Patterson says ethics investigation politically motivated; panel to meet on next step
Published: April 10, 2012 at 8:36 am
Rep. Daniel Patterson, the Tucson lawmaker facing ethics charges and possible expulsion from the House of Representatives, today maintained his innocence and said a scathing ethics report against him was politically motivated.
The House Ethics Committee met briefly this morning, then recessed after confirming receipt of the Tucson lawmaker’s formal response to the ethics report.
Rep. Ted Vogt, the Republican Ethics Committee chairman from Tucson, said the committee will reconvene once its members review Patterson’s response.
Vogt said he’s still not sure how soon the committee could make its formal recommendation to the whole House.
The special investigators’ are recommending Patterson be expelled from the House.
Patterson’s lengthy response to the special investigators’ report claims that the report is full of unsubstantiated claims and that rumors have been put forth as statements of fact.
Once the committee members have a chance to review his response, the ethics members could decide to make their recommendation to the whole body immediately afterward, which could include a recommendation to remove him from office.
Meanwhile, House Democrats have voiced increasingly frantic calls for Patterson’s ouster from the Legislature since he was charged with domestic violence in March, following an altercation with his ex-girlfriend in February. But when Democrats tried to have him voted out of the Legislature last week, they were blocked by Republicans who maintained that Patterson’s due process be respected.
The calls for Patterson to resign have only been met by his firm denial of any wrongdoing. Patterson’s ex-girlfriend seemingly posted on Facebook a complete recanting of the original allegations that Patterson beat her, but the special investigators’ report said the lawmaker may have coerced his ex-girlfriend into writing it. Patterson’s response restates the recanting as evidence of his innocence.
Patterson changed his party affiliation from Democratic to independent, but he said it has nothing to do with the Democrat-led pressure to oust him from office.
House Minority Leader Chad Campbell has repeatedly said he thinks Patterson needs to be kicked out of the Legislature, saying he is a threat to fellow members and staff.
Fear of what Patterson might do has been cited as the most important reason to have Patterson removed from office. Lawmakers have said they’re scared of Patterson, leading to some bringing guns to the Capitol to protect themselves.
Patterson has said there’s no need for the fear, despite the angry outbursts described in the special investigators’ report.
Campbell reiterated Monday that if the Ethics Committee comes to the whole body with a recommendation to expel, he will initiate that vote again, like he did unsuccessfully last week.