East Idaho lawmaker says resolution to impeach Gov. Little in the works

Chad Christensen, left, and Brad Little. | EastIdahoNews.com file photos

BOISE — An east Idaho lawmaker says Gov. Brad Little should be impeached, and he’s supporting a resolution in the works to make it happen.

Rep. Chad Christensen, a Republican in the District 32B seat, tells EastIdahoNews.com another legislator has drafted a document calling for the governor’s impeachment over his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic. Christensen did not identify the other lawmaker but says the resolution will likely become public this week.

“I don’t dislike the governor,” Christensen says. “It’s not personal for me (but) I think the people of Idaho deserve better than these violations of the Constitution.”

Christensen says he made his decision after Little spoke Friday and condemned legislators’ efforts to end his COVID-19 emergency order. Two bills — one in the House and another in the Senate — seek to end the COVID-19 emergency declaration orders. In addition, a resolution to quash limits on gatherings during the pandemic passed the House on Monday and goes to the Senate.

The governor condemned the effort to end the declaration, saying it would put Idahoans at risk. He called on legislators to stop acting as if the emergency order closes the state or infringes upon personal rights.

The Republican governor said removing the emergency declaration order may interfere with the state’s efforts in rolling out coronavirus vaccines. He urged Idahoans to contact legislators to tell them not to proceed.

RELATED | Little condemns Legislature’s efforts to end COVID-19 emergency order

“After Friday’s tantrum from Governor Brad Little, I’m now committed to moving forward to impeaching him,” Christensen wrote in a Facebook post Sunday. “I have entertained it before, now I am all in.”

Christensen represents people in parts of Bonneville, Bear Lake, Caribou, Franklin, Oneida and Teton Counties.

Impeachment is a process in which legislators address any allegations of criminal charges against an official, including the governor. Similar to federal law, Idaho Statute lays out how the Gem State’s House of Representatives can adopt articles of impeachment before sending the public official before the Senate for trial.

The full scope of what the legislators feel Little did to constitutes impeachment likely won’t be known until the resolution becomes public. Christensen says he believes limits placed on gatherings and restrictions on worship and business since the outbreak of COVID-19 violates constitutional rights.

“That’s why I’m doing it,” Christensen says. “It’s for my constituents, for the people of Idaho. They’re not dumb. They’ve seen these violations of the constitution.”

Although Christensen and others have raised concerns over the constitutionality of former stay-at-home orders, Idaho Attorney General Lawrence Wasden said in April 2020 that he had no problem providing legal defense to such orders. Wasden released a document saying as governor, Little does have the legal backing to establish and enforce such orders.

Christensen and other lawmakers have been raising concerns about Little’s orders for months. Christensen appeared in an October Idaho Freedom Foundation video called “We reaffirm our commitment to freedom.” Lawmakers in the video questioned the existence of the coronavirus pandemic and said they would ignore state and local emergency orders they felt violated their rights.

“I’m going to push this (impeachment) out there,” Christensen said. “We’ll make a statement to the State of Idaho.”

Little’s office has not returned a request for comment to EastIdahoNews.com. We will update this story if we receive one.