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House Ethics Committee to hold hearing on Giddings

Rep. Priscilla Giddings
Posted at 1:19 PM, Jul 20, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-21 19:20:22-04

This article was originally published by Kevin Richert in Idaho Ed News.

The House Ethics Committee will reconvene Aug. 2 — this time to hear complaints against Rep. Priscilla Giddings, R-White Bird.

The announcement, sent out to House members electronically Tuesday, was short on details. The committee said it conducted a preliminary investigation into two complaints “alleging conduct unbecoming a representative,” and found probable cause in connection with parts of each complaint.

Kelcie Moseley-Morris of the Idaho Capital Sun first reported on Tuesday’s announcement.

In June, Boise State Public Radio reported that Giddings faced an ethics investigation after she publicly shared personal information about “Jane Doe,” a 19-year-old House staffer who said she was sexually assaulted by then-Rep. Aaron Von Ehlinger, R-Lewiston. Von Ehlinger denied the allegation, but resigned from the House after a two-day Ethics Committee hearing.

Giddings, serving her third House term, is running for lieutenant governor, as is House Speaker Scott Bedke. In June, Giddings told Boise State Public Radio that she considered the ethics investigation politically motivated, a claim Bedke called “patently false.”

In a statement posted to social media Tuesday, Giddings again said Bedke is using "dirty politics" and said it is a "weaponized 'ethics' hearing."

House Speaker and Lt. Gov. candidate Scott Bedke also released a written statement on the ethics hearing. Bedke said he is "responding to some false claims made by Rep. Priscilla Giddings."

The timeline of events simply doesn’t match Rep. Gidding’s assertion that there is some type of political smear campaign targeting her based upon the Ethics investigation,” said Speaker Bedke. “Her attempt to excuse Rep. von Ehlinger’s conduct through her admitted publication of his alleged victim’s information is worthy of investigation by the Ethics Committee. This is why I signed on with 24 other House members to make that request on May 3rd, 2021. Rep. Giddings did not declare her intention to seek a statewide office until May 21st, 2021. Rep. Giddings is now attempting to deflect and use the investigation as a fundraising tactic.

I believe all elected officials should be held to a higher ethical standard -- that was the intent of adding my name to the letter. I am looking forward to the fair and impartial deliberations of the Ethics committee on this issue.
Speaker of the House Scott Bedke

The Ethics Committee’s public meeting will begin at 9 a.m. in room EW42, in the Statehouse’s garden level. If necessary, the hearing will continue on Aug. 3.