John Green expelled from Idaho House

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LOREN BENOIT/Press John Green speaks during a candidate forum in 2018.

John Green, in the midst of his first term representing Rathdrum, was expelled from the Idaho Legislature early Thursday afternoon.

The now-former representative and for-the-moment candidate for Kootenai County sheriff was convicted in a federal courthouse in Texas Wednesday on a charge of conspiracy to defraud the United States. After three hours of jury deliberation, Green was found guilty of helping a Texas couple evade $1.1 million in taxes.

Green has been a staunch denouncer of the Internal Revenue Service, calling the federal government’s tax collection agency a criminal organization. He faces a maximum sentence of five years in prison.

Green did not respond to a request for comment.

House Speaker Scott Bedke made a motion to vacate Green’s seat — District 2, Seat B — a move that was seconded by Rep. Mike Moyle, House Majority Leader. The motion passed unanimously, 65-0.

Tim Kastning, filling in for Green during the Texas trial since the House gaveled into session, announced Wednesday on Facebook he was returning to Rathdrum after the case went to the jury. Kastning, who had already announced his candidacy for Green’s seat in 2020, said he was thankful for the experience and hoped to return to Boise after the election.

“This has been an enjoyable experience,” he wrote on Facebook, “and has given me a full view of what it means to be a legislator. I’m looking forward to getting back down here next year should the citizens of Legislative District 2 elect me to be their Representative. I will be working hard to earn your vote.”

Once Legislative District 2 Chair Mike Towan has received notice of the vacation — which, by statute, will take no longer than 72 hours from the House vote to expel Green — the Hayden delegate will call for a special meeting, at which point the Kootenai County Republican Central Committee will put forth three names of potential appointees for the governor’s consideration, according to KCRCC chair Brent Regan.

“We would like that decision as quickly as possible,” Coeur d’Alene Rep. Jim Addis said, “because there are people in Rathdrum who need representation. There are votes to be cast [in Boise].”

Addis added that he was a reluctant witness to House history as he watched his colleague’s expulsion unfold.

“It’s a tough day for everyone,” he said. “It’s been a very interesting day, but a tough day. All of us down here today are trying to make our best effort to follow the Constitution’s [guidance] on this and proceed.”

Coeur d’Alene Rep. Paul Amador said he lamented Green’s expulsion but praised the expedience of the move.

“I don’t think it’s an enjoyable process for anybody to be involved with,” Amador said. “It’s certainly sad. When [Green] is a colleague you worked with and built a working relationship with, it’s hard to watch something like that unfold. But I think the Constitution is fairly straightforward: Someone convicted of a felony can’t serve. I think it is probably a positive that the process didn’t drag out. We didn’t have an open wound for a long time.”

Amador added that he respects Green’s continuing assertion of innocence but also respects the jury’s decision.

“We have a judicial system in place for a reason,” Amador said.

The felony conviction also vacates Green’s candidacy for Kootenai County Sheriff. Current Sheriff Ben Wolfinger had said he would not seek re-election back in early 2018, spawning a wave of candidates to seek his spot, including the now-former representative.

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