Kevin Richert: Pricey privy: What was Kempthorne thinking?

For most Americans, this is what Kempthorne might be remembered for-

Kevin Richert: Pricey privy: What was Kempthorne thinking? Idaho Statesman.

The average American, especially those not from the West, doesn’t know much about the scandal-ridden Department of Interior. This is the sort of think that sticks in peoples’ minds.





  1. Alan Gregory Avatar

    This is the sort of thing I thought I had seen the last of more than two decades ago in Air Force commanders’ offices. And now Dirk pulls a similar stunt – at the same time national wildlife refuges across the country have cut back on visitor services and staff and travel expenses and the very hours in which visitors can visit.

  2. Salle Avatar

    He’s always been an “all for myself” lout and this is just another example. Like the article says, “…a poor man’s Larry Craig.”

    Although, I might add that the whole history of Kempthorne’s years in government (I am reluctant to associate him with the concept of “public service”) it has been while Larry Craig has been in a place of power, perhaps this is the fitting end of that relationship. Maybe Larry was a regular visitor to Kempthorne’s “privy” – I mean office(!) – and Dirk just wanted to make him feel welcome, ya never know…

    Obviously the decor of the bathroom was far more important than the fate of Native Americans, wildlife, National Parks or any other component of the national interests assigned to the office of this Cabinet position. Tell you anything about misappropriation of interest?

  3. JimT Avatar

    Ralph, the only way the average American will engage this if someone like Tim Egan writes a book about the last 8 years…I think it would read like Wild Trees or Cadillac Desert even for the non enviro because it will such an amazing story of human corruption and greed. Let’s hope Tim is having the same idea…

    As Bugs Bunny would say about Kempthorne..”What a maroon”…LOL

  4. kt Avatar

    Well what I want to see is a probe into all the doings at Interior concerning Scarlett, Kempthorne, and the whole lot related to sacking the Nation’s natural resources. Or have they flushed their e-mail, plane tickets, appointment calendars, etc. down the toilet too? What all happened too on all those Dirk trips to reconnoiter how best to gut (and gun) the national parks? I want someone to pay articular attention to the Idaho mob that Bush inserted in Interior.

    Also – given the way Kempthorne was talking about his “dear bride”, i.e. Patricia, at the Boise City Club talk, one wonders even more what has been going on in the inner sanctums at Interior on a personal, philandering level. You can listen to that here:

    He’s gushing too much – especially for a fellow who has long been rumored to have a long-time lady friend [with a Basque name] that papers are said to long have known about but refused to write about. I wonder if he met someone else in the inner recesses of Interior?

  5. Layton Avatar

    “Also – given the way Kempthorne was talking about his “dear bride”, i.e. Patricia, at the Boise City Club talk, one wonders even more what has been going on in the inner sanctums at Interior on a personal, philandering level.”

    Way to go there kt — if there isn’t a rumor yet, start one!!

    My God, are you a shut in that has nothing more to do than indulge in a pathological, pathetic, hatred of all things Republican?? Or do you just have a large shit stirring paddle that you have the constant, irresistible urge to exercise??

  6. Salle Avatar

    How about just exposing the truth that corporate media aren’t willing to write about due to favoritism? BTW, exposing the ugly truth used to be the job and purpose of the media, not so anymore I guess. It has now become the job of citizens to do that since those who once were in that position refuse to perform in their original function.

  7. kt Avatar


    Yes, a shut-in in the ice smog.

    Why should Dirk be off limits, and Larry Craig not?

    The article is entitled:

    So, does Kempthorne’s mistress and 2nd family go, too?
    Submitted by d2 on Thu, 03/16/2006 – 4:33pm.

  8. Save bears Avatar
    Save bears

    Heck now the media is getting as slimey as the politicians!

    I guess all is fair in politics and news!

  9. Salle Avatar

    By all accounts, over the past eight years where these crooks have enjoyed a love-fest with the corporate media at the expense of the rest of us, they deserve it. It also demonstrates that, perhaps, the media is less fearful off having some “spine” re-implanted in them and their reporting.

  10. kt Avatar

    What gets me is the hypocrisy – Kempthorne trying to buff up his image, pretend that he did not seriously contribute to expanded destruction of wild places and wildlife habitat in the West by allowing the cattle, oil and gas, mining, etc. industry to pillage the public’s “resources”.

    So if Dirk has been living a public 20 year lie about his personal life, that seems relevant. Lies have become habit, and may help explain Dirk’s seeming inability to tell the truth about what he has been up to at Interior.

    Especially since if you listen to his recent speeches about his stint at Interior, he is touting Ethics Reform. He made a DVD.

    In Kempthorne’s Senate Farewell Address at this link, I see Strom Thurmond was near the top of the list of Senators saying goodbye when Dirk left the Senate … Seems like a long time ago.

    There were also several Dems saying good-bye. Kempthorne, always image conscious, had not been as openly abrasive as some of his colleagues so was better liked than some other Republicans.

    There is a list of Kempthorne’s staffers in DC near the back of the PDF at this link. I wonder what they have gone on to.

    Setting the record straight on Kempthorne is important, because he is young enough to re-emerge in politics and do more damage to the natural world, after the year away ….

  11. Ralph Maughan Avatar


    I wondered when Katie posted this, and I asked her if she was breaking news, but as you can see it is up on other blogs.

    I don’t really care if he has a mistress, etc.; except people are still going on about Clinton’s bj when it seems like this goes on in both parties. It is more irritating when it comes from the “I-talk-to-god-political party.”

  12. Salle Avatar

    Indeed, that “holier than thou” attitude… just don’t look in my bathroom!

  13. Layton Avatar

    Seems like the rumor mill is alive and well on the Dem. side.

    I don’t much get into politics — I think they are ALL dirty and if they aren’t yet, they will be. BUT why repeat every little possible salacious rumor from only one side?

    Hell, the Clinton tribe had enough going for rumors for the NEXT 40 years or so. If you get such a grin about things that happen after dark in DC, why not add fuel to BOTH sides? If it has something to do with something that’s important —- bring it on — if you just want some kind of quiver in your imagination — why not just leave it alone?? Or maybe keep it for your own selfish titillation??

    The negative response to something as simple as a cowboy hat on Salazar was pretty good, but this is getting ridiculous!!

  14. outsider Avatar

    Ralph so I guess if its on other blogs than it has to be true? What ever happend to fact checking? Along those lines where is the outrage about Timothy Geithner, the Treasury secretary nomine, in his inablitly to pay his taxes? This is the man who whill be running the IRS and yet he failed to pay his own taxes. I myself could care less but, lets stick to facts and call every spade a spade please.

    Aslo don’t you think that the 150 plus million being spent on president Obamas inauguration to be a bit much? I also think the 40-50 million spent of Bushs was also a waste.

  15. Ralph Maughan Avatar


    I don’t know that the rumor is true, but 43rd State Blues reported it. KT passed it on.
    – – – – –
    I don’t think there should be much of an inauguration festival. Given all the problems, I think Obama should go to work with a minimum of festivities.

    Except for security, which has an enormous cost, the inauguration is all, or mostly paid for by private donations, not the taxpayer. I don’t like this either because it is a source of potential corruption.

    The size of the inauguration has been a controversy for every recent President, except Jimmy Carter. I think they have been outlandish.

  16. outsider Avatar

    Ralph, Glad to hear we’re on the same page with the whole inauguration festival, but my question is were is the ourage about the millions being wasted like there was 4 years ago? Its almost like, well we need to spend this much money to get the bad taste out of our mouths from the past 8 year. But I also think that when the repubs get back in the white house, there will be mass outcrying about the waste. But its kinda hard to scream about one if your not willing to at least voice distaste for the other.

  17. Ralph Maughan Avatar

    Well yes, we’re on the same page here.

    Presidents should have a ceremony to take the oath of office, and go immediately to work to get the bad taste out of people’s mouths if that’s what they have.

    I’m sure others will disagree and want to party.

  18. Maska Avatar

    Ralph & Outsider:

    You definitely have a point regarding the excessive spending on lavish parades, balls, and other festivities surrounding the inauguration of our Presidents. I suspect, however, that you’re fighting a losing battle.

    Just look at the proliferation of charity and debutante balls, “civic” festivals like the Rose Parade, award ceremonies like the Oscars, families going into significant debt to throw fancy weddings and quinceaneras for their daughters, etc., ad nauseum. America may have sent royalty packing when our founders created our Constitution, but the trappings of royalty are alive and well in the land, nevertheless.

    This is a phenomenon, I would suggest, that is completely non-partisan. The inaugural bashes began to get out of hand with the Kennedys, and with the notable exception of Jimmy Carter (as noted above), the trend has continued ever since–for Democrats and Republicans alike.

    As for me, I’ll raise a glass to the new Prez, and then head for the woods.

  19. Salle Avatar


    “As for me, I’ll raise a glass to the new Prez, and then head for the woods.”

    That’s exactly what I will be doing.

    I think that Americans see it as a tradition, albeit a new one. But there is a lot to be glad about this time around. I get a sense from many that it’s a “ding dong the witch is dead…” attitude sort of thing going on en masse right now. Parades and fanfare, if bama didn’t allow it, many would be down-right pissed. And it would send a message to the world that there is so much danger in our streets that he can’t come out and show himself. Besides, he claims that it isn’t about him, it’s for “we the people” for once and for some reason, I’m kind of wanting to believe that. I know a lot of folks feel that way.

    Besides, it’s gonna take a majority of us working our butts off for the next few years to get out of this mess so we might as well celebrate now ’cause we won’t have the time, the energy or the $$ to do it for a spell after Tuesday. It might not be Reagan’s dawn or morning or whatever it was in America, but it is a new era that I’m putting my trust in

  20. Virginia Avatar

    Ralph – I would like to thank you for closing the blog about Salazar which turned into a forum to attack the credentials, etc. of people who are giving their opinions on this site. I agree that this kind of negative discussion will destroy the integrity of any blog and I would have no interest in reading those attacks on other people.

  21. Salle Avatar

    And THIS thread was the one about the potty!

  22. kt Avatar

    Betcha didn’t know that besides killing ESA listing for sage grouse, bringing guns and cell towers to the national parks – Dirk Kempthorne is a Football Whiz!

    Kempthorne must have hired a Public Relations Firm to try to dust himself off from his evil-doing with the Bush administration.

    Check out the Link to Dirk:

    takes you to this site:

    What else, too, could explain the near-full page Glam shot of Dirk last Sunday in the Statesman. Could someone be paying the local paper or someone to write such crap?

    Kempthorne is a national laughingstock. How much did taxpayers pay for the Powerpoint, and the Staff time for the poor staff assembled at the Farewell soiree? Likely tens of thousands of dollars in government worker salaries for that alone. Seriously. Can someone please FOIA that Powerpoint/slideshow?

    That might be better to track his evil deeds than any appointment logs, or anything else, in tracking the path of damage he has strewn across Parks, wild life habitats, and grazed public lands.

    Especially since all the Appointment calendars and Meeting notes – have been shredded, or dropped from a plane over the Pacific … Especially those that might say things like: “Met with Butch Otter about Simplot phosphate, about not listing slickspot peppergrass because the ranchers want to graze it into extinction first – just like the pygmy rabbit, etc.

    Or his last, last minute jab at the natural world — fast-tracking utility corridors on top of sage grouse habitat for Idaho Power, Harry Reid’s energy developr friends in Nevada, etc.


Dr. Ralph Maughan is professor emeritus of political science at Idaho State University. He was a Western Watersheds Project Board Member off and on for many years, and was also its President for several years. For a long time he produced Ralph Maughan’s Wolf Report. He was a founder of the Greater Yellowstone Coalition. He and Jackie Johnson Maughan wrote three editions of “Hiking Idaho.” He also wrote “Beyond the Tetons” and “Backpacking Wyoming’s Teton and Washakie Wilderness.” He created and is the administrator of The Wildlife News.

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Ralph Maughan