Scott Bundgaard Files Ethics Complaint Against Ethics Committee Members (w/Update)

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Jeez, hurry up and resign already...

State Senator Scott Bundgaard, facing an ethics complaint and possible expulsion from the Senate for his roadside fracas with his now former girlfriend and his invocation of legislative immunity,  has filed an ethics complaint against three members of the state Senate Ethics Committee, which is currently set to hold hearings on Bundgaard in October.

This, according to Democratic Senator David Schapira and Republican Senator Ron Gould, who is chairman of the committee. The complaint is also directed against Democratic Senator Leah Landrum Taylor.

Gould told me he had been informed of this via text from state Senate counsel and has not yet viewed the complaint. He related that as ethics committee chair he has the authority to dismiss frivolous complaints, but he's not sure if he can do that in a case involving himself.

"I'll have to give it some thought," he said. "It's definitely interesting...Every time I turn around we're standing on untrod ground."

The complaint is highly ironic given that Bundgaard's lawyer Austin Woods has been quoted as saying that his client "welcomes" the committee's inquiry into his actions.

This latest move comes just two days after Woods sent a letter to state Senate President Russell Pearce, asking that Pearce boot Gould, Taylor and Schapira off the committee, because they've supposedly said mean things about the former Majority Leader.

The local Republican blog Politico Mafioso has published that letter, which you can read, here.

But the Senate President declined to come to Bundgaard's rescue, though Pearce had previously defended his wayward political son, infamously declaring that Bundgaard was the "victim" in the incident, which has since resulted in Bundgaard pleading nolo contendere to a misdemeanor endangerment charge and being placed in a domestic violence diversion program.

In his response letter to Woods made public yesterday, Pearce wrote:

"Pursuant to Rule 5, Senate Ethics Committee Rules of Procedure (Rules), an ethics complaint must be in writing, signed by the person filing the complaint, notarized and filed with the Chairman of the Senate Ethics Committee. In addition, the complaint must contain a statement of fact within the personal knowledge of the complainant describing the alleged unethical conduct, the law or Senate Ethics rule that is alleged to have been violated and all documentation alleged to support the complaint.

"The letter I received from your office did not satisfy the Rule 5 requirements, and as such does not qualify as an ethics complaint. For that reason, I am not compelled by the Rules to remove any of the members of the Senate Ethics Committee. Your letter also contains some misunderstandings of the law and Rules: many of your legal citations relate to the Judiciary and not to the Senate Ethics Committee. Since the complaint was not properly filed, those errors are rendered moot in this instance."

Of course, Bundgaard's legal beagle didn't really expect papi Pearce to step in. See, not only was the complaint letter not properly filed, as Pearce points out. It was also leaked to the media before some members of the ethics committee caught a look at it.

Gould told me he learned of Woods' Monday letter from a reporter.

"Rose & Allyn sent it out in a press release," Gould told me, adding, "[A reporter from KTAR] called me about 8:30 [Monday night]. I'm in Parker on my way down to my session house in Phoenix...I said I can't really comment on the letter because I haven't seen it, but he forwarded me a copy."

Gould called the complaints in the letter "silly," and noted that the state statute cited therein refers to superior court -- specifically seeking a change of judge in a civil action. He also noted that it was strange that Bundgaard utilized a PR firm to publicize the letter.

"That is odd that you'd have a PR company put out a press release [on this matter]," he told me.

Well, not if you're Bundgaard, and your BFF is local spinmeister Jason Rose. What better way to invalidate the work of the ethics committee before it has even begun hearings than by floating the notion that the committee's out to get Bundgaard? 

BTW, I've e-mailed everyone at Rose, Moser and Allyn asking for a comment, or a confirmation or denial. I also called Rose and Woods. So far, no response.

If Rose, Bundgaard, Bundgaard's lawyer or anyone else, really thinks they can salvage the former state Senate Majority Leader's reputation and political career through these sorts of shenanigans, I'll have a puff of what they're tokin'. 

Bundgaard can only mitigate this mess by resigning and fading into obscurity. Otherwise, he will continue to bathe in the contempt that the public, his colleagues and the press correctly have for him.

UPDATE 9/22/11: State Senator Russell Pearce issued the following statement today about the matter.

"Today I received a letter from the Senate Rules Attorney (attached), informing me that three members of the Ethics Committee were recusing themselves from the Committee while the panel considers an ethics complaint filed against the three on September 20, 2011. The letter also explains that under Senate Ethics Committee Rule 17, as President of the Senate, I have no choice: I am required to temporarily replace the three members.

"Therefore, I am announcing the appointments of Senator Linda Gray, Senator Robert Meza and Senator Jack Jackson, Jr. to the Senate Ethics Committee. Committee member Senator Andy Biggs will serve as Ethics Committee Chair while the three members are temporarily replaced. Senator Biggs is leaving early Friday morning for a commitment at Harvard University. When he returns on Monday he will meet with staff attorneys on this matter."



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32 comments
Wake up Arizona!
Wake up Arizona!

He epitomizes what's wrong with Pearce and the legislature. It's all about money and power, while the rest of the people lose. It's time to take away their power. Get Money Out

http://www.getmoneyout.com/It's Time to GET MONEY OUT of politicsBailouts. War. Unemployment. Our government is bought, and we’re angry. Now, we’re turning our anger into positive action. By signing this petition, you are joining our campaign to get money out of politics. Our politicians won’t do this. But we will. We will become an unrelenting, organized wave advocating a Constitutional amendment to get money out of politics.

Tommy Collins
Tommy Collins

I guess any of the original committee members can filibuster the process until which time the original three who have recused can be reinstated.

When it comes to sleaze, pearce is unparalleled.

Sonoran Alliance
Sonoran Alliance

Jason Rose has nothing to do with the case or complaint letter.

Gerry_C
Gerry_C

"If Rose, Bundgaard, Bundgaard's lawyer or anyone else, really thinks they can salvage the former state Senate Majority Leader's reputation and political career through these sorts of shenanigans, I'll have a puff of what they're tokin'."

But, this is after all... Arizona.

Not surprised
Not surprised

Bundgaard's pulled one right out of Arpaio/Thomas' playbook.  File something or open an investigation against your politic opponents so you "conflict" and basically tie their hands, and of course, play it all out in the press.  Give me a break, using a PR firm, really?  LOL!

It's not going to work though Scotty.  All the more reason for the ethics to review your behavior and actions.  Even if this ethics investigation doesn't result in Bundgaard being expelled, he'll be voted out next election.

Domestic violence not only violate senate ethics rules, it violates the public's ethics.

Tommy Collins
Tommy Collins

Interesting, indeed. Bundgaard is following direction from the pearce letter. pearce gave him direction on what needs to be done so pearce can remove the three from the Ethics Committee, loosely based on previously stated biases.

I am expecting pearce to act immediately on this 'ethics complaint' and suspend the hearing until the three accused members are removed.

I was curious how pearce was going to spin this to make it work for Bundgaard. I think the handwriting is now on the wall for all to see.

Just another chuck of dirt by pearce and Bundgaard.

Arizona State Senators should be VERY angry about this, regardless of party affiliation.

Imagine how Gould, Schapira, and Taylor must feel about Bundgaard trying to spin this back on them.

Coz
Coz

I firmly believe the politicians in this State are retarded, seriously retarded and need some very serious mental help.

What else could explain all the antic's these retards pull.

shadeaux14
shadeaux14

Here comes another episode of "As the Conservative Spins"

Royalphoenix2
Royalphoenix2

Let me understand..You may of had to much to drink and then drive. While driving you get into an argument/fight w/your girlfriend. You pull to the side of the 51, at night, to continue fighting. The cops are going to haul you off to the pokey, and you cry legislative immunity while your girlfriend gets cuffed and hauled away. You were convicted of thievery from a past employer. Mr. Bundgaard you sir are a cry baby. peace 

Jason
Jason

I'm actually surprised by Pearce's response to Bungholio's lawyer regarding the Senate ethics hearing.

Given that Pearce himself has no ethics and is running a sleazy campaign to retain his seat at the state Capitol, I'm going to go out on a limb here and actually agree with Pearce. Bundgaard needs to face the same music as Pearce, no doubt, and soon he will...

Rob
Rob

I would have to believe that by filing an ethics complaint on his fellow Senators, he's going to open a can of worms that will come back to bite him.  Any disciplinary action - including expulsion - that the Committee may come to, will need to be voted on by the full Senate.  None are happy about having to deal with one of their own in a situation like this and would prefer to put it to rest sooner rather than later.

By filing complaints against 3 fellow Senators - including a fellow R - it won't serve to endear him with any others.  Others that, will ultimately, decide his political future when they cast their votes.

Also, Mary Jo Pitzl on last night's Horizon, mentioned that Pearce took some shots at the Ethics Committee at the same time he issued his denial to Bundgaard's request.  Do you have any further information on this?

Jason
Jason

But what about Pearce's good buddy, the Flaccid Fool of MCSO?

"When it comes to sleaze, Pearce is unparalleled."

Tommy Collins
Tommy Collins

Wow, Sonoran Compliance has spoken. Now we know the Republican truth and we can simply ignore factual information and spew mush incessantly, as they do...

StephenLemons
StephenLemons

If he or any of his several colleagues at his firm would simply return the call or the e-mail, Shane, I'd be happy to update with that info. Are you empowered to speak for Rose? Did anyone at Rose's firm send out the complaint letter to members of the press? Did they do a press release, as Gould indicated? Are you saying that Rose is in no shape or form assisting Bundgaard with PR? I'm willing to set the record straight, or at least let him tell his side of it. Feel free to have Rose call me at 818-426-2159.

ExpertShot
ExpertShot

Bunghole's failure will have nothing to do with ethics violations, the only thing that matters here to the good ol boys who control the legislature is that he got beat up by a girl.  No amount of throwing shit at the other monkeys in the cage will get ride of that special stink that any red-blooded American "man" can't stomach - getting beat up by a girl.  Most of the republicans have this special affinity for sexist treatment of women.

Rob
Rob

Looks like you called it Tommy.

Mistalee
Mistalee

Really, Arizona politics is like "Idiocracy, the sequel." Bundgaard filed an ethics complaint against these ethics committee members because they allegedly spoke ill of him at some point. So the legal theory underlying the complaint  is that it is unethical to speak ill of Scott Bundgaard.

I must at this point behave unethically myself and point out that Bundgaard is a clueless and repellent putz. He is also on shaky ground criticizing the ethics of otherst.

Jason
Jason

Nothing, except for complete and utter corruption.

Rob
Rob

But Royal, you're forgetting.....she pulled a gun on him.

Wasn't that in version 2?

Ssmhnb
Ssmhnb

Pearce had no choice but to answer it the way he did due to the recall race an the latest on his connections to running a schill candidate.  Had he not been in this recall election, you could be 100 percent assured he would be standing along side if Bundagard and sweeping this under the carpet.

StephenLemons
StephenLemons

Yes, the last graph of the Pearce letter states:

"I like you want a fair process. As with everyone, Senator Bundgaard deserves a process that is fair and impartial. I am concerned about the precedence of an investigation into misdemeanor charges and the fact the judicial system has adjudicated this matter already. However, at this time, my expectation is that the members of the Senate Ethics Committee will conduct their duties responsibly and impartially."

Tommy Collins
Tommy Collins

Jason, since they are apparently twin sisters of another mother I guess we can say they have equal sleazability... you caught me on that one.. :-)

Tommy Collins
Tommy Collins

You make a point, but women can be very tough when they are being beat upon. I think perhaps in this case a woman put the beat down on a pussy. Just a thought...

Tommy Collins
Tommy Collins

Yep. He played it like a church organ...

This gave him the choice to meet with each potential new member and give them instructions on how he thinks they need to act to guide the committee to a finding of no violations of ethics.

Anon
Anon

Ssmhnb, Well said.

Jason
Jason

You're right. Pearce had originally supported Bungholio, even going so far as naming him a "victim."

I think Bungholio should just be booted. It saves the taxpayers money.

Anon
Anon

If Bungaard or Pearce were men of character, they would both resign.

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