With this post, WC continues a new recurring, semi-regular series: the worst of the worst in state legislatures, focusing initially on the Alaska and Idaho state legislatures. Neither WC nor his readers have high expectations for state legislators, but this series looks at the exceptionally appalling.
White Bird is a election district in west central Idaho. It’s a nice enough place, scenic, located on the lower Salmon River not too far above its confluence with the Snake River. But as nice as White Bird may be, the town’s representative to the Idaho State House, Patricia Giddings, is a horrific embarrassment to the community, the Idaho Legislature and the people of Idaho.
Until recently, an indicted criminal named Aaron von Ehlinger was a member of the Idaho Legislature. Von Ehlinger was accused of sexual assault on a 19-year old legislative intern. Von Ehlinger resigned before he could be kicked out of the state legislature, but before that the legislature’s ethics committee held hearings on the allegations against Von Ehlinger. The legislative intern had the courage to testify at that hearing, after she was assured she would remain anonymous. Her testimony was devastating. Rep. Giddings, however, chose to ignore the confidentiality agreement and “outed” the intern. That was too much for even the overwhelmingly conservative Idaho Legislature. Giddings’ fellow House members censured and stripped Giddings of her committee assignments, but not just because she outed the 19-year old sexual assault victim. Or even because she did it twice, the second time in her legislative newsletter, paid for with Idahoans’ tax dollars.
No, the final straw came during an Ethics Committee meeting looking into Giddings’ conduct, Giddings denied publicizing the intern’s name until another lawmaker pulled up the post on Giddings’ Facebook account during the Ethics Committee hearing. A proven liar. During that hearing, Giddings was frequently combative, refusing to answer questions and accusing the committee of violating her due process rights and House rules. Sample:
Rep. McMurdy: “If you look, there’s a post that says, ‘Follow the money, exclamation point. Idaho’s very own Kavanaugh.’ Did you write that line?”
Rep. Giddings: “I typed it into my Android phone. I did not write it.”
More recently, the intern’s attorney, Erika Birch, who is suing Von Ehlinger on behalf of the intern, asked Rep. Giddings to provide records her contacts with von Ehlinger. Rep. Giddings either denied or ignored those requests. So the intern’s attorney has been forced to sue Giddings to obtain evidence. Instead of cooperating, Rep. Giddings said in her newsletter that the legal petition a “nuisance lawsuit” and an attempt by the “Boise Swamp” to “bog down our campaign.” “They will do anything in their power to drag our state towards leftism, even if that means finding a way to censor and even sue anyone who stands up for the people,” Giddings said:
Boise Swamp has accelerated their attempts to try to bog down our campaign. This week they filed a nuisance lawsuit against me. They will do anything in their power to drag our state towards leftism, even if that means finding a way to censor and even sue anyone who stands up for the people. This lawsuit is over a “public records request” for records that don’t exist. The legislative services office even searched all my files and found nothing related to their request. The leftist lawyer is clearly fishing for more information in an attempt to get a huge payout from taxpayers!
So Rep Giddings thinks lawful discovery in support of a meritorious civil lawsuit is “a leftist” plot “to censor and even sue anyone who stands up for the people,” and that she can safely ignore it. The Idaho Constitution and laws, which she swore to uphold, is what she is describing as “the Boise Swamp.” Rep. Giddings is wrong on all points.
When Von Ehlinger was first accused of sexual assault, he sent a press release to his constituents, saying he was “falsely accused.” The press release was written using Microsoft Word. Word embeds meta data about who wrote and who revises Word documents. And the meta data for Von Ehlinger’s press release shows it was written and revised by Giddings. So, yeah, discoverable material and false claims of having no documents.
She’s also dumber than a planarian. She only has to look the recent experience of Idaho Lt. Governor (and governor wannabe) Janice McGeachin. Ms. McGeachin learned that the laws apply to everyone, at considerable personal expense (although she is trying to foist that expense off on the Idaho taxpayers). Even planarians learn avoid those kind of shocks; Rep. Giddings, not so much.
All of which makes Idaho state Rep. Priscilla Giddings, with Alaska state Rep. David Eastman, one of the worst of the worst in state legislatures.