Ethics Committee Recommends Censure Of Rep. Giddings Who Shared Personal Information About Rape Accuser
An ethics committee voted unanimously Tuesday to recommend an Idaho lawmaker be censured for her role in sharing the personal information of a 19-year-old legislative intern who accused a state representative of rape.
Rep. Priscilla Giddings (R-Whitebird) shared a post from a far-right news site that included a photo and personal information of the intern, who says former Idaho Rep. Aaron von Ehlinger raped her. Von Ehlinger resigned his seat but says the encounter was consensual. Ada County Prosecutors are investigating the case but have not filed charges.
The decision to recommend punishment was the end of a tense two-day hearing of the Idaho House of Representatives Ethics Committee. Members also said Giddings lied about her behavior when questioned about it shortly after she shared the post. In addition to recommending a censure, the committee recommended Giddings lose her seat on the Commerce and Human Resources Committee.
They did not recommend she lose her seat on the powerful Joint Finance Appropriations Committee or the Agricultural Affairs Committee.
Giddings did not attend the final day of the hearing and boycotted much of the first day, but some of her supporters attended both days. Her campaign did not immediately return a request for comment, but on the first day of the hearing she blasted the investigation.
“These allegations are nothing more than crass attempts by my political opponents to take advantage of the woke cancel culture movement that wants to destroy Idahoans' individual rights for their own personal gain,” she said.
Giddings was combative when questioned on the first day of the hearing, lobbing insults at the committee’s attorney and fellow lawmakers.
House Ethics Committee Chairman Sage Dixon said he wishes Giddings had at least admitted making a mistake.
"If there was some contrition, or a bit of remorse or repentance, all would be forgiven,” he said.
Giddings is running for lieutenant governor in a crowded field that includes Idaho House Speaker Scott Bedke. She claims the complaints are a plot from Bedke to damage her politically. Bedke has denied the accusation.
The fight has served as the latest battle in an increasing fight between far-right Republicans and their more moderate colleagues. Far-right officials, such as Lt. Gov. Janice McGeachin, a slate of lawmakers and members of Ammon Bundy’s anti-government People’s Rights network have rallied around Giddings.
Giddings has called it a “partisan” campaign, but more than a dozen Republican House members signed one of the complaints about Giddings and she faced sharp criticism from the three republicans on the ethics task force.
The date for the full House to vote on Giddings’ fate is not yet set.