TO: Ethics Committee Members
RE: Phil Hart
FROM: Lucas Baumbach
I am writing this letter in support of Phil Hart. After reviewing the facts, I am concerned that the ethics hearing is a partisan attack that was precipitated after a primary election. There is no reason for this issue to come up during a general election, except that Democrats want to paint Republicans in general as bad legislators. Phil Hart is one of the most productive and hard-working legislators. I once met him at a pro-life event, and around 10PM Representative Hart said he was returning to the capitol to work on legislation. I was impressed by his dedication to research and writing good legislation himself. The charges of carelessness and impropriety couldn’t be leveled at a more conscientious man.
It is clear that a fair hearing will find Hart innocent of any misuse of legislative privilege. It is pointless to have legislative privilege to avoid the distraction of polemical civil filings, if the legislature is going to convene an ethics hearing each time the privilege is invoked. To punish Representative Hart would be to open the entire legislature up to frivolous lawsuits. This ethics charge alone will have a chilling effect on the legislative process itself. Setting this precedent would ensure that no conscientious citizen will want to serve in the state legislature. A citizen legislature can not continue to impose such draconian measures on the integrity of the legislative process. To act in contradiction of this reality would be to deny that good legislators are needed.
It has come to my attention that the committee has chosen to take legislative counsel from the same office that is actively opposing Phil Hart in appellate court. The current attorney should immediately recuse himself from advising the ethics committee. This is also a question of separation of powers; as the attorney is a part of the executive branch. The State Bar should be apprised of this conflict of interest.
I would expect the committee of Phil’s peers to consider the accusations as peers and not transform the ethic hearing process into a staged, quasi-prosecutorial, trans-governmental charade. The charges originally leveled have expanded into a whole host of unfocused questions that were not the original intent of the ethics panel. This attempt to expand the inquiry to include questioning Hart’s voting record is part of the political theatre. In a sense no good legislator can entirely avoid personal gain, as all laws should effect all citizens (even legislators) positively. It is the legislator’s job to benefit everyone, himself and the entire public by virtue of limited government and taxation.
But, even accusing Phil Hart of self-serving is a red herring. No law can be enacted ex post facto. Even if a legislator voted on a bill to cut taxes, that vote could not effect past tax debts. Only an amnesty bill would clear past tax debts. And, there have been no amnesty bills before the legislature. Any legislator, even a Democrat, should know this. I suspect either a fundamental lack of legal knowledge by Democrat accusers or a deliberate Democrat attempt to despoil the Republican majority by virtue of innuendo, media propaganda and hyperbole.
This ethics panel request was made as an act of desperation by a political party bent on fundamentally changing the character of our State and Country. They will say anything to further their socialist cause. They will seek to destroy men, like Hart, who oppose big-government panacea at every turn. If you think that Democrats in Idaho’s legislature are unlike those in DC, just look at the votes in the last legislative session. The local Democrats are more partisan than ever. What’s worse: our society has been on a downward trajectory for so long that we think it’s right. It’s not only wrong; it’s evil. In the tradition of Ronald Reagan, we must call evil by its name. That’s the true question of ethics.
Tonight, February 10th, Democrat legislators will meet at South Junior High in Boise to talk about a bad jobs bill, called iJobs. I knew that the Democrats, notorious posers, would put forth a fake jobs bill, so I found a Republican bill that would actually create jobs. It’s too bad that Republicans are so inept at self-promotion. But, Republican jobs bills are written for the people not fame and glory. I found a proposal and did an interview with the writer, Representative Phil Hart.
A summary of my findings follows:
Representative Hart has a plan that will create one to two thousand jobs in Idaho, according to the Commerce Department. His plan centers around expanding an existing refinery in Salmon to handle production from a silver mine in Bunker Hill. All silver mined in Idaho must currently be sent overseas for processing, because Idaho has maxed out the production capacity of current facilities.
His plan also includes remediation of a state-owned smelter pond, which contains $100 million dollars of Indium, a key element in the production of solar panels. The EPA built the pond 18 years ago with a 20-year liner.
Under this jobs bill, $40 million in taxes from the Indium cleanup would go directly to connecting the Bunker Hill mine to rail lines, saving wear and tear on local roads. This is a big advantage of the plan. Northern Idaho roads can’t stand over use, especially when all the stimulus money and ITD funds go to southwest Idaho.
The bill sends the signal that Idaho is mining friendly and serious about saving the environment from government. Finally we have a legislator with concrete plans to breathe life into the languishing Idaho economy.