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Please begin with an informative title:

The Republicans and the Main Stream Media may be focusing on New York Representative Charles Rangel and financial irregularities, but out here in the home of Sarah Palin, her state of birth and where she graduated from the University of Idaho, we have the fine Republican example of the ethics of the Republican party in the activities of the Representative from Athol, Idaho, (no typo).  And Representative Hart, from Athol, sits on the House Revenue and Taxation Committee and stopped paying his own taxes in 1966.  The Idaho Legislature, dominated by Republicans today voted that he has no ethics violation.

Intro

You must enter an Intro for your Diary Entry between 300 and 1150 characters long (that's approximately 50-175 words without any html or formatting markup).

Here is the story and the background.  The Democrats insisted on an investigation and the Republicans who have a huge majority in the legislature voted not to take action against Rep. Hart.

From Boise and the Idaho Statesman is the latest action by the Republicans favoring the Representative from Athol:

BOISE, Idaho — A legislative ethics panel dismissed part of a complaint against a state lawmaker embroiled in legal fights over unpaid income taxes during a hearing Thursday that turned into a tea party hurrah.

The panel voted 4-3 to dismiss the portion of the ethics complaint brought against state Rep. Phil Hart, prompting loud cheering and applause from supporters who wore pink paper hearts that read: "Protect Idaho's Hart."

The ethics committee included four Republicans and three Democrats who voted along party lines during the three-hour hearing that one activist in a Ron Paul T-shirt called a "witch hunt."

Hart has long argued that income taxes are unconstitutional, waging legal fights with the state and federal government. More than one activist referenced Hart's book about his belief that the income tax is illegal.

Hart is "a round peg in a round hole" when it comes to tea party-driven tax revolt sentiments, said Lucas Baumbach, a 31-year-old Tea Party Boise member who attended the hearing.

. . . .

In the last year, the Internal Revenue Service has filed nearly $300,000 in tax liens against Hart. The state tax commission says he owes another $53,000 in Idaho income taxes, interest and penalties.

The House Ethics Committee launched an investigation this month to determine whether Hart had conflicts of interest in the Idaho Legislature due to his tax problems. The panel was also supposed to consider whether Hart abused the legislative privilege from arrest or civil process by invoking it repeatedly to win delays in his state and federal tax cases.

http://www.idahostatesman.com/...

for more background go to the Statesman web page,
Read more: http://www.idahostatesman.com/...

 The Spokesman Review and its political reporter Betsy Russell launched the story---here is part of her work:

BOISE - A special House Ethics Committee has voted 4-3 along party lines to clear Rep. Phil Hart, R-Athol, of conflict of interest charges related to his ongoing fights over his federal and state income taxes.

. . . .

The three minority Democrats on the committee said Hart’s actions showed a pattern of ignoring the House rule that requires conflicts of interest be disclosed before votes. They favored a motion to reprimand Hart and recommend his removal from the House Revenue and Taxation Committee, but it failed on a party-line vote.

“I think that the behavior does reflect badly on all of us,” said Rep. Wendy Jaquet, D-Ketchum. “It reflects badly on the credibility of the body. So I can’t vote to dismiss here.”

. .. . .

Jaquet said it would have been easy for Hart to disclose that he was in litigation with the Tax Commission before voting on tax legislation, and to decline to serve on a subcommittee reviewing all new state tax rules.

She and other Democrats on the committee said they were concerned about how voters will view the Legislature if it condones Hart’s actions. “We have a representative who basically is not paying his taxes, and my constituents are paying their taxes,” she said. “I feel that he should not be on the Revenue and Taxation Committee because of the appearance of conflict.”

http://www.spokesman.com/...

Here is more of the background from the AP on his total tax bill of about $700,000

Idaho lawmaker's tax woes are apparently even worse
 Phil Hart
State Rep. Phil Hart reportedly owes about $700,000
Associated Press
Saturday, July 17, 2010

BOISE - A northern Idaho lawmaker engaged in a tax battle with state and federal officials owes far more in unpaid taxes than previously revealed, according to a newspaper report.
The Spokesman-Review reported in a story published Friday that Republican Rep. Phil Hart of Athol owes nearly $700,000.
Federal tax liens against Hart's businesses and IRS liens against Hart concerning his back income taxes add up to about $644,000, and a state income tax judgment pushes the total to almost $700,000, the newspaper reported.
Hart said he doesn't owe that much money.
"I don't even know if I've made that much in that period of time, so the tax rate must be 100 percent or something," he said.
Hart stopped paying income taxes in 1996 when he filed a lawsuit against the IRS contending the tax is unconstitutional. A federal tax judge in Spokane ruled against him in 2000, and Hart conceded in 2003 when the U.S. Supreme Court refused to take up the case.
The Athol Representative didn't pay local taxes either, according to the reporting of Betsy Russell:

June 25, 2010 in Idaho
Hart has property tax troubles, too
Records show Athol lawmaker consistently late on payments
Betsy Z. Russell The Spokesman-Review  

 

BOISE – Idaho state Rep. Phil Hart, who’s currently facing a House ethics review over his ongoing fight over unpaid federal and state income taxes, has paid property taxes late on his Kootenai County home every year since 2002.

Tax records kept by the Kootenai County treasurer’s office show that Hart currently owes $1,011.23 for the 2009 taxes on the home, plus $55.04 in interest and $18.74 in penalties. Over the past eight years, he’s been as much as 16 months late on the property taxes on the home, and has paid $1,527.05 in interest and $325.64 in penalties ...

http://www.spokesman.com/...

Of course, Idaho is the home of such famous Republican "Conservatives" as Sarah Palin, born in Idaho and a graduate of University of Idaho, former Senator Larry Craig, late Representative Helen Chenoweth, Senators James Risch and Mike Crapo and Congressman Mike Simpson, all of whom pander to the anti tax crowd and have flogged the people of Idaho with the anti tax theme for decades.  It is hard to pass any local bond or school levy due to the decades of anti tax rhetoric, so it is understandable when one of their own, the Republican Representative from Athol, does not pay taxes and sits on the House Revenue and Tax Committee, the Republicans decline to take any action in an ethics investigation.

So when you see the Republicans, especially from Idaho, doing press releases trashing Rep. Charles Rangel, remember the Athol, Idaho Republican.

Extended (Optional)

Originally posted to theworksanddays on Thu Jul 29, 2010 at 08:38 PM PDT.

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