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House Democrats call for Gowan ethics investigation

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Two top House Democrats want that chamber’s Ethics Committee to investigate Speaker David Gowan and other key Republicans.

In a formal complaint Tuesday, Minority Leader Eric Meyer and Minority Whip Rebecca Rios cite published reports about the travels of the GOP lawmakers.

“These members used state vehicles for potentially non-official purposes and/or were reimbursed for travel for which they were not entitled to reimbursement,” the Democrats said in the complaint to Rep. David Stevens, R-Sierra Vista, who chairs the Ethics Committee. They also cited a separate trip that Gowan took to Washington in December.

“These recent events appear to be part of a pattern of inappropriate conduct that has caused the public to lose confidence and trust in the Arizona House of Representatives,” the complaint states.

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House Speaker David Gowan

It also says Gowan appears to have “tasked his state staff with assisting his congressional campaign,” including taking staff to speaking appearances around the state and in Washington.

Gowan already has asked Attorney General Mark Brnovich to look into his own travel. But the Democrats said that request itself raises a separate question, not asked of Brnovich, of whether Gowan sought legal advice from attorneys on the House payroll, rather than seeking outside legal counsel, on the question of a possible criminal investigation.

And they asked that Gowan and Majority Leader Steve Montenegro step aside during the investigation.

“No one will be stepping down,” said Stephanie Grisham, spokeswoman for House Republicans. And Grisham repeatedly refused to answer questions about who prepared Gowan’s letter to Brnovich and whether any state funds, resources or employees were involved.

Grisham also said there would be no comment from any of the legislators named in the complaint. Aside from Gowan and Montenegro, that includes Rep. Darin Mitchell, R-Litchfield Park, and Michelle Ugenti-Rita, R-Scottsdale.

But much of the inquiry — and the greatest amount of travel — involves Gowan.

An investigation by the Arizona Capitol Times found a record of extensive travel outside his southeast Arizona legislative district. Grisham has defended that, saying he is the speaker of the entire state.

But the records show the in-state travel was largely in the 1st Congressional District where Gowan is a candidate. He also tweeted out pictures of some campaign meetings on days where he had sought reimbursement for out-of-town travel.

Gowan subsequently reimbursed the state more than $12,000 from his personal funds, calling the billings “errors and nothing more.”

The complaint will not necessarily lead to an investigation or hearing.

Stevens said he is reviewing the complaint. But committee rules allow him to dismiss them if he concludes that none of the conduct alleged violates House rules.

That is what happened after a complaint that Rep. Bob Robson, R-Chandler, had stolen a campaign sign of an opponent. Stevens dismissed it after concluding that whatever occurred was a criminal matter not subject to his committee’s jurisdiction.

7 comments

  1. It’s sad that Speaker Gowan was so reckless in his use of state resources. His actions reflect poorly on his ethics, his respect for taxpayer property, and his self-proclaimed conservative views. Instead those actions show he is simply another power hungry politician who puts himself before the people.

  2. America has a HUGE drug problem! 90% of the cocaine here comes through our southern border; 80% of meth and heroin here comes through our southern border!
    America has a HUGE illegal migrant problem! 81% of illegal migrants favor Democrats because they are coming from big government countries and Democrats favor big government. Consequently, as illegal immigration continues, Republican ideals lose! This is why people who want to give more political power to the left want this crime to continue.

    However, the wealthiest exploiters really don’t care much about Dems vs Reps, or that our children have easy access to drugs, but they DO care about cheap labor! THEY are the establishment; THEY fund the media and candidates from BOTH parties; and THEY will do anything to maintain the status quo that is benefiting them so much!

    Please, we NEED to vote for Trump because he is one of the very few candidates in recent history who isn’t another paid-for stooge looking to sell us out (BTW, we would be in better shape today if Ross Perot had won), and he is the only one who will have an absolute mandate to build the wall and secure our border. The establishment has been fiercely trying to derail his campaign for those very reasons!

  3. The problems with illegal migrants is that our emergency rooms are constantly full with them (I am a nurse so I know), the tremendous harm to our children’s education (my wife is a school teacher so she knows), the welfare costs (my nephew is a social worker so he knows), the destruction of middle class jobs (I worked in construction for 20 years so I know this too), the increased gangs/drugs/crime (my cousin was a police chief so he knows), and so many neighborhoods being destroyed (I lived in a poor one and watched it turn into an illegal migrant, gang infested, drug hole over the course of 15 years; and until any of these corrupt politicians living in their gated communities experience something like that, their rhetoric means less than zero to me).

    Despite misleading info and cherry-picked statistics by illegal migrant supporters (exploiters and sympathizers), that’s the reality where the rubber meets the road!

    If the epic fail politicians had listened to their constituents, rather than all of the wealthy exploiters, and done something to stop illegal immigration when it started in earnest back in the 1960s, we wouldn’t have this problem. We would have more legal, middle class immigrants strengthening our working class and contributing to our society instead!

  4. The “Establishment” are the wealthy elites who fund and control the media and both political parties (Dems vs Reps do not matter to them). That’s why America continues to be sold out to corporate and foreign interests, is overwhelmed by cheap illegal migrant labor, racks up debt, is perpetually in wars, and continues down the path to bankruptcy with no change in sight.

    For example, Obamacare was just another corporate empowerment (of insurance, hospitals, pharma) at the expense of taxpayers (the middle class in particular). As always, I’m sure the politicians got their palms greased a little to sell out their fellow Americans. My wife and I now spend about $5,000/year more on health insurance than we did 8 years ago and are required by law to do so.

    If a candidate who isn’t a paid-for puppet actually might be elected, the Establishment always utilizes its resources to stop them. This is what we see them doing with Trump. However, Trump is unique in the fact he has tremendous resources and an incredible ability to handle a corrupt press (Ross Perot had the resources but could not handle the press like Trump).

  5. American media is a democracy-destroying institution of propaganda as it exists today. I recommend searching for and watching the video “The Untruth about Donald Trump” to observe how the media has lied about Trump and fooled so many.

  6. Dear Sirs;

    As dysfunctional as our Arizona reps may seem, (and maybe somewhat are), I believe that representatives from both sides still know their sense of duty to assist and protect the public.

    If our representatives are disgusted that “These recent events appear to be part of a pattern of inappropriate conduct that has caused the public to lose confidence and trust in the Arizona House of Representatives,” over carpool expense legitimacy, they would rightly be outraged with a huge example of gross negligence and unlawful behavior by an Water Utility serving 50,000 customers in Southern Arizona.

    The responsible action would be demonstrating bipartisan accountability and showing dedication to Public Safety and lawful behavior by correcting legislation and putting a stop to this board of directors before they are able to take unlawful retaliatory action upon anyone else.

    Michigan and the nation are already discovering the unacceptable consequences of what happens when a water utility is unaccountably negligent, betrays the public trust, and put it’s customers at risk. The risk posed to the public is arguably much greater when when our Arizona water utility has been found to have retaliated against customers and employees deliberately.

    The public outcry for criminal prosecution in Flint is because evidence indicates that state governance and the water utility were aware of the hazard but did nothing to alert or protect the public from an unsafe condition.

    We already have an example of what occurs when a water utility’s influence outweighs the public’s right to health and safety in Michigan. Arizona Legislation is perilously structured and currently in effect to where this Southern Arizona water utility is designated as a “political subdivision district” and is exempt from ACCOUNTABILITY or usual reporting requirements to either OSHA or the Arizona Corporation Commission.

    Continuing unlawful retaliation against district customers and employees is not and will never be acceptable from a Southern Arizona provider of water to the public. Public call to action at yourmetrowatertucsonboard.com and http://www.facebook.com/yourmetrowatertucsonboard/

  7. Thank you to Howard Fischer and Capitol Media Services for taking the investigative reporting initiative and providing this “House Democrats call for Gowan ethics investigation” article of ETHICS focus on March 15, 2016 , 5:14 pm and a forum for public discussion in the azcapitoltimes.com

    -An informed and grateful public at http://www.yourmetrowatertucsonboard.com

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