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Ethics Hearing Begins For Idaho State Rep. Priscilla Giddings

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Idaho Public TV screenshot
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The Idaho House Ethics Committee today [Monday] questioned a central Idaho state representative who faces allegations that she helped to publicly identify a legislative intern who accused another lawmaker of rape.
 
The committee is determining whether Rep. Priscilla Giddings [R-White Bird] conducted herself in a way that was unbecoming of a legislator.This case dates back to April, when the legislative intern’s allegations against Representative Aaron von Ehlinger led to a police investigation, a House Ethics Committee investigation, and ultimately, his resignation.
 
Giddings, who is from the Idaho County town of White Bird, says she was suspicious about the case. She posted on her Facebook page a link to an article from far right publication Redoubt News that publicly identified and featured a photo of the intern. In testimony Monday, Giddings says she had only skimmed the article and didn’t know it featured the woman’s name or image.

Even if it did, she argued on Monday, it was not a big deal.

“There was an open investigation. There were no charges and there still are no charges to this day, is what I’m aware of," she said.

And if there were no charges, “There was no victim. There is no victim.”

If there is a victim in this case, Giddings argued, it’s her.

“The allegations against me are patently false as is plain to every honest and intelligent person here. Throughout my entire life, from the Air Force Academy to my combat service to this nation to my membership in the legislature, I have always conducted myself with the highest possible standard," Giddings said.

And then she turned the questioning back on the committee members, calling the investigation politically motivated.

There are two complaints against Giddings. One by Rep. Greg Chaney [R-Caldwell] and one by 25 legislators, about two-thirds of them Republicans, including Speaker of the House Scott Bedke, who, Giddings noted, just happens to be running against her for lieutenant governor in next year’s election.

The committee adjourned on Monday afternoon and will resume with testimony and perhaps a decision on Giddings’ legislative fate on Tuesday.