GOP sets meeting to push Idaho Rep. Patterson to resign

Republicans say they’ll have security there; a senator says some committee members are frightened of the lawmaker.

dpopkey@idahostatesman.comDecember 12, 2013 

With the clock running out on possibly replacing Rep. Mark Patterson before the 2014 Legislature, the GOP’s District 15 committee will meet Tuesday to consider a resolution urging him to resign or face a lonely session as an outcast.

District Sen. Fred Martin, R-Boise, said Wednesday that Patterson will be offered time to address the 15-member committee, but that an executive session will not include Patterson or the public.

Martin said some women on the committee are frightened of Patterson, who had his concealed weapons license revoked in October by Ada County Sheriff Gary Raney for failing to disclose his 1974 guilty plea to assault with intent to commit rape. Patterson, however, is able to continue carrying a concealed weapon because Idaho law exempts elected officials from licensing.

“I’ve witnessed him being condescending to women, foul-mouthed, arrogant and very threatening,” Martin said. “I don’t think Mark Patterson should be in public office.”

Martin declined to name the women, but said he had also talked to several female lobbyists who reported discomfort with the first-term lawmaker.

“I think he’s a misogynist,” Martin said. “And that’s not coming from me. That’s coming from women who have had encounters with him.”

Patterson and his attorney, Wade Woodard, did not reply to a request for comment Wednesday, as has been their practice since the Statesman reported Patterson’s criminal background Nov. 10. Patterson also was charged with rape in Ohio in 1976 and was acquitted by a judge. Patterson, 61, told the Statesman in October that “the cops lied,” that he was innocent and that he pleaded guilty in the 1974 case on the advice of his attorney.

STRIPPING COMMITTEE ASSIGNMENTS

On Tuesday, Martin told the Associated Press he hoped Patterson would resign. With the Legislature convening Jan. 6, Martin said Wednesday he’s pressing for action so a replacement may be named in time to attend Gov. Butch Otter’s State of the State Address. Should Patterson quit, the same committee that will meet Tuesday would have 15 days to nominate three candidates to Otter, who would have 10 days to fill a vacancy.

A draft resolution prepared for the committee says Patterson’s failure to disclose his rape arrests accounted for “unwitting support” of the Republican Party in his 2012 election over Democrat Steve Berch.

Disclosure of Patterson’s background has permanently damaged Patterson’s “integrity, credibility and reputation” and “brought himself and the party into disrepute ... and made his re-election unlikely and the election of a Democrat opponent more likely,” says the resolution.

The resolution calls on Patterson to resign immediately. Should he decline, the resolution urges House leadership to strip him of “all committee assignments and any other assignments, duties and responsibilities of office.” It also calls on Martin and the other District 15 lawmaker, Rep. Lynn Luker, R-Boise, to withhold any “support or assistance in his duties of office.”

Patterson is a member of the Judiciary, Revenue & Taxation and Transportation committees.

Said Martin: “I just hope he does the right thing, but I have no confidence whatsoever that he will.”

UP TO DISTRICT 15?

House Speaker Scott Bedke and Majority Leader Mike Moyle declined comment on the efforts to force Patterson from office by District 15 officials.

“That’s something that they need to address,” Bedke told the Statesman.

The meeting was called by District 15 Chairwoman Sara Jane McDonald, who also serves as Senate sergeant at arms and whose husband, former U.S. Marshal Patrick McDonald, is campaigning for Patterson’s seat in the May 20 primary election.

Committee members received an email late Tuesday from Daniel Luker, the District 15 secretary, setting the meeting. Daniel Luker is the son of Rep. Luker, who chairs the House Ethics Committee. Legislative leaders have declined any comment on any action against Patterson.

“As some committeemen had expressed security concerns, security has been arranged,” Daniel Luker wrote about the opening session, which includes remarks by Patterson on the agenda.

“After a recess,” Luker continued, “the committee will enter executive session for the purpose of discussing any resolutions or other actions which may be offered for the committee’s consideration.”

Only members of the House may lodge an ethics complaint against a representative, which remain secret until the committee finds probable cause of a violation. As a member of the Senate, Martin has no standing to make a complaint. If one of Patterson’s House 69 colleagues has filed a complaint, disclosing that before a finding of probable cause would be grounds for an ethics action against that lawmaker.

Dan Popkey: 377-6438, Twitter: @IDS_politics

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