by Andrew Crisp
The Senate Democrats have filed an official request for an ethics investigation into the actions of New Plymouth Republican Sen. Monty Pearce. They call for his resignation as chairman of the Senate Resources and Environment Committee for failing to disclose oil and gas leases on his property during hearings on a package of bills that would remove local control over oil and natural gas drilling.
As chairman of that committee, which voted in favor of the set of House bills regarding oil and gas, Pearce presided over and cast a vote in those meetings, as well as on the Senate floor, without disclosing his oil and gas connection.
He revealed his conflict of interest pursuant to Senate Rule 39H only on the final day of hearings on the bills, March 14. Senators are allowed to vote after disclosing a potential conflict.
The request, filed with Rexburg Republican Sen. Brent Hill, president pro tempore and member of Senate Republican leadership, details more than a dozen hearings during which Sen. Pearce failed to disclose his conflict of interest.
In this week's Boise Weekly, we chronicle Pearce's support of all oil and gas legislation to date.