Years ago, I worked with a member of Congress who had this basic rule: Never repeat details of a conversation with the President of the United States. He would say in general terms what he and the President talked about, but he not say exactly what the President told him.
The rule served my boss well. It’s too bad Rep. Eric Anderson of Priest Lake didn’t use similar sensible judgment before shooting his mouth off about his unfair treatment during the Idaho Legislature’s reorganization for this session. Anderson’s actions only validated leadership’s decision not to give him a committee chairmanship or vice chairmanship.
As Anderson told it, he was warned that there could be a political price to pay if he were to file another ethics complaint against Rep. Phil Hart, who is on the hot seat for non-payment of taxes. Anderson didn’t listen. He filed a complaint and now he’s crying to the media about leadership retaliation.
I can’t fault the Speaker on this one. Granted, the Speaker of the House is a far cry from President of the United States. But as a House member, you don’t go around dissing the Speaker of the House – especially if you have thoughts about gaining a position of power.
On the ethics issue, which is being handled by a House committee, Anderson has turned the process into a political circus. A friend of Hart’s filed an ethics complaint against Anderson, which could lead to who knows how many ethics complaints down the line. That’s the last thing Lawerence Denney wants to see during this session. The issues facing the Legislature are daunting enough without having this kind of sideshow.
So let’s not cry for Eric Anderson. He was not marginalized by the Speaker; he was marginalized by himself.