Lawmaker who shared rape accuser’s name runs for new office

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — An Idaho lawmaker facing criticism for publicizing the name of an intern who accused another lawmaker of rape has announced a run for lieutenant governor.

Rep. Priscilla Giddings, a three-term Republican from White Bird, declared her candidacy Friday, calling herself “Top Gun” in reference to her military service. She is currently a major in the Air Force Reserves.

“I am running for Lieutenant Governor because Idaho deserves to be represented by a proven conservative,” Giddings said in a prepared statement. “I will be a champion for limited government, a fighter for our Second Amendment rights, a tireless advocate for the unborn.”

Current Lt. Gov. Janice McGeachin announced earlier this week that she was running for governor. Another Republican lawmaker, Rep. Luke Malek from Coeur d’Alene, announced in November that he is running for the lieutenant governor’s post.

Critics have called for an ethics hearing for Giddings over her actions in connection with a rape investigation involving former Rep. Aaron von Ehlinger of Lewiston.

After a 19-year-old legislative intern reported that von Ehlinger raped her, Giddings shared a far-right blog post that included the young woman’s name, photo and identifying information on a social media page and in a newsletter to constituents. Giddings also disparagingly referred to the woman as a “honey trap” in the newsletter.

Von Ehlinger has denied any wrongdoing and maintains he had consensual sexual contact with the woman. The Boise Police Department is investigating. Von Ehlinger resigned after an ethics committee found he committed “conduct unbecoming” of a lawmaker.

Giddings’ decision to publicize the accuser’s name and personal details led to an outcry, with thousands of people signing petitions and sending letters — mostly form letters — to legislative leaders demanding an ethics hearing. The Idaho Female Veterans Network has condemned Giddings and asked the Air Force to investigate her actions.

Giddings did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Associated Press left at her campaign office on Friday. The voice mail box for Giddings’ home phone number was full.

Giddings spent nine years in active duty with the Air Force and served on three combat deployments.

Rebecca Boone
Rebecca Boone
Rebecca is a correspondent based in Idaho.