Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Update: McGee Accused of Sexual Harassment, Resigns From Idaho Senate

District 10 precinct chairs will recommend three candidates to Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter who will choose replacement.

Posted By on Wed, Feb 22, 2012 at 3:37 PM

UPDATE 4:40 P.M.

The following is the text of former Sen. John McGee's resignation letter:

The Honorable Brent Hill
President Pro Tempore
Idaho State Senate
State Capitol
Boise Idaho 83720

Dear Brent,

Please accept this letter as my formal resignation from the office of State Senator for the 10th Legislative District in the State of Idaho, effective February 22, 2012.

It has been my pleasure and honor to serve the citizens of District 10 in the Idaho State Senate for the past eight years. I appreciate and am grateful for the opportunity and treasure the association with you and our colleagues.

John McGee

Cc: Senator Bart Davis, Majority Leadership
Senator Chuck Winder, Assistant Majority Leader
Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter
Secretary of State Ben Ysursa

UPDATE 4:30 P.M.

"Sen. McGee does not admit to any wrongdoing," said Sen. President Pro Tem Brent Hill in addressing questions regarding the sexual harassment allegations facing former Sen. John McGee.

"We also express our compassion to his family and most particularly, his wife," said Hill.

Hill confirmed that the Senate staffer who lodged the allegation is not a minor.

When asked if he discussed options with McGee, Hill confirmed that he and Senate Majority Leader Bart Davis discussed the possibility of an ethics committee "to further investigate the situation."

Hill confirmed that the allegations are still being fully investigated by the Attorney General's Office, but neither he not Davis would comment on the possibility of criminal charges being filed.

"That would be for other agencies to decide. The Idaho State Senate doesn't haven't that authority," said Hill.

When pressed about the possibility of charges, Davis paused and said, "I'm just a country lawyer who practices commercial law."

Assistant Majority Leader Sen. Chuck Winder, who in January voted against keeping McGee as GOP Caucus chairman, said he was surprised at the events of the past 72 hours.

"No one is saying 'I told you so,'" said Winder. "I think we were optimistic over the last month that the Senate was healing and that this was behind us. We had all moved on and were working well together. In all honesty, this fell out of the sky."

UPDATE 4:20 P.M.

"Last Saturday, Feb. 18, Senate Majority Leader Bart Davis and I were notified of confidential allegations of sexual harassment involving a Senate attache," said Sen. President Pro Tem Brent Hill. " The Senate takes all allegations of harassment very seriously. The Senate secretary investigated the matter and counseled the attache to talk to Sen. Davis, the secretary and I."

Hill said that he immediately reassigned the attache to another position in the Senate and she is currently on paid leave.

"My second priority is to protect the integrity of this institution," said Hill.

Hill said McGee told him, "It was in the best interest of the Senate and for him to resign."

UPDATE 4:12 p.m.

State Senate officials confirmed late this afternoon that McGee resigned in the shadow of allegations of sexual harassment involving an Idaho State Senate attache.


Sen. John McGee, the Idaho Senate's GOP caucus chairman and four-term District 10 legislator who was caught in a bizarre drunk-driving incident on Father's Day 2011, resigned today from the Idaho Legislature. The office of Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter confirmed to the Associated Press that McGee had submitted his resignation this afternoon.

McGee pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor of driving under the influence on July 1 in connection with events in the early hours of June 19 after he was found passed out in the back seat of an SUV and trailer he stole from a nearby home and then proceeded to jack-knife in the driveway of another home. But as part of a deal, a felony charge of operating a vehicle without the owner's consent was dropped and McGee admitted to a DUI, avoiding any additional time behind bars. His sentence included 180 days in jail, 175 of which were suspended. McGee was also ordered to perform 24 hours of community service, had his driver's license suspended for 180 days and was on one year of unsupervised probation.

When the 2012 Idaho legislative session began, Republicans voted behind closed doors to keep McGee as their caucus chairman, but in a rare public statement, nine GOP senators said they had opposed McGee staying in the position. The nine were: Sens. Russ Fulcher of Meridian, Lee Heider of Twin Falls, Dean Mortimer of Idaho Falls, Sheryl Nuxoll of Cottonwood, Mitch Toryanski of Boise, Monty Pearce of New Plymouth, Shirley McKague of Meridian, Steve Vick of Dalton Gardens and Chuck Winder of Boise.

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