The 2021 Legislature took its ugliest turn on its 108th day, when the House Ethics Committee weighed a sexual assault complaint against first-year Rep. Aaron von Ehlinger, writes IdahoEdNews reporter Kevin Richert. Committee members tried to keep Wednesday’s hearing focused on fact-finding, often blocking cross-examination tactics from von Ehlinger’s attorney. But the hearing was unseemly and even more tawdry than it needed to be — and the lowest point came when von Ehlinger’s accuser, a 19-year-old legislative aide, testified behind a curtain, and was later accosted and filmed in a Statehouse hallway.
The ethics committee’s unsavory, unenviable job of fact-finding came to a close Thursday, when the committee recommended censure and suspension, and the first-year lawmaker turned in his resignation. But this is the job of an elected official, albeit in the extreme: the business of commanding and demanding facts. Difficult facts, straightforward facts. And the 2021 session has been a bad year for the facts, with real effect on policy.
You can read Richert's full analysis online here at idahoednews.org, or pick up today's Sunday/Monday print edition of the Idaho Press.