A House committee will meet later today to consider an ethics complaint filed against a lawmaker who lied about having hemorrhoids so he could get a prescription in California for medical marijuana.
Representative Clel Bauder, a Republican from Greenfield, is adamantly opposed to the idea of allowing marijuana to be dispensed in Iowa for medical treatment. Baudler has said he was on a “fact-finding mission” when he told a California doctor he was suffering from hemorrhoids and depression and needed to smoke pot as treatment.
Mike Pesce of Des Moines, an advocate of medical marijuana, filed an ethics complaint against Baudler. “To me, the most egregious part is as an elected official here in the state of Iowa, and he made no secret of this, he planned this crime,” Pesce says. “And he said for a long time he was going to go to California and actually lie about certain conditions to get a medical marijuana card, and then he actually did.”
Baudler has said he didn’t buy the marijuana, but got the prescription for it just to prove how easy it would be for someone to lie and then be able to legally smoke pot with the prescription. Pesce says as a retired state trooper, Baudler should have known better.
“If he does have respect for the law and he has respect for the position he held as a lawman, I think he should get on the next plane to California, turn himself in and face prosecution,” Pesce says.
The House Ethics Committee is scheduled to meet early this afternoon to consider Pesce’s complaint against Baudler. Pesce argues what Baudler did is an impeachable offense, but Pesce isn’t expecting Baudler’s colleagues to take that step.
“I want to be realistic here. I looked at the history of impeachment and I’m sure it’s not likely, but I think if you look at the rules, I think this does fall under the rules of impeachment,” Pesce says. “Whether it will happen or not, I really don’t know.”
Baudler has said his intent was to “expose” what he called the California’s “asinine” system for handing out prescriptions for marijuana. It’s a crime in California to lie to a doctor about a medical condition and those found guilty could face a fine of up to a thousand dollars, but California officials say they have more pressing crime-fighting priorities and do not intend to prosecute Baudler.
The House Ethics Committee had scheduled meetings last week and this past Monday to hear the ethics complaint against Baudler, but cancelled both meetings. Today’s House Ethics Committee meeting is scheduled to begin at 12:30 p.m.