Pubdate: Thu, 17 Feb 2011
Source: Des Moines Register (IA)
Copyright: 2011 The Des Moines Register
Author: Jennifer Jacobs


An ethics review has cleared a state lawmaker who admitted he lied 
about having hemorrhoids to obtain a medical marijuana prescription 
in California.

Rep. Clel Baudler, R-Greenfield, said his actions were meant to show 
that legalization of the drug for medical purposes is unwise there 
and would be in Iowa, too.

He revealed the stunt in a newsletter to supporters this past fall. 
To demonstrate what he believes are abuses of California's medical 
marijuana laws, he said he lied to a doctor to obtain a prescription 
in May 2010. He never had the prescription filled, he said.

In a bipartisan, unanimous vote, the House Ethics Committee decided 
the complaint didn't establish any violation of either Iowa Code 
Section 68b or House ethics.

The committee's jurisdiction is limited, said Rep. Scott Raecker, 
R-Urbandale. Members can ascertain only whether there was a violation 
of those rules and code section. Neither the rules nor code addresses 
a lawmaker who allegedly broke a law in another state or told a lie, he said.

Des Moines resident Mike Pesce, an advocate of medical marijuana who 
filed the ethics complaint on Jan. 31, said he was disappointed by 
the decision.

California law states that a person who fraudulently represents a 
medical condition to a doctor is subject to a $1,000 fine or six 
months in jail for a first offense. Authorities there have declined 
to pursue charges against Baudler.

Pesce said the Iowa Constitution clearly allows for impeachment of a 
state legislator who commits malfeasance, and Pesce said he believes 
this was malfeasance.

Baudler, a former state trooper, didn't attend the hearing at the Capitol.

In a written response to the House Ethics Committee on Feb. 8, 
Baudler said he believes the complaint failed to establish a 
violation of any statute or rule under the committee's jurisdiction.

After the meeting, Raecker said it's important for elected officials 
to follow the law. Raecker is executive director of Character Counts 
in Iowa, which seeks to promote civility through character development.

Asked whether he would lie to find out information, Raecker said the 
issue is trustworthiness.

"If Anne Frank were in my attic and the Nazis were at my door asking, 
that's a tough question, but I believe I would lie to them for the 
greater good," he said. "I think to be honest, to be forthright, 
those are issues each of us have to address on our own," he said.
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MAP posted-by: Keith Brilhart