Story of alleged legislative affair goes mainstream

The story that has generated the most gossip in Idaho political and social media circles this week involves an alleged affair between two legislators.

The story went mainstream Thursday, with news that legislative auditors will look over travel expenses filed by Sen. Jim Guthrie, R-McCammon, and Rep. Christy Perry, R-Nampa.

“We want to do our due diligence,” Senate President Pro Tem Brent Hill told Kimberlee Kruesi of the Associated Press. “We want to know if there is any truth to these allegations of impropriety with public funds. So we’re looking through travel vouchers, seeing if they went to the same conferences or meetings and seeing if anything matches up.”

(Here’s more about the story from the Idaho Press-Tribune.)

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Sen. Jim Guthrie, R-McCammon

Guthrie is vice chairman of the Senate Local Government and Taxation Committee, while Perry chairs the House’s Ways and Means Committee. Their ties to public education policies are tangential, although Guthrie sits on the budget-writing Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee, and Perry is one Republican lawmaker who supports a state-funded pre-K pilot program.

The story of their alleged affair broke in a blog earlier this week — in a post that outlined the allegation in graphic detail.

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Rep. Christy Perry, R-Nampa

Blogger Lance Earl gleaned much of the story from an interview with Guthrie’s wife, Barbara; the couple divorced in July, Kruesi reports.

When this blog post broke, I admit I was curious to see how, or if, the mainstream media would pick up the story. The audit is certainly newsworthy — and the question about the use of taxpayer money is clearly a matter of public interest. The mainstream media coverage, meanwhile, has omitted most of the graphic details of the alleged affair.