Monday, September 12, 2011

The AZ Senate Ethics Committee To Consider Bundgaard Matter Tuesday*

* = if they achieve a quorum, and enough "yes" votes show up.  More on that in a moment.

The Senate Ethics Committee is scheduled to meet Tuesday afternoon at 1:30 p.m. in Senate Hearing Room 1 (SHR1).  They'll be considering action against Sen. Scott Bundgaard.  In February, Bundgaard was involved in a "domestic violence incident" (he assaulted his then-girlfriend by the side of a Phoenix freeway, used his status as a sitting legislator to avoid arrest at the time, and was sentenced to little more than a slap on the wrist last month.  He hit his girlfriend harder than the court hit him (metaphorically).

After the disposition of the criminal case, Sen. Steve Gallardo filed an ethics complaint against Bundgaard, and that is what the committee will consider tomorrow...if the meeting happens at all...and if enough committee members who support an ethics investigation show up...

...however, the Arizona Capitol Times is reporting (subscription required) that Senate Democratic leader David Schapira (LD17) will be out of town and cannot attend the meeting.

The committee has five members, three Republicans and two Democrats.  The committee chair, Republican Ron Gould, has been openly critical of Bundgaard and was expected to vote with the two Democrats to continue an ethics investigation.  Now it looks like that it will be a 2 - 2 split, at best.

Stay tuned...

...In other legislative news, Daniel Scarpinato, the press secretary/spokesman for the House Republican caucus, is taking a leave of absence from that position in order to take a similar position with the campaign of Phoenix mayor hopeful Wes Gullett. (h/t to Mary Jo Pitzl of the Arizona Republic)

This isn't Scarpinato's first foray into electoral politics - before taking the communications job with the House Republicans, he was the communications person for the Congressional campaign of former state senator Jonathan Paton.  Before that, he wrote love letters to the Republicans masquerading as news stories for the Arizona Daily Star in Tucson.

Speculation on my part:  Look for Scarpinato to move on, whether to Phoenix City Hall (if Gullett wins his race) or to another campaign after this one.  He was hired at the House by former speaker Kirk Adams, and new House speaker Andy Tobin may want his own guy in the job.

Plus, Adams is running for Congress. 

Caveat:  I'm not exactly on the speed dials of either Tobin or Scarpinato (I know, their loss :) ), so I could have a completely incorrect reading on the dynamic involved.


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