The Idaho Democratic Party is calling for Sen. Monty Pearce to step down as Senate Resources and Environment Committee chairman, saying Pearce failed to disclose his oil and gas leases on his land.
Pearce, R-New Plymouth, has been a key player in the oil and gas regulation bill, now headed to Gov. Butch Otter's desk. The bill passed through Pearce's committee.
"Senator Pearce needs to be taken to task for his actions," state Democratic Party Chairman Larry Grant said today. "He has known all along about his conflict of interest and deliberately did not reveal it until the last minute."
More on this issue, including Pearce comment, from Rocky Barker's blog. And here is the Democrats' news release:
State Sen. Monty Pearce, (R-New Plymouth), should immediately resign as Senate Resources and Environment Committee Chairman for his repeated failure to disclose his conflict of interest on oil and gas legislation. After leading committee hearings and voting on oil and gas legislation all session, Pearce revealed yesterday that he has had gas leases on his land for decades.
Pearce’s disclosure means that he failed to reveal his conflict of interest numerous times throughout the session during contentious oil and gas committee hearings and floor debate on the issue of state control of oil and gas development and, particularly, on fracking. Not only did he fail to let his colleagues and the public know he could benefit from the legislation, but he voted against sending the bill to the amending order, on what was a tie vote broken only by the lieutenant governor. He went one step further by forcing a motion to have the bill taken out of the amending order before amendments could be made.
Larry Grant, chairman of the Idaho Democratic Party, said, “Senator Pearce needs to be taken to task for his actions. He has known all along about his conflict of interest and deliberately did not reveal it until the last minute. Democratic legislators have been raising the need for meaningful ethics reform all session so it is pretty amazing that Senator Pearce would have the arrogance to keep his conflict a secret. How much more proof does Majority leadership need to see an independent ethics commission is absolutely necessary. It seems the longer we wait, the worse it gets.“