Update: Ethics Panel To Investigate State Senator Monty Pearce

BOISE, ID – Senate President Pro Tem Brent Hill agreed with Idaho Democrats to convene an ethics panel on Republican Senator Monty Pearce.  The panel will likely convene Friday.  The lawmaker from New Plymouth disclosed his oil and gas interests Wednesday despite nearly two dozen prior votes on such issues.

Here’s how this all started:

Sen. Monty Pearce:  "Prior to debate, I’d like to simply state that I could have a possible conflict of interest. I’ve had oil and gas leases on my lands since the early ‘80s."

That’s Republican Senator Monty Pearce Wednesday during debate of an oil and gas bill on the Senate floor.  This was the first time he disclosed this interest despite several votes on oil and gas issues during the session.  Pearce also chairs the Senate Resources and Environment panel which oversees oil and gas. All this didn’t sit right with Democratic leaders, including Senator Michelle Stennett.

Senator Michelle Stennett: " This again was another transgression and we just felt that we couldn’t not complain about it."

Idaho Democrats have tried this session to create an independent ethics commission to deal with cases just like this one.  That idea didn’t go anywhere so they called on Senate President Pro Tem Brent Hill Thursday to investigate Pearce.  They also want Pearce removed as chair of the resources and environment committee, and recused from voting on oil and gas bills for the rest of the session.

Copyright 2012 Boise State Public Radio