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Rep. Heather Scott defends controversial comments, contends there are ‘things being hidden’ in Idaho statehouse

UPDATED: Fri., Jan. 13, 2017

Rep. Heather Scott appears on KBOI 670 on Friday, January 13, 2017, to discuss controversial comments she made about female legislators in the Idaho state legislature. (Scott Logan / KBOI)
Rep. Heather Scott appears on KBOI 670 on Friday, January 13, 2017, to discuss controversial comments she made about female legislators in the Idaho state legislature. (Scott Logan / KBOI)

BOISE – A defiant Idaho Rep. Heather Scott went on talk radio Friday in Boise to defend comments about female legislators that got her removed from all her House committee assignments, charging that the sanctions against her were just a “distraction” to keep attention off her new website and outreach efforts.

“I said legislators shouldn’t have to sleep around or spread their legs to advance,” Scott, R-Blanchard, told KBOI Radio host Nate Shelman. “That’s the appearance from the outside. … The better question to ask is what’s going on here and what are they trying to hide.” She added, “There’s other things being hidden.”

When Shelman pressed Scott to reveal what she says is being covered up at the Statehouse, she demurred. “You’ll never ask me back if I tell you everything the first time,” the second-term North Idaho lawmaker said.

Shelman responded, “I don’t know if I’m going to ask you back if you don’t answer the question.”

Scott’s appearance on the live, call-in radio show, originally scheduled for half an hour, was extended to 90 minutes. “Rant and Rave Friday has turned into the Heather Scott show,” Shelman told listeners just over an hour in.

Five people questioned Scott on the air; all were strong Scott supporters. Some waited for an hour on hold before they could ask their questions. Shelman commented, “I can tell a coordinated phone tree when I hear one – this isn’t my first time doing a show.”

Under questioning from Shelman, Scott said her comments were directed at Rep. Christy Perry, R-Nampa, whom a blogger claimed last year had an affair with a divorced state senator. Perry and her husband, who had been going through divorce proceedings, have since reconciled.

Scott also pointed to Gov. Butch Otter’s DUI conviction more than two decades ago when he was the state’s lieutenant governor; GOP Sen. Mike Crapo’s DUI conviction in 2013; a state representative who was caught taking some of his opponent’s campaign materials that had been left at several homes during the November campaign; and “two documented affairs and one other marriage” among lawmakers. “But we won’t go there,” Scott said.

“I think we already did,” Shelman said.

In December, House Majority Leader Mike Moyle, R-Star, and Rep. Janet Trujillo, R-Idaho Falls, married; both had been divorced.

“So we have all these documented lawbreakers,” Scott said on the radio show. “Why was I chosen because I said something? That’s my freedom of speech. I didn’t break any laws. … Why were my committees stripped without any judge, jury, just stripped like that? There’s something else going on here.”

She maintained that Perry was “rewarded” for having an affair by being made chair of the House Local Government Committee this year. But Perry previously was chair of the more-powerful House Ways and Means Committee, a leadership-dominated committee that handles major legislation, often late in the session. The House Local Government Committee rarely meets; her assignment was widely viewed as a demotion.

Perry submitted a letter to House Speaker Scott Bedke on Wednesday morning expressing concern over Scott’s behavior toward other state lawmakers. Scott called Perry’s allegations “completely false if not slanderous.”

When Shelman asked her, “Are you a martyr?” Scott responded, “Probably. … I’m not afraid to stand up on truth.”

“We have a legislator that has an affair and she is promoted,” Scott said. “You should not have to sleep around to get a committee chair.”

When Shelman asked Scott how many people witnessed her comment to Rep. Judy Boyle, R-Midvale, in December about female lawmakers advancing because they “spread their legs,” Scott said, “I think maybe two. But they say that the walls in Boise have ears.”

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