Democrat Rep. Reginald Bolding is bringing his own House ethics complaint against Rep. David Stringer and dropping his push for an immediate vote to expel his Republican colleague.
Bolding, D-Laveen, moved for a vote to expel Stringer, R-Prescott, on Jan. 28, an effort that failed as House Republicans opted instead for an investigation by the House Ethics Committee before determining how to move forward.
Rep. Kelly Townsend, R-Mesa, filed the first ethics complaint the same day Bolding made his motion, asking that the “egregious” charges against Stringer be explored.
While Townsend’s complaint focuses on the most recent allegations against Stringer reported by the Phoenix New Times, Bolding added emphasis to racially charged comments Stringer made on at least two occasions last year.
“His conduct undermines the public’s confidence in this institution and violates the order and decorum necessary to complete the people’s work in this state,” he wrote.
The New Times story, based on a court records, alleged Stringer was indicted in 1983 on multiple sex offenses, including child pornography.
Stringer acknowledged to Capitol Media Services that he accepted a plea bargain in which
prosecutors offered him something called “probation before judgment” on two misdemeanors. That is not a conviction, with the records expunged after the probationary period ended.
Bolding said he filed his own complaint because his is very different from Townsend’s in what the two direct the committee to look in to, broadening the scope of the ethics investigation.
“If you ask 59 members here what issues they should bring up with regard to Rep. Stringer, you’d get 59 different complaints, 59 different issues to highlight and focus on,” he said.
But Bolding’s motion to expel is still on the table.
He told reporters that he intends to hold his motion until the investigation is completed and the committee makes its recommendations, and that Democrats and Republicans alike have said they will move forward with expulsion if the allegations against Stringer are true.
But Bolding could bring the motion back sooner than the investigation can be completed. If he finds that the investigation is just wasting time, he said he may move forward.