State Politics

Blogger broke story on affair between Idaho lawmakers

Lance Earl
Lance Earl

The 59-year-old Eastern Idaho blogger who first published allegations this week that state Rep. Christy Perry and Sen. Jim Guthrie engaged in an extramarital affair said both Republican lawmakers should resign.

Lance Earl lives in Rockland, 16 miles south of American Falls. He said Friday that he believes the pair violated a section of the Idaho Constitution that says the Legislature should promote “temperance and morality.”

“They have violated their oath of office. They have shown that their judgment is flawed,” Earl said. “Perry, by her own words, has stated that in the event of a crisis, she will do stupid and irresponsible things. They simply need to step away.”

Earl ran for a House seat in Guthrie’s district in 2014, losing to incumbent Rep. Kelley Packer in the Republican primary. He said he has also clashed with Guthrie over constitutional viewpoints and has written about those at times in a weekly column for the Idaho State Journal in Pocatello.

Earl has focused much of his recent attention on the alleged sexual assault of a 5-year-old girl in Twin Falls in June. Three boys, ages 7, 10 and 14, were detained. The youngest boy is from Iraq, while the older two, brothers, are from Eritrea, an African nation, which has brought anti-immigrant sentiment.

Earl has argued the federal government has no constitutional authority to settle immigrants in Idaho. He has criticized Twin Falls Prosecutor Grant Loebs, Police Chief Craig Kingsbury and other officers for their handling of the case.

On Aug. 8, Earl received a call from a relative of Guthrie’s ex-wife, saying Barbara Guthrie wanted to speak with him about some inappropriate actions by the senator.

The couple’s divorce had been finalized three weeks earlier. Earl met with Barbara Guthrie the next day.

Earl wrote on his blog that Barbara Guthrie became suspicious of her husband while doing his laundry after he returned home from a trip to Washington, D.C., in June 2014. Earl said she began monitoring his phone bills and learned that he made and received large numbers of calls from a phone number that she told Earl belonged to Perry.

Earl said he did not know what kind of reaction he would get from his blog post. He said he is pleased that it has appeared on television and in every major paper in the state.

“I didn’t know how this would be received, and I am actually very, very glad that it’s out,” he said. “I think this is a story that needs to be told.”

A Nampa resident, Perry said in a statement Thursday that she experienced a “profound crisis” in her life, turned to a friend in the Legislature and “ultimately made a terrible mistake ... which I am truly sorry for.”

Perry criticized Earl for using the affair to “launch a disgustingly brutal attack.” She said “overall” the information provided by Earl was “not accurate.”

Earl said he stands by his post. He said he called Perry to discuss the allegations before he published them, and she would not return his calls.

“If I’m inaccurate, she should do as I have requested twice on her voicemail and that is, call me and talk with me about it,” he said. “If I have missed something, I will be the first to print a retraction.”

John Sowell: 208-377-6423, @IDS_Sowell

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