Unanimous vote expels Idaho lawmaker following his felony conviction in Texas
Cynthia Sewell, Idaho Statesman
Published at | Updated at
BOISE (Idaho Statesman) — The Idaho House of Representatives quickly expelled one of its members less than 24 hours after a Texas federal jury convicted him of a felony.
North Idaho Republican John Green’s guilty verdict on Wednesday put the House in a spin as it worked to determine the legal ramifications of a sitting House member receiving a felony conviction.
Shortly after the verdict, Green told The Associated Press that he will not resign his legislative seat.
Following a nearly two-hour House GOP caucus meeting Thursday, the House returned to the floor and took up a motion from House Speaker Scott Bedke, R-Oakley.
“I move that Seat B of District 2 of the Idaho House of Representatives be declared vacant due to the disqualification pursuant to Article XI Section III of the Idaho Constitution,” Bedke said, without referring to the disqualified legislator by name or why the legislator is deemed disqualified.
With no debate, comment or discussion the House voted 65-0 to expel Green.
Earlier in the day, the Idaho Attorney General’s Office sent Bedke a letter stating that based on its review of the Idaho Constitution and state law, under Green’s felony conviction, “he appears to have lost his qualifications for office.”
But, the AG’s office noted, under the Constitution, the “House is the judge of the qualifications of its own members.”
This meant the House must decide whether Green is automatically removed from office, should be expelled or can retain his seat until his term expires at the end of this year.
Expelling a member from the House requires a two-thirds vote of the 70-member body.
John Green found guilty in Texas trial
A federal jury in Dallas deliberated for about three hours on Wednesday before finding Green, an attorney, and his client, Tom Selgas, guilty on all counts after a week-and-a-half trial. Green was found guilty of conspiracy to defraud the U.S., and Selgas was convicted of tax evasion and conspiracy to defraud the U.S., The Dallas Morning News reported.
Green faces a five-year maximum sentence. His sentencing date has not been set.
Green is licensed to practice law in Washington state and Texas. He is not a member of the Idaho State Bar, according to bar officials.
Green has been absent from the 2020 legislative session, which convened Jan. 6, the same day his trial began.
Idaho Gov. Brad Little nominated Tim Kastning, of Rathdrum, to serve as acting state representative in Green’s place through Jan. 17.
Green owes federal government at least $134,917 in taxes
The IRS filed a federal tax lien against Green in 2014 that is still in effect, the Kootenai County Recorder’s Office said Thursday.
Whether Green has filed Idaho state tax returns or owes state taxes is not public information under Idaho law. Should the Idaho Tax Commission file a state lien against Green or pursue tax-related litigation, the information would become public.