Precinct committee members of the Canyon County Republican Party’s District 12 have voted to issue a statement of “censure” of Sen. Todd Lakey, R-Nampa.
“The Canyon County Republican Party Dist. 12 Committee does hereby publicly censure Senator Todd Lakey for the vote of Feb. 21, 2013 in favor of the SB1042 Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) State Insurance Exchange,” a portion of the document notates. The document was issued by Harmony Rice, chairwoman of the District 12 Republican group.
“This Censure of Senator Todd Lakey,” the Canyon County Republicans’ document further states, “reflects the severity of the offense towards the will of the people of Idaho; the people that have supplied logical analysis and arguments by which the Senator could have honestly appealed and validated a vote in opposition to the State Insurance Exchange.”
When contacted by IdahoReporter.com, Lakey said he had not yet read the censure document and declined further comment. The document was approved by 11 of the 12 Canyon County precinct committee members, with Joe Bell noted as the lone “no” vote.
“I’ve never heard of anything quite like this,” Dr. Stephanie Witt, professor of public policy at Boise State University told IdahoReporter.com. “The Republican Party in Canyon County may have some mechanism in place for this, but I’m not aware of that. I can understand being unhappy with your elected officials, but typically constituents don’t censure elected officials. They vote them out of office.”
According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, censure is defined as “a judgment involving condemnation; the act of blaming or condemning sternly” and “an official reprimand.”
The censure of elected officials often happens within governing bodies, and between the various branches of government themselves. President Andrew Jackson was censured by the U.S. Senate in 1834, and President James Polk was censured by the U.S. House of Representatives in 1848.
Yet it is not completely unprecedented for the censure of elected officials to be initiated from outside of government. In October of 2012, for example, the Nevada State Republican Party voted to censure that state’s entire congressional delegation. And in 2010, the South Carolina state Republican Party voted to censure U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-South Carolina.