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Representative Priscilla Giddings Addresses the House on Ethics Vote

This is the original transcript so any typos are not ours but made by the recording secretary

THANK YOU. >> MR. SPEAKER, THANK YOU. FRIENDS AND COLLEAGUES, FOR ALL THE HEARTFELT, IN-DEPTH COMMENTARY. I WILL TELL YOU, THIS IS PRETTY SURREAL TO HAVE THAT MANY CAMERAS ON YOU IN FRONT OF IDAHO’S BEST AND BRIGHTEST IN THIS ROOM. SO, WHAT TO SAY. I WOULD DEFINITELY THINK I WANT TO START WITH A QUOTE FROM PASTOR DIETRICH BONHOFER, WHAT WAS A MARTYR, A SPY, GAVE HIS WHOLE LIFE IN THE FIGHT NAZISES WHEN HE SAID, GOD IS NOT A GOD OF EMOTIONS BUT A GOD OF TRUTH. I LOVE THAT BECAUSE WITH ALL MY HEART, I HAVE GIVEN MAY WHOLE LIFE TO FIGHT FOR TRUTH. SO, LETS START WITH MY CONCERNS, WITH THE REPORT, AND THEN MAYBE JUST SHARE A BIT OF MY PERSPECTIVE OF WHAT HAPPENED FOR THOSE OF YOU WHO ARE NOT ABLE TO ATTEND THE HEARING, OR TO REVIEW IT, AND THEN TALK ABOUT A WAY FORWARD. SO, FIRST OF ALL, WITH THE REPORT, JUST I WANT EVERYONE TO KNOW THAT THE FIRST PAGE OF THE REPORT IS WHAT WAS READ ACROSS THE DESK. THERE IS ACTUALLY 16 ADDITIONAL PAGES THAT ARE PART OF THE REPORT. SO SOME OF MY CONCERNS THERE IS THAT THEY CONFLICT WITH ONE ANOTHER, WHAT WAS READ ACROSS THE DESK AND WHAT’S IN THE FULL REPORT ACTUALLY DO CONFLICT. SO, LETS START WITH THE FIRST SENTENCE IN THE SUMMARY WHERE IT TALKS ABOUT THAT THE PUBLIC HEARING WAS HELD PURSUANT TO HOUSE RULE 45. THE FIRST THING I WOULD LIKE TO POINT OUT IS GOING THROUGH THE WHOLE PROCESS, IN HOUSE RULE 45, IT SPECIFICALLY SAYS IN SECTION 4 THAT THE ACCUSED SHALL HAVE A FULL AND FAIR OPPORTUNITY TO OBTAIN AND REVIEW ALL OF THE EVIDENCE IN SUPPORT OF THE COMPLAINT. I WILL TELL YOU THAT DID NOT HAPPEN. I DID NOT SEE ALL OF THE EVIDENCE. I WAS NOT GIVEN IT PRIOR TO THAT HEARING. SO IN THE REPORT, IT SPECIFICALLY SAYS THAT SHE, ME, WAS GIVEN A FULL AND FAIR OPPORTUNITY TO OBTAIN AND REVIEW ALL OF THE EVIDENCE IN SUPPORT OF THE COMPLAINTS. BUT THERE IS A SUBSCRIPT, NUMBER THREE, AND IT SAYS THAT I WAS GIVEN THREE COPIES OF THE RULES OF PROCEDURES THAT WERE ADOPTED IN ADVANCE OF THE HEARING, WHICH STATED THAT THE RESPONDENT OR HER COUNCIL MUST, UPON TIMELY REQUESTS, RECEIVE FROM THE COMMITTEE’S COUNSEL ALL OF THE EVIDENCE IN SUPPORT OF THE COMPLAINT. SO WHAT THEY DID THERE IS THAT THEY — THEY ADDED, IN THE PROCEDURES, THAT I NEEDED TO ASK FOR IT. SO LET’S GO BACK TO RULE 45, NOWHERE DOES IT SAY YOU HAVE TO ASK IF IT, SO WHAT THE COMMITTEE, AND THEIR LEGAL COUNSEL DID, IS THAT THEY USED THE SECTION 7, WHERE IT SAID, THE COMMITTEE MAY ADOPT RULES OF PROCEDURE FOR THE ORDERLY CONDUCT OF THE MEETING, SO THEY CREATED PROCEDURES THAT WERE, ACTUALLY, IN CONTRADICTION TO HOUSE RULE 45, AND IN SECTION 7, IT SAYS THAT WHEN THEY CREATE THESE PROCEDURES, THOSE RULES SHALL BE CONSISTENT WITH THIS RULE. SO, WITH THAT RIGHT THERE, THEY CREATED A PROCEDURE THAT VIOLATED THE RULE, WHICH VIOLATED THE OTHER SECTION OF THE RULE. THAT’S CONCERNING TO ME BECAUSE WHEN THE REPORT SAYS THAT IT WAS HELD IN PURSUANT TO HOUSE RULE 45, IT DOESN’T REALLY MEAN THAT. THE SECOND CONCERNING THING, WHEN YOU LOOK AT THIS, IS THAT IT TALKS ABOUT HOW THE FIRST COMPLAINT WAS DROPPED, AND IT DOESN’T REALLY TALK ABOUT THE ACTUAL SHARING OF THE NEWS ARTICLE. IT SAYS, YOU KNOW, THAT’S NOT REALLY PART OF IT, SO IT GOES TO THE NEXT PARAGRAPH, AND IT SAYS IT’S MORE HER CONDUCT WAS UNBECOMING WHEN SHE WAS PRESSED ABOUT THAT SHARING OF THE LINK. ON THE FIRST PAGE, IT’S TAKING YOUR ATTENDING AWAY FROM THE FACT THAT, THE INFORMATION GOT OUT THERE. BUT WHEN YOU GO TO THE REPORT, IT FLAT OUT SAYS ON PAGE 14, THAT REPRESENTATIVE GIDDINGS SOCIAL MEDIA POSTINGS OF THE INDIVIDUAL’S NAME AND THE PHOTO IN THE COURSE OF THE OTHER INVESTIGATION WAS CONDUCT UNBECOMING A MEMBER OF THE HOUSE. SO WHICH IS IT. IS IT WHAT IT SAYS ON THE FIRST PAGE, THAT’S NOT PART OF IT. OR IS IT WHAT IT SAYS ON PAGE 14, SAYING THAT IT IS PART OF IT. BUT WHEN YOU VOTE FOR THIS, YOU ARE VOTING FOR ALL OF IT. YOU ARE NOT JUST VOTING FOR THIS RENDITION. MY NEXT CONCERN THE LEGAL IMPLICATIONS HERE, FOR TWO REASONS, ONE ON THE FIRST PAGE OF THE REPORT, IT SAYS, HER REPEATED LYING. WHERE I HAVE CONCERNS WITH THIS IS THAT IN THE LAW, SPECIFICALLY, WE HAVE SEVERAL SECTIONS. WE HAVE 184705, 67409, I WAS SUBPOENAED. I HAD TO SHOW UP BASED ON THE LAW. IN 4705, I HAD TO TESTIFY BASED ON THE LAW. AND I COULD NOT REFUSE TO ANSWER A QUESTION OR IT WOULD BE A MISDEMEANOR, AND THAT’S, ACTUALLY, IN THE LAW. AND IT’S ILLEGAL TO LIE TO THE COMMITTEE. AND SO, IF I HAD ACTUALLY LIED, IT WOULD HAVE BEEN A VIOLATION OF THE LAW, AND THAT SHOULD HAVE BEEN IN THIS REPORT. BUT, IT’S NOT BECAUSE I DIDN’T. THEY ARE JUST SAYING THAT THEY THINK IN THEIR OPINION THAT I DID. BUT NOWHERE LEGALLY, DID I. I DO HAVE TO LAUGH A LITTLE BIT ABOUT THE EVASIVE REMARK. BECAUSE THEN I COULD RECOUNT STORIES OF YOU WHERE I WENT THROUGH SURVIVAL AND EVASION TRAINING JUST IN CASE THAT YOU GET SHOT DOWN IN COMBAT AND BECOME A PRISONER OF WAR. THERE IS SOME GREAT MEMORIES THERE BEING BEAT UP, PUT IN A BOX. TACTICS. PROCEDURES. TECHNIQUES ON WHAT TO DO TO BE EVASIVE. SO WITH THAT, I SMILE. I SAY, THANK YOU FOR YOUR TAXPAYER MONEY ON TREATING AND TRAINING ME TO BE EVASIVE WHEN QUESTIONED BY AN ENEMY. ONE OF MY OTHER CONCERNS WITH THE WAY THAT THIS HEARING HAPPENED DOES COME DOWN TO THE MONEY. I DO SERVE ON THE BUDGET COMMITTEE WHERE THE MONEY GOES AND WHERE IT COMES FROM. IT’S VERY IMPORTANT, AND WE ALL KNOW AND AGREE ON THAT. WE ARGUED OVER 180,000 EARLIER IN THIS SESSION FOR A CERTAIN BUDGET. SO WHEN I ASKED FOR THE RECEIPTS, I WAS SURPRISED TO SEE WHEN I SAW THE PREVIOUS HEARING COST THOUSANDS LESS THAN MY HEARING, AND THAT HEARING LASTED LONGER, AND THERE WAS A LOT MORE WITNESSES ON BOTH SIDES. AND SO WHY DID MINE COST MORE? I DIDN’T EVEN EVEN HAVE WITNESSES COME UP AND TESTIFY. WHY DID IT COST MORE? SO THEN I STARTED DIGGING A LITTLE BIT BECAUSE IN HOUSE RULE 45, IN SECTION 6, IT SAYS THE COMMITTEE MAY RETAIN SUCH COUNSEL AND MAY HIRE SUCH INVESTIGATORS AS IT DEEMS NECESSARY FOR THE PERFORMANCE OF ITS DUTIES UNDER THIS RULE. AND IT SAYS, ALL EXPENDITURES INCURRED PURSUANT TO THIS SUB-SECTION SHALL BE APPROVED BY THE CHAIRMAN, AND IT GOES ON TO EXPLAIN, RIGHT SO MUCH WE HAVE THE GOOD CHAIRMAN WHO WAS IN A TOWN HALL MEETING, AND HE TOLD THE PUBLIC THAT HE APPROVED THOSE EXPENDITURES BECAUSE THAT’S WHAT THE RULE SAYS. WHERE DO THOSE EXPENDITURES COME FROM? A QUICK LOOK ON TRANSPARENCY IDAHO, YOU SEE THAT THOSE EXPENDITURES CAME FROM THE LEGISLATIVE LEGAL DEFENSE FUND, SPECIFICALLY. ON THE RECEIPT, YOU SEE THAT IT WENT TO THE CHAIRMAN. SO, HE SAID IT. THE RULE AUTHORIZES IT. HE APPROVED THE EXPENSES OUT OF THAT. I WOULD NOW LIKE TO READ TO YOU, IDAHO CODE, SECTION 6745-451A. IT SAYS SPECIFICALLY REGARDING THE LEGISLATIVE LEGAL DEFENSE FUND CREATED, THE PRESIDENT PRO TEM OF THE SENATE AND THE SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES ARE HEREBY AUTHORIZED TO MAKE EXPENDITURES OUT OF THE FUND. THAT’S IT. IT DOESN’T SAY THE CHAIRMAN OF THE ETHICS COMMITTEE. SO WE HAVE A PROBLEM BECAUSE THE CODE SUPERSEDES OUR HOUSE RULES. AND THE CODE SAYS THE ONLY INDIVIDUAL THAT CAN APPROVE MONEY OUT OF THAT LEGISLATIVE LEGAL DEFENSE FUND IS THAT GENTLEMAN SITTING RIGHT THERE. BUT WE HAVE RECEIPTS SHOWING AND THE CHAIRMAN SAYING PUBLICLY THAT HE VIOLATED THE LAW. THAT’S A PROBLEM. SO THEN WE GET INTO OKAY, WHAT HAPPENED. AND I AM JUST GOING TO SPEAK TO YOU CANDIDLY. YOU CAN SEE I AM NOT READING THIS. I DON’T HAVE IT MEMORIZED. AND EVERY TIME THAT I REPEAT IT, IF ONE WORD CHANGES, YOU KNOW, LORD HELP ME THAT I AM HUMAN. BUT, IT WAS THE SAME FRIDAY MORNING WHEN I FOUNDED OUT THE SAME TIME THAT YOU DID, AND I SAW THE PRESS ARTICLE, THE MADAM THERE TAKING PICTURES. AND IT ONLY SHARED ONE SIDE OF THE STORY. SO LETS GO BACK TO DIETRICH BONHOFER, HE’S NOT THE GOD OF EMOTION, BUT HE’S THE GOD OF TRUTH, AND IN THOSE SACRED SCRIPTURES THAT WE CALL THE BIBLE, DUE PROCESS IS ONE OF THE FUNDAMENTAL FOUNDATIONS OF THE BIBLICAL TRUTH. IT’S ONE OF THE FUNDAMENTAL PRINCIPLES THAT OUR NATION IS FOUNDED ON IN OUR BILL OF RIGHTS. MULTIPLE PLACES THAT WE HAVE DUE PROCESS. SEVERAL PLACES IN THE BIBLE, AS WELL. THIS IS BIBLICAL. IT’S OUR FOUNDATION. SO, WHEN I SAW ONE SIDE OF THE STORY, BEING OUT THERE, I WANTED TO KNOW WHY. SO I DUG INTO RULE 45, WHERE IT SPECIFICALLY SAYS THAT AFTER THE COMMITTEE VOTES, AND IT SAYS THAT THE COMPLAINT IS NO LONGER CONFIDENTIAL. THAT MEANS THAT EVERYTHING THAT THEY ARE DEALING WITH NOW IS PUBLIC. IT CAN BE RELEASED TO THE PUBLIC. I DID, I ASKED THE A.G. HE AGREED. EVERYTHING THAT THEY ARE DOING NOW IS PUBLIC, AND THEY VOTED ON IT. SO, I CALLED LEGISLATIVE SERVICES. HE’S ALSO — WAS, I THINK, RETIRED, THANK YOU FOR YOUR SERVICE, BUT HE ALSO AGREED, IT’S PUBLIC. BUT HE DID NOT HAVE A COPY OF IT. CALLED THE CHAIRMAN, I DID, HE WAS NOT AROUND. SO, I CALLED A LAWYER. FORMER ATTORNEY GENERAL, FORMER LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR, WE HAD A COUPLE OF DISCUSSIONS, I HAVE THE PHONE RECORDS. I THINK IT WOULD HAVE BEEN GREAT IF THE COMMITTEE HAD SUBPOENAED THE ACTUAL PHONE DISCUSSIONS SO WE CAN SEE EXACTLY HOW THAT CONVERSATION WENT. AND THE NEXT TIME THAT I CALLED AT THAT MR. LEROY, HE SAID HE SENT IT TO THE PRESS, END OF STORY. THERE IS NO LAW THAT PROHIBITS HIM FROM DOING THAT. I RECEIVED THE NEWS ARTICLE LATER THAT NIGHT. COPIED THE HYPERLINK, FROM MY ANDROID PHONE, POSTED IT TO SOCIAL MEDIA. NEXT DAY, I PUT OUT MY WEEKLY NEWSLETTER, AND I HAD A LINK TO IT. THE REASON I LIKED THAT ARTICLE BECAUSE IT WAS THE ONLY ARTICLE IN THE PRESS THAT SHARED BOTH SIDES OF THE STORY. WHICH IS WHAT SHARED AND, I THINK, THE ULTIMATE ISSUE HERE IS DUE PROCESS. WHEN YOU ARE GOING TO ASSASSINATE SOMEONE’S CHARACTER, IT IS THE FOUNDATION OF OUR COUNTRY THAT SAYS, THERE’S GOT TO BE BOTH SIDES. BECAUSE IF YOU DON’T, YOU HAVE COMMUNIST CHINA WHERE YOU DON’T GET TO SPEAK UP. IF YOU DON’T, YOU HAVE THE KING AND QUEEN, WHO TELL YOU WHAT HAPPENS TO YOU, THEY ARE CALLED POLITICAL PRISONERS, AND WE ARE SEEING IT ACROSS THIS COUNTRY, AND NOW WELL, IN THIS WORLD, AND NOW IN THIS COUNTRY, I NEVER WOULD HAVE IMAGINED THAT WE WOULD BE SEEING POLITICAL PRISONERS IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. THAT MAKES MY HEART CRY. AND SO IF THERE IS AN OPPORTUNITY TO STAND UP FOR DUE PROCESS, I WILL BE THE FIRST TO DO IT. AND SO, IT BECOMES FROM THERE. I REALLY DIDN’T GET ANY INFORMATION — IT WAS SEVERAL DAYS LATER WHEN ANYBODY EVEN MENTIONED IT, AND MOST OF YOU GO MINUS LETTER. NOBODY MENTIONED IT. SO, I CAN PROBABLY EXPLAIN MORE ON THE TIME LINE AND ALL THE OTHER LAYERS TO THE ONION, BUT, HOPEFULLY, THE GOOD GENTLEMAN FROM 31, THAT HELPS YOU UNDERSTAND MY INTENT. YOU HAVE THE EMAIL FROM MR. LEROY STATING THAT HE DID, ACTUALLY, SEND IT OUT TO THE PUBLIC. YOU HAVE THAT. MY NEXT CONCERN WHEN YOU LOOK AT THE FIRST PAGE OF THE LETTER, IT SAYS THEY RECOMMEND THAT SHE BE REMOVED FROM HER SEAT ON THE HOUSE COMMERCE AND HUMAN RESOURCES COMMITTEE. I, TOO, WANT TO KNOW WHY THAT COMMITTEE — THERE IS CERTAIN LEGISLATION I’VE BEEN WORKING ON THAT COMMITTEE. IS THAT WHY? I HOPE NOT. I HOPE YOU SAW IT AS ONE OF THE LEAST INFLUENTIAL COMMITTEES AND THE SMALLEST PUNISHMENT, I HOPE — I THINK THAT’S WHAT YOU WERE THINKING, GOOD GENTLEMAN FROM 13. BUT, THEN I COME BACK TO THIS, REMOVING ME FROM A COMMITTEE, IT DOESN’T HURT ME. IT HURTS THE 45,000 PEOPLE IN MY DISTRICT THAT I WILL, YOU KNOW, NOT REPRESENT AGAIN IN THIS CAPACITY. THIS DOESN’T HURT ME. THIS ACTUALLY FREEZE UP MY SCHEDULE, AND I HAVE GOT A LOT GOING ON. AND SO THEN THE NEXT THING THAT I THINK OF IS, WHY IS IT IN THE LETTER, THE CLOSEOUT REPORT FROM THE COMMITTEE, YOU, ACTUALLY, ADDED A PREPOSITIONAL PHRASE. WE HAVE CONFLICTING REPORTS NOW. THE PREPOSITIONAL PHRASE YOU ADDED WAS, FOR THE REMAINDER OF THE 66 LEGISLATURE BECAUSE WE ALL KNOW THAT WE ARE ABOUT TO SINE DIE. AND THEN WE GO INTO THE SECOND REGULAR SESSION. IN THE PREVIOUS ETHICS HEARING, NOW WE HAVE PRECEDENT, THEY PUT THE DURATION ON THE PUNISHMENT. SO, THE MOTION IN COMMITTEE DID NOT HAVE A DURATION. IS THERE FOR ONE DAY? IS THIS UNTIL WE SINE DIE? IS THIS UNTIL NEXT YEAR? AND SO IT’S INTERESTING THAT THE COMMITTEE THEN SUBMITTED A CLOSEOUT REPORT THAT ADDED THAT ON. IT WAS ALMOST LIKE A, OOPS, WE FORGOT TO MENTION THAT. AND WE HAD DONE IT BEFORE, SO THAT WAS THE PRECEDENT, AND NOW WE FORGOT. THIS REPORT TOOK IT OFF AGAIN. SO, IT’S A MILLION DOLLAR QUESTION, YOU VOTE FOR THIS, KIND OF LOOKS LIKE I COULD STILL SHOW UP TO COMMITTEE. AND THE NEXT AND THE SECOND REGULAR SESSION BECAUSE WHEN YOU GO TO THE RULES, IT TALKS ABOUT HOW THINGS CLOSE AFTER YOU SINE DIE. THAT’S AN INTERESTING QUANDARY. IT’S BEEN TWO HOURS TO VOTE TO HAVE ME REMOVED FOR A WEEK ON A COMMITTEE. THAT MAY OR MAY NOT BE MEETING. THAT LOOKS INTERESTING. I THANK YOU FOR YOUR TIME. IT’S AN HONOR TO SERVE. I WILL CONTINUE TO STAND UP FOR DUE PROCESS. I WILL FIGHT FOR ANYONE AND EVERYONE WHEN IT COMES TO DUE PROCESS. I WILL CONTINUE TO FIGHT FOR FREEDOM IN A NATION THAT IS SLOWLY LOSING IT. I WOULD NOT HAVE DONE ANYTHING DIFFERENTLY. I THINK THAT MY INTENT WAS PURE. BUT, I ALSO KNOW THAT THIS IS SO MUCH BIGGER THAN ME. I KNOW THAT NOTHING THAT I SAID HERE TODAY OR ANYTHING THAT I HAVE SAID IN THE PAST IS GOING TO CHANGE YOUR MIND. SO VOTE YOUR CONSCIENCE. AND WE WILL MOVE FORWARD, AND I WILL CONTINUE TO FIGHT FOR FREEDOM. GOD BLESS YOU ALL.

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