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Bundgaard re-files complaint to oust 3 ethics members

Sen. Scott Bundgaard (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin, File)

Sen. Scott Bundgaard, who is facing an ethics investigation, has resubmitted a complaint alleging that three members of the Senate Ethics Committee have already prejudged him and should be barred from hearing his case.

The complaint was submitted today to Sen. Ron Gould, chairman of the Senate ethics panel.

Earlier this week, James Austin Woods, the Peoria Republican’s attorney, asked Senate President Russell Pearce to remove Gould, as well as Democratic Sens. Leah Landrum Taylor and David Schapira, from the panel.

But Pearce denied that request, saying the complaint didn’t follow the ethics committee rules.

Specifically, Pearce said the complaint should have been addressed to the panel’s chairman.

Pearce also said Woods cited a law that applies to the judiciary — not to the legislative ethics panel.

Woods told the ~Arizona Capitol Times~ today that if Gould and the others remained on the panel, “no one is going to take a verdict seriously.”

The complaint says Gould, Schapira and Landrum Taylor have made public statements or have taken actions that indicate they would not be impartial in ethics proceedings.

Bundgaard faces the ethics complaint stemming from a Feb. 25 freeway fight with his ex-girlfriend. His punishment could include expulsion from the Senate.

He avoided a criminal trial in a plea deal with prosecutors, which requires him to attend domestic-violence counseling.

Meanwhile, the ethics panel will meet again on Oct. 4 to conduct a meeting equivalent to a “pretrial conference” in court.

Ethics Committee member, Sen. Steve Yarbrough, R-Gilbert, said the group plans to set rules designed to “more expeditiously move the process along.”

For instance, the committee will meet to see if both sides can agree to some facts of the case, including the authenticity of documents.

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