Disgraced Ex-Idaho State Sen. John McGee Making Headlines With Return to Public Eye


The news cycle works in mysterious ways. 

Almost a month ago, the Idaho Press-Tribune reported on the demolition of the King's building in Caldwell, to make way for construction of a civic plaza that city leaders hope will spur downtown revitalization. Steering the project is the Downtown Caldwell Organization. Steering the Downtown Caldwell Organization is John McGee, who resigned from his position as an Idaho state senator after a high-profile drunken driving conviction in 2011, followed about six months later in 2012 by charges that he exposed himself to a female staffer at the Statehouse, asked for sex and groped the subordinate.

McGee served 39 days in jail on the drunken driving conviction and pleaded guilty to disturbing the peace and violating his parole in connection with the sexual harassment charges. In 2012 he left the Idaho Senate in disgrace, before the body could launch an ethics investigation.

The Press-Tribune story in August left out any reference to McGee's past, troubled or otherwise: There was no mention that he'd served in the Idaho Senate at all, despite the fact that the 41-year-old Caldwell native served four terms of office from 2004-2012 and had risen to the  position of Senate Majority Caucus chairman. McGee also sat on the board of trustees at the College of Idaho and worked as marketing director for West Valley Medical Center. In 2011, he took a leave of absence from C of I and in 2012 stepped down from WVMC amid the scandal surrounding his resignation from the Legislature. Boise Weekly noticed the omissions in the Press-Tribune story and filled in the details.

On Sept. 7, the Press-Tribune again reported on McGee's return to the public eye, writing that he was "focused on moving forward." McGee and his wife, Hanna, agreed, "albeit reluctantly," to sit down for an interview with Press-Tribune reporter Kelcie Moseley, where the former lawmaker addressed his mistakes.

"Mine was different in the fact that it was so public," he said. 

According to the Press-Tribune story, McGee had been "called out by another [unnamed] news organization suggesting that he was trying to get back into the public eye again for political gain," and "objects to that insinuation." 

A few days later, on Sept. 9, the public eye was set squarely on McGee, after the Press-Tribune piece was picked up by the Associated Press, KTVB, The Spokesman-Review's "Eye On Boise" blog, Local News 8 in Idaho Falls and a host of other news outlets, including the Press-Tribune.

The Sept. 7 Press-Tribune story underscored that while McGee"didn't exactly rule out any plans for the future," he "didn't seek out the [Downtown Caldwell Organization] chairmanship and has no ulterior motives about a second act in politics."