Op-Ed by Daniel Bobinski
On November 15, 2021, State Rep. Priscilla Giddings was censured by the House and removed from a committee based on recommendations of the House Ethics and Policy Committee.
The news will tell you that, and they’ll give you their reasons why, but the reasons won’t be true.
Truth no longer seems to matter in this country.
Here is some truth for you. It’s illegal to mandate medication issued under an emergency use authorization, yet mandates are happening all around us. The truth doesn’t matter.
More truth: In Idaho, the Constitution says when the Governor leaves the state, gubernatorial power transfers to the Lieutenant Governor. Yet our Governor thinks he has a right to “authorize” what the Lieutenant Governor can or can’t do in his absence. To Brad Little, the truth doesn’t matter.
More truth: When the House Ethics and Policy Committee announced they would move forward with a public hearing on an ethics charge against Aaron von Ehlinger, they released only the accuser’s side of the story.
Priscilla Giddings thought that was unfair. She contacted von Ehlinger’s attorney, David Leroy. Leroy is a former Idaho Attorney General and a former Idaho Lt. Governor. Giddings asked if it was okay for him to release von Ehlinger’s statement so people could also see his side of the story. He said it was.
Giddings told Leroy the Ethics Committee had redacted the name of the accuser in the documents they released, and asked Leroy if Jane Doe’s name should also be redacted from von Ehlinger’s statement.
Leroy informed Giddings that the police investigation had been dropped, so it was perfectly fine to release von Ehlinger’s version with the woman’s name unredacted.
Truth: Giddings asked a second time to verify that was true.
More truth: Leroy reiterated that it was.
Even more truth: It was DAVID LEROY who released to the media the documents that had Jane Doe’s real name. Said another way: It was DAVID LEROY who “exposed” Jane Doe’s name to the media. Said another way: It was DAVID LEROY who disseminated Jane Doe’s real name to the media.
And even more truth: 49 of Idaho’s legislators failed to understand that truth.
But wait, there’s more
Later, Giddings contacted the editor of a major media outlet, asking if he had received the documents David Leroy sent. The editor affirmed — yes, he had. At that point, Giddings knew both sides of the story were available to the public.
When someone sent Giddings a link that contained both versions of the story, Giddings scanned the story to see if both versions were there. Seeing that both were, she linked to that story in an email to her constituents.
Truth: Giddings linked to an already published news story. Giddings did not “publish” anyone’s name.
Yet that’s not what you heard if you listened to Representatives Sage Dixon, Brent Crane, Wendy Horman, John Gannon, and John McCrostie on August 3.
They said that Priscilla Giddings:
- “published’ the name of Jane Doe
- “disseminated” the name of Jane Doe
- “posted” Jane Doe’s picture
- “exposed” Jane Doe’s real name
But none of that was true. Here’s what IS true:
It was David Leroy who “exposed” and “disseminated” Jane Doe’s name.
It was a news outlet that “published” Jane Doe’s name.
Media outlets had both sides of the story and THEY were publishing that information.
Think about this: If the Ethics Committee had been ethical and released both sides of the story, they could have redacted Jane Doe’s name (plus whatever else they wanted) to their heart’s content and everyone would have been fine.
Also think about this; David Leroy had told Priscilla Giddings that because the police investigation had been dropped, Jane Doe’s name was public domain.
But truth doesn’t seem to matter anymore. If 49 members of Idaho’s House of Representatives had bothered to look at the truth, they might have stood up for it. But 49 legislators didn’t have the backbone to stand up for truth.
The “Ethics” Committee acted most unethically
After the Giddings hearing, John Gannon kept saying Jane Doe was a whistleblower, assigning that label ex post facto, and doing Olympic-level mental gymnastics with Idaho code trying to make Giddings out to be an administrator and Jane Doe to be an employee.
Truth: Jane Doe is nowhere near a whistleblower, Giddings is not an ‘administrator,’ and Jane Doe was not an employee. Legislators should be shaking their heads at Gannon, and the same for Sage Dixon, Ethics Committee Chair, for letting Gannon pursue that fabrication.
Wendy Horman accused Giddings of lying, saying that despite what Giddings claimed, the committee never accused Priscilla Giddings of retaliation. Conveniently, Horman ignored a letter dated June 21 sent to Giddings by Sage Dixon in which Dixon said that “disclosure of her name could be construed as retaliation.” (read the letter here)
Truth: the Ethics Committee did imply that Giddings’ actions could be construed as retaliation. Legislators and the public should be wondering about Horman’s ability to be truthful, as well.
John McCrostie kept referring to Jane Doe as a sexual assault victim. This was a patently false statement, yet McCrostie kept repeating it, and neither Committee Chair Dixon nor the highly paid Holland & Hart attorney William Myer bothered to speak up and correct him.
Truth: Jane Doe may have been an “alleged” assault victim, but she was not an official sexual assault victim, and McCrostie should not have referred to her as such. Another untrustworthy legislator.
Then there’s Brent Crane. In response to Giddings saying the ethics charge against her might have been politically motivated by Scott Bedke, Brent Crane chided her and boldly stated that neither she nor Bedke had announced their run for higher office. It’s actually laughable, but with a most serious, straight face, Crane said that at that time he didn’t know Scott Bedke was running for lieutenant governor. I’m just going to come out and say it: Brent Crane was intellectually dishonest to the extreme. Some might even say he LIED. Yes, I just used that word. But hey – hats off to Brent – he’s is quite the actor.
Truth: Brent Crane knew very well that both Priscilla Giddings and Scott Bedke were going to run for Lt. Governor. How do I know? Because I know legislators who will testify to that fact.
Also, isn’t it ironic that Crane blasted Giddings for not playing his gotcha game during the von Ehlinger hearing, saying she might have told the truth but she wasn’t telling the WHOLE truth. Here’s how this backfires for Crane: Bedke might not have officially announced, so Crane could officially say he didn’t “know”, but the whole truth is he knew very well Bedke was running. Therefore, all things being equal, Crane did exactly what he accused Giddings of. Some call that being a hypocrite. Yes, Brent, I just used that word, too. The apple has fallen far from the tree.
Finally, there’s Sage Dixon, who said that if only Giddings had come in and apologized, “all would have been forgiven.”
Truth: I don’t believe Dixon for a microsecond.
The truth is that the Ethics Committee made the unethical decision to release only Jane Doe’s version of events. Crane says they were under no obligation to release von Ehlinger’s version, but that’s a semantics game that could be argued ad infinitum. The truth is the committee chose not to be transparent, and I’m guessing they didn’t like it that Priscilla Giddings wanted von Ehlinger’s version out there.
Chaney gets white male privilege
Interestingly, when Rep. Greg Cheney purposefully posted pictures of (in the true definition of the word) and purposefully doxed the identify of immigrants who approached Jane Doe in the hallway, his colleagues approached him and said, “Hey, not a good idea.” Chaney then took the photos off Facebook and nobody said another word about it. Representative Giddings was not afforded that luxury. Instead, she was grilled with a childish game of gotcha during a public hearing, was accused of things she did not do, and then got railroaded with trumped up charges.
Under other circumstances, it might be that five people who blatantly ignore truth and spread false information about someone might get charged with defamation.
Instead, Pricilla Giddings has been censured by 49 of her colleagues.
Because nobody seems to give a damn about truth anymore.
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