The president of the Idaho Association of Commerce and Industry has apologized, but will retain his position, after a profanity-laced internal e-mail leaked to members of the Idaho Senate.
The January 13 e-mail from Alex LaBeau addressed Sen. Jeff Siddoway’s remarks on not lowering taxes until the Legislature raises starting pay for Idaho teachers to $40,000.
In the message, LaBeau wrote Siddoway’s statement will make him and his committee irrelevant, and references retaliatory action against Siddoway, “just to be (jerks).”
LaBeau sent the e-mail in reply to a note on Siddoway’s remarks from Idaho Power government affairs director Richard Hahn. IACI lobbyists Jayson Ronk and Zach Hauge were copied on the message.
In an interview with Idaho Reports, LaBeau confirmed he wrote the e-mail and said sending it was a lapse of leadership and judgment. The e-mail was intended to be an internal vent, he said, adding it was still inappropriate.
“Even then I need to check myself if I intend to be the leader I hope to be,” LaBeau said.
LaBeau said he made the retaliation remark in frustration, and IACI has not introduced legislation to punish Siddoway or anyone else.
IACI, which represents major industry in Idaho including JR Simplot, Potlatch Corporation and Hecla Mining, supports tax decreases and a full repeal of the state’s personal property tax. Siddoway is the chairman of the Senate Local Government and Taxation Committee.
LaBeau said he offered his resignation on Wednesday, but Mark Dunn, chairman of the IACI board, had declined it.
The IACI Executive Committee met on Thursday and released this statement: “As members of the executive committe of the Idaho Association of Commerce & Industry (IACI), we strongly condemn the language and tone of this communication. We apologize for any harm this may have caused or disrespect that was conveyed to our elected officials and the legislative process. We are confident that this is a one-time lapse in judgment, and based on that continue to support Alex LaBeau as the President of this Association.”
It’s not clear who leaked the e-mail to Senate leadership. LaBeau said he met with legislative leaders on Wednesday to apologize, and no one had asked him to step down.
“I have such tremendous respect for this process,” LaBeau told Idaho Reports, adding his actions fell short of his own expectations of himself.
Senate President Pro Tem Brent Hill said the meeting with LaBeau went well, and confirmed no one asked him to resign. “It’s not our place,” Hill said.
Siddoway declined to comment, and Hahn couldn’t be reached as of Thursday morning.
The text of the e-mail is in the following link. (As mentioned, it contains profanity. You’ve been warned.)