IDAHO FALLS, ID – Following ethical complaints, Rep Priscilla Giddings, R-Whitebird, a current candidate for Lt. Governor, will be the subject of an ethics committee hearing on August 2. Two complaints have been filed against Giddings in recent months. The complaints revolve around her conduct during a previous ethics committee hearing for former Rep. Aaron von Ehlinger, R–Lewiston. The first complaint was filed by Rep. Greg Chaney, R-Caldwell, also Chairman of the House Judiciary Rules and Administration committee. The second complaint, filed May 3 by 24 members of the Idaho House, included 16 Republicans and 8 Democrats. Republicans that co-signed the complaint include House Speaker Scott Bedke, R-Oakley, Rep. Chaney, R-Calwell, Rep. Brandon Mitchell, R-Moscow, and Rep. Caroline Troy, R-Genesee. The House Ethics Committee concluded, after a preliminary investigation, there was sufficient probable cause to move forward with both complaints.
Calls for an ethics committee hearing for Giddings began back in March after she posted an article on her social media revealing the identity of a woman known as Jane Doe. To refresh your memory, Rep. Aaron von Ehlinger was accused of raping a house intern, Jane Doe back in early March of this year. After the House ethics committee chose to investigate the situation, they found von Ehlinger’s actions to be “unbecoming” of a legislator and then turned the decision to suspend Aaron to the whole legislature. However, before the legislature had a chance to vote on his suspension, Von Eighilingher resigned. According to the Idaho Dispatch, the Boise police department is involved in the investigation as of July 5. The case has been forwarded to the Ada County Prosecutor.
In both complaints, Rep. Giddings has been accused of doxxing and invading the woman’s privacy by posting an article revealing her identity. Giddings has defended herself on several occasions, stating that she believes in free speech, that she had issues with the fact that an ethics committee meeting was held before due process of the law, and she says she did not know the website with information about the case she posted contained Jane Doe’s Picture.
On Tuesday evening, Rep. Priscilla Giddings shared a fundraising post on her Facebook page accusing Bedke of using his influence, as Speaker of the House, to throw his opponent out of her seat with an ethics hearing. According to Gidding’s post, she feels that “he is trying to use his position and perhaps tens of thousands of your hard-earned tax dollars’ ‘ for a political weapon to win a campaign. She then proceeds to point out that as speaker of the house Bedke “has consistently used his position to push sweetheart deals for special interests and big payouts for his buddies.” Speaker Scott Bedke, R-Oakley has also thrown his hat in the ring for the Lt. Governor race. It’s important to note that Speaker Bedke does not directly appoint ethics committees, the House Majority, and minority parties select and vote on the committee members according to House rule. But it’s interesting that he did choose to co-sign the second complaint.
Scott Bedke responded to her claims early Wednesday morning in a press release. In the release, Bedke stated that the timeline of events does not match up with Gidding accusations. “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.
There will not be a special reconvening of the legislature for the ethics committee as far as KID has heard. The ethics committee will take place in Boise on August 2 and will be streamed by Idaho Public Television.