The Idaho House Ethics Committee has voted to censure a central Idaho legislator for her role in publicizing the name and photo of a woman who claimed in April that she was raped by another legislator.
Committee members say Rep. Priscilla Giddings [R-White Bird] had a right to post a link to an online article about the rape investigation involving then-Representative Aaron von Ehlinger. The article initially included the victim’s name and photo. But committee members were troubled by her lying about that and related issues when questioned by the committee.
“Representative Giddings, you are entitled to your own narrative. But you’re not entitled to make up your own facts," said committee member Rep. Brent Crane [R-Nampa].
On Tuesday, Crane laid out a point-by-point rebuttal of statements Giddings made during her appearance before the committee Monday. Giddings said she hadn’t had a chance to review the evidence against her and that the committee was using her to make a political statement. Crane rebuffed that. He said the committee invited her several times in the last three months for private meetings to see if the complaints against her could be resolved behind closed doors. He says she ignored all of them.
“Don’t turn this into a trial where, poor me, they violated a rule. It’s not true," Crane said. "Representative Giddings, you were combative. You still refuse to directly answer the questions the committee had for you.”
Giddings wasn’t present for Tuesday’s meeting, just as she skipped much of Monday’s proceeding where evidence against her was presented. When she was there to answer questions, she often sparred with the committee’s attorney, something noted by one of the members, Rep. Wendy Horman [R-Idaho Falls].
“I was concerned about the lack of civility and respect yesterday, a basic sense of decency toward other House members, toward our process, from the infamous, but now deleted, Facebook post to asking the committee’s lawyers where he went to law school, Duke, by the way," she said.
The committee voted to dismiss one of the two complaints against Giddings because its points were made in the other complaint, which was brought by 25 of Giddings’ peers in the House. The committee recommended that the full House find her guilty of conduct unbecoming of a legislator and dismiss her from the Commerce and Human Resources Committee. She still has two other assignments, including the Appropriations Committee.