from activities in…

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Gwartney leaving Otter Administration

Mike Gwartney, Gov. Butch Otter's best friend and his right-hand man in his administration, serving without pay as the director of the Department of Administration, is retiring as of today, and his chief deputy, Teresa Luna, will take over his post on an interim basis.…

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Labrador fills in for, praises Bachmann 

GOP congressional candidate Raul Labrador, while in Washington, D.C. this week for a fundraiser and other meetings, filled in for scheduled speaker Rep. Michelle Bachmann, R-Minn., yesterday at a talk at the Republican National Committee headquarters dubbed the "Fire Pelosi Speaking Series." "I am honored…

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Two views of ethics panel outcome...

Here's a link to my full story at on the House Ethics Committee hearing today, at which a 4-3 party-line vote cleared Rep. Phil Hart of conflict-of-interest charges. Hart still faces an additional ethics charge of abuse of legislative privilege; the committee will convene…

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One charge remains... 

Still pending before the Ethics Committee is the question of whether Hart abused legislative privilege by invoking it repeatedly to win delays in his state and federal income tax cases. The committee will wait for court resolution of that issue before taking it up on…

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Two motions are on the floor at Ethics Committee 

Rep. Bert Stevenson, R-Rupert, has moved to dismiss the ethics charges against Hart with regard to Rule 38, conflicts of interest. Rep. Dell Raybould, R-Rexburg, seconded the motion. Rep. Wendy Jaquet, D-Ketchum, made a substitute motion to reprimand Hart and recommend to the speaker that…

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Sayler: 'It's a pattern of actions'

Rep. Wendy Jaquet told the Ethics Committee, "When I look at this I wonder in my mind whether Rep. Hart should be on the Revenue & Taxation Committee, because of the history that Rep. Hart is still dealing with with regard to tax matters. ...…

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Rep. Dell Raybould, R-Rexburg, left, and Rep. Bert Stevenson, R-Rupert, right, at the House Ethics Committee on Thursday. (Betsy Russell)

Raybould: 'We've got to be careful' 

Rep. Dell Raybould, R-Rexburg, said in his view, a legislator can't have a conflict of interest on a bill if it affects anyone other than the legislator himself. "I think we have to be careful here in terms of singling out a particular piece of…

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Kelso: 'Issue was raised by Mr. Hart'

Rep. Wendy Jaquet, D-Ketchum, questioned Starr Kelso, Rep. Phil Hart's attorney, about why he submitted legal documents to the state in Hart's tax appeal stating that the issue of legislative privilege was "being considered by legislative leaders," and whether Kelso sought that consideration, whether it…

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Loertscher: 'No legislator has a personal agenda'

Rep. Tom Loertscher, chairman of the House Ethics Committee, responded to vice-chair Rep. Wendy Jaquet's comments, saying, "I don't think there's any legislator that has a personal agenda." Lawmakers "tend to find issues that they are passionate about," he said. That doesn't mean they have…

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Jaquet: 'Why we're here'

Members of the Ethics Committee had a few questions about the complaint and charges against Rep. Phil Hart. Rep. Dell Raybould, R-Rexburg, said, "It looks like to me it's extremely vague." Rep. Wendy Jaquet, D-Ketchum, responded, "We have an obligation as a body to ...…

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