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Eye On Boise

Two GOP reps, in statement, say they witnessed Rep. Scott cutting off purported ‘bug’ from Capitol ceiling

Two Idaho representatives have released a statement saying they saw Rep. Heather Scott, R-Blanchard, damage property in the Idaho Capitol building during her first week in office in 2015 out of fear that she was being spied upon – an allegation mentioned in a letter submitted to the speaker of the House last week by another representative that Scott has been denying.

“While moving into our office spaces in the ‘garden’ level before the start of the 2015 session,” said Reps. Caroline Nilsson Troy, R-Genesee, and Don Cheatham, R-Post Falls, in a joint statement, “we witnessed Rep. Scott climbing up on her desk to more closely examine a small, black object that dangled from a thin wire from the ceiling directly above Rep. Scott’s office. She asked our opinion if the object could be a ‘listening device,’ before cutting the object off at the ceiling tile with a knife she had on her person.”

“We later learned that the object was believed to be a part of the Capitol building’s fire suppression system,” the two representatives said in their statement.

Rep. Christy Perry, R-Nampa, referenced the January 2015 incident in a Jan. 11 letter to the speaker that said, “Rep. Scott has displayed paranoid and aggressive behavior. One such example includes her damaging the historical capitol building. Convinced she and others were being ‘spied’ upon by leadership, she has previously damaged the capitol building looking for the ‘bugs’ she believed were installed in the ceiling.”

In a radio interview on Friday evening, Scott denied that allegation, saying it was “completely false and she’s probably going to be getting a letter from my attorney on this one.”

Last week, this reporter initially reported incorrectly that the incident occurred in the House caucus room; that report was immediately corrected to refer only to a location in the Capitol building, as Perry’s letter stated. A public records request to the state Department of Administration last week turned up no work order for repair of a fire sensor above Scott’s basement office cubicle in the Capitol during the first week of the 2015 legislative session. But the department advised that if it were a lesser repair – not a damaged fire sensor – no contractor would have been called in.

“If damage is minor, such as a cover that has fallen off, Facilities Services staff would make the repair and the repair is either not recorded or is recorded as an Outlook Prevent work order,” wrote Diane Blume, program specialist for the Department of Administration. “The department’s Outlook Prevent account for archived work request s goes back only as far as 3-15-2015. Work orders prior to that date have been deleted from the archive.”

The allegation about damaging the capitol building was among an array of concerns Perry listed in her letter, including a comment Scott made during this year’s organizational session – within hearing of multiple representatives – that female House members only advance to leadership positions if they “spread their legs.” Last week, Bedke stripped Scott of all three of her committee assignments.

Yesterday, four other first-year GOP House members and one second-term member said they, too, wanted to be stripped of their committee assignments until Scott got hers back. But all five have continued to attend and participate in their assigned committees since then.

Scott did not immediately return a call requesting comment.

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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