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Idaho Republican Punished After Saying Legislators ‘Should Not Have to Spread Their Legs to Advance’

Rep. Heather Scott listens to the governor's State of the State address on Jan. 11, 2016, in Boise, Idaho. (AP Photo/Otto Kitsinger)

Even though she was stripped of all of her legislative committee assignments the day before, Idaho Rep. Heather Scott refused to back down during a Jan. 13 radio interview from what she admitted telling another lawmaker in private: “Legislators should not have to sleep around or spread their legs to advance.”

The Republican told KBOI radio show host Nate Shelman that she did make the comment “in a private conversation with Rep. Judy Boyle, in a lounge” Dec 1, and somehow the media got a hold of it.

Scott said she was referring to a scandal that broke over the summer over an affair between two other Republicans, Reps. Jim Guthrie and Christy Perry.

After Guthrie and Perry had confessed to the affair, Perry was promoted to a leadership position in the Legislature. She was named chairman of the House Local Government Committee, even though, Scott claimed, she had broken Idaho’s adultery law.

That’s what upset Scott.

She understands that what she said might have rubbed some the wrong way.

“It is kind of harsh language,” Scott said of her comment, “(but) that is the appearance from the outside. Someone gets caught doing this, and someone gets promoted? Something is wrong here.”

While Scott said she could understand people criticizing her for that private comment, she also said there should be an examination of “what’s going on here, what’s going on behind the scenes and why are they doing what they are doing.”

Scott is new to politics.

She is at the beginning of her second term in Boise. Before this, Scott was a biologist for the past 20 years until “I just started to see some changes in government I didn’t like. I decided it was time to stand up and serve.”

Scott said she believes the system is broken and promised constituents she would “expose crony capitalism, corruption and shenanigans.”

Well, the woman about whom Scott was dishing the dirt — Perry — thinks something is wrong with Heather Scott.

Perry sent a letter to House Speaker Scott Bedke (R) in which she accused Scott of “aggressive and anti-social behavior by sneering and glaring at members during meetings and in passing in the halls.”

Speaking of anti-social behavior, Perry accused Scott of breaking a fire sensor in the House caucus room because she thought it was a listening device. Perry also wrote that Scott’s behavior was so bad that female members of the GOP caucus “do not feel safe working in her presence.”

Of course, Perry was also unhappy with Scott “accusing female members of the caucus of sleeping with members of leadership in order to secure chairman and vice chairman positions.”

Bedke responded by stripping Scott of all three of her committee assignments. But the Associated Press reported that not everyone in Boise felt as Perry.

Five of his fellow Republican lawmakers asked Bedke to remove them from their committees until Scott was restored to her former committee assignments. Bedke didn’t respond directly to their requests, which were made one-by-one from the floor of the House. But he did tell AP that he’d work it out with the disgruntled Republicans during a closed-door caucus meeting.

Her punishment didn’t quiet Scott.

She posted a statement on her Facebook page accusing the Idaho legislative leadership of trying to “pit conservatives against conservatives.”

“Too much has been hidden from the citizens and they deserve to know what is going on in their government,” Scott said in the statement. “There are some within the Idaho legislature who believe the only way to make a problem go away is to either hide it and pretend it never happened or to stir up a distraction by finding a scapegoat.”

What do the Democrats in Idaho think of this?

A statement from the Idaho Democratic Party referred to Scott’s implication that women in the Legislature only advanced if they “spread their legs” as a “wild allegation.”

“Now the Majority wants to punish her but doesn’t feel the need to investigate the claims she’s made,” the statement continued.

“This is just another reason why an Independent Ethics Commission is necessary to restore trust in public servants. Idaho is one of the only states without a broad set of ethics laws and the GOP politicians in charge like to keep it that way,” the Democrats’ statement concluded. “And we can see why.”

As for Scott, she doesn’t give any indication that she is going to back down even though her punishment, while not unprecedented, was highly unusual.

“I call it like I see it,” she told Nate Shelman on KBOI. “I am just who I am.”