Idahoans value honesty and respect for all people. It is high time Representative Lawerence Denney showed some of either.
Last week Representative Holli Woodings published a critique of Rep. Denney’s decision, (along with his co-chair of the Federal Lands Interim Committee, Senator Chuck Winder) to hire a private attorney after Attorney General Wasden “determined the legal prospects of the case against the federal government on this didn’t have much merit.” Rep. Denney’s response, issued yesterday, calls for honesty and transparency, but is notably thin on either one. It is also devoid of basic respect, refusing to address Rep. Woodings by her name throughout the entire statement. It would be hard for him to come off as more disrespectful and misogynistic, short of referring to Rep. Woodings simply as “that woman”. But then, he did not earn the nickname “Boss” Denney for being evenhanded and fair.
“Transparency is not in Boss Denney’s vocabulary.” – Marty Trillhasse, Lewiston Tribune
The heart of Rep. Woodings critique is that Rep. Denney and Sen. Winder hired a private attorney at taxpayer expense to try to do something that the state’s highest attorney already told them had no basis in law, and that they did so without consulting the other nine members of the committee. Rep. Denney calls the assertion that he bypassed the other committee members a “false claim” on the grounds that he got approval from the Speaker of the House and the Pro Tem of the Senate, as he was required to do by the rules.
While it is good that he did not blatantly violate the minimum requirements of the rules, the Speaker and the Pro Tem are not members of the committee. Clearing it with them does not change the problem. He did not consult with the legislators on the committee, or even show them the basic respect and professional courtesy of notifying them, before disregarding the Attorney General and putting the taxpayers on the hook for attorney’s fees in a case that is almost sure to fail. It is safe to presume that if there was any evidence that he and Sen. Winder had, in fact, conferred with other members of the committee he would have mentioned it.
Sen. Winder said the reason they chose to hire a private attorney was that the Attorney General “didn’t give us a whole lot of imagination or creativity on what the political solutions might be.” “Imagination” and “creativity” are what you look for when your case doesn’t have legal or factual merit.
There is an old saying in the legal profession, “When the facts are on your side, pound the facts. When the law is on your side, pound the law. When neither is on you side, pound the table.” Rep. Denney’s overblown and bullying response to Rep. Wooding’s critique is really just the sound of his fist pounding the table.