The House Ethics Committee has dismissed a complaint filed against a legislator who broke California law when he lied about a medical condition so he could get a prescription for “medical marijuana.”
Representative Clel Baudler, a Republican from Greenfield, is a retired state trooper who has said it was a “fact finding mission” to illustrate how “asinine” the California system is. Mike Pesce of Des Moines, an advocate of medical marijuana, filed the complaint.
“I thought, pretty much 50/50, it would either be dismissed today or they would take it to the next step. I was trying to be a realist about it,” Pesce says.
The six members of the House Ethics Committee unanimously dismissed Pesce’s complaint, saying Baudler’s actions did not fall within the committee’s jurisdiction. Representative Dan Kelly, a Democrat from Newton, seemed to lecture Pesce at the end of the committee’s brief meeting.
“I believe that this committee should not be used as a forum by anyone in furtherance or opposition to a controversial policy issue,” Kelly said, reading from a prepared statement.
Representative Baudler told the California doctor he needed to smoke marijuana because he was suffering from hemmorrhoids and depression, but Baudler never filled the prescription for pot.
Representative Scott Raecker, a Republican from Urbandale, was the committee member who moved to dismiss the ethics complaint against Baudler because Baudler had not violated House Rules, the House Code of Ethics or the state’s so-called “gift law” which bars legislators from accepting food or drink that’s worth more than $2.99.
“The issue today was whether this complaint was valid,” Raecker said immediately after the meeting. “And it was not a valid complaint.”
Raecker, the executive director of a group called “Character Counts,” was asked by a reporter when it’s permissible for an Iowa legislator to break laws in other states.
“I can only speak for myself. I think we should be very cautious about what we do here or in other places across the country,” Raecker said. “And I do think that public servants are held up to a higher level of scrutiny.”
Baudler did not appear at today’s meeting. Baudler filed a six-sentence written response last week, saying the complaint Pesce filed failed to list “any statue or rule under the jurisdiction of the House Ethics Committee.”
Listen to the entire meeting here: Baudler Ethics 5:15 MP3