Idaho legislator resigns before House can expel him. ‘I maintain my innocence.’

Idaho legislator submits resignation letter maintaining his innocence in ethics case

By: - April 29, 2021 4:04 pm
Former Rep. Aaron von Ehlinger

In this file photo, Rep. Aaron von Ehlinger, R-Lewiston, attends the legislative session at the Idaho Capitol on April 6, 2021. (Otto Kitsinger for Idaho Capital Sun)

Just hours after the Ethics and House Policy Committee in the Idaho House of Representatives voted for his censure and suspension for conduct unbecoming of a legislator, Rep. Aaron von Ehlinger, R-Lewiston, resigned his seat.

The resignation follows two days of proceedings in the ethics committee and the decision Thursday morning by members of the committee to recommend von Ehlinger’s censure. The committee also said it would support his expulsion from the House. The committee had expressed intent to move forward with punishing von Ehlinger for contempt, for invoking his Fifth Amendment rights and declining to answer questions about the night he is accused of raping a 19-year-old legislative intern. 

House Chief Clerk Carrie Maulin read the representative’s resignation letter on the House floor during proceedings on Thursday afternoon. 

“Mr. Speaker, after careful deliberation and prayer I have determined that I will not be able to continue to effectively represent my constituents in the Idaho House of Representatives and have decided to resign my seat effective immediately,” von Ehlinger wrote in the letter. “It is my hope that this action spares my good colleagues any more difficulty in this area. … The House Ethics Committee has decided to recommend an expulsion in all but name under the guise of ‘censure.’ I maintain my innocence of any wrongdoing of which I have been accused in this matter, let alone any violation of any law, rule or policy of the state of Idaho or of this body. I wish my constituents, colleagues and the body all the best. It has been an honor to serve.”

The Idaho House Republican Caucus issued a statement shortly after von Ehlinger’s resignation with comments from Speaker of the House Scott Bedke, R-Oakley. 

“First, let me thank Jane Doe for her incredible courage and determination in testifying in front of the Ethics and House Policy Committee yesterday,” Bedke said in the press release. “Every member of the House of Representatives is not only expected, but required to perform their duties with the highest levels of integrity and dignity. Former Rep. Aaron von Ehlinger was found by the Ethics Committee to fall far short of that requirement. After a transparent and fair hearing, the Committee accurately determined that von Ehlinger engaged in conduct unbecoming a member of this House. His behavior is something we will not tolerate and casts a shadow over the good work done in the Idaho Statehouse.”

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Kelcie Moseley-Morris
Kelcie Moseley-Morris

Kelcie Moseley-Morris is an award-winning journalist who has covered many topics across Idaho since 2011. She has a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Idaho and a master’s degree in public administration from Boise State University. Moseley-Morris started her journalism career at the Moscow-Pullman Daily News, followed by the Lewiston Tribune and the Idaho Press.