- Associated Press - Wednesday, June 15, 2016

IDAHO FALLS, Idaho (AP) - Senate Pro Tem Brent Hill says an Idaho Republican House member secretly recorded a private conversation with him before the May primary election.

The Post Register (https://bit.ly/28EFpob ) reports in a story on Wednesday that Rep. Ron Nate, of Rexburg, declined to disclose the audio recording after the eastern Idaho newspaper sent him a public records request. Hill also declined to reveal the contents of the conversation.

In the weeks leading up to the May primary, Hill announced he would endorse Nate’s opponent. The move raised eyebrows because legislative leadership tends to back incumbents. However, Nate defeated Doug Ricks in the primary. With no opponent in the general election, Nate will go on to serve a second-two year term in the House.

Nate says that he will not turn over the recording because it would infringe on his privacy rights. Nate also cited a repealed section to the Idaho Public Records Act in his public records request denial.

“The record you request relates to ‘personal business’ and as such its disclosure further would constitute an unwarranted invasion of my personal privacy,” Nate wrote in an email.

Nate declined to comment further when contacted by the Post Register. On Wednesday, Nate posted statement on Facebook that he’s seen too much lying and cheating in the Idaho Statehouse and recording a conversation is a legal way to protect one’s self when caught in the crosshairs.

“We are in a battle for our liberty; it is real and it’s being waged in Washington, D.C., Boise, and even in District 34,” Nate wrote.

House Speaker Scott Bedke condemned the practice of secretly recording a fellow lawmaker.

“Lawmakers that secretly record one another have no other motive than to set their colleagues up and play ‘gotcha’ with them down the road,” said Bedke. “It’s conduct unbecoming a member of the House of Representatives, and I believe that it is misconduct.”

Bedke did not contribute to Nate’s primary election despite giving to more than 20 House Republican incumbent races.

House Majority Leader Mike Moyle echoed Bedke’s concerns, adding that people are likely not to trust a legislator who is known for secretly recording conversations.

“Being a legislator is like being in a marriage,” he said. “If you lose trust it’s over.”

Meanwhile, Senate Majority Leader Bart Davis, of Idaho Falls, says that if the allegations are true, Nate will have no influence in the Senate for some time.

___

Information from: Post Register, https://www.postregister.com


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