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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Tucson Rep. Patterson: Ethics report ‘garbage’

Arizona state Rep. Daniel Patterson doesn’t mince words when asked about the ongoing investigation into his alleged ethics violations.

“A lot of what’s in that report is complete garbage,” he said.

The report, which was released on Friday, calls for Patterson’s immediate expulsion from the Arizona House of Representatives. The ethics complaint originally stemmed from allegations of domestic abuse — allegations that Patterson still faces — but the report goes beyond those charges, alleging that Patterson’s behavior was, at best, unprofessional and, at worst, unethical. The report also alleges that Patterson routinely uses marijuana, has implicitly offered to trade his vote for sexual favors and that he tampered with the alleged victim in his domestic violence case.

Patterson said the committee investigating him had gone on a “fishing expedition” to drum up new charges when the accuser in his domestic violence complaint recanted her claims in a Facebook post last week. He also said the report was a political document that was made with a predetermined outcome already in mind.

The report relies heavily on anonymous sources, ostensibly to protect claimants from retribution. But Patterson said he’s heard from “plenty” of lobbyists, staffers and other legislators who say they were never interviewed for the report.

“You can get a report to say anything you want if all you do is talk to people who have a grudge,” he said.

In response to parts of the report that allege Patterson is routinely combative, verbally abuses or belittles those who disagree with him, Patterson admitted that sometimes legislative discussions can get tense.

“I’m not perfect and definitely some things have happened where the argument has gotten heated,” he said. “But a heated argument is not illegal and it’s not unethical.”

Though he said he never tries to offend anyone, Patterson views “bad blood” as a necessary byproduct of being a legislator.
“In politics, if you’re effective, there are going to be some people who don’t like you,” he said.

Despite the ongoing investigation, Patterson said he doesn’t think he will be unable to work with his fellow legislators for the rest of his term. He is, however, “probably” not going to run for reelection this year because of his “real level of disgust for how the house is being run.”

In fact, Patterson views this entire investigation as an indictment on the hyper-partisan state of Arizona politics, and said house Democrats have “an axe to grind” with him after he switched his party affiliation from Democrat to Independent.

The Democrats tried twice to force a house vote on whether to expel Patterson on Tuesday, but Republicans blocked it both times.

“I think the Democrats failed at the capitol for the same reason they always fail: their leadership is incompetent,” Patterson scoffed. “But I was happy at least some members in the house believe in due process.”

Patterson was also steadfast in his refusal to resign from the house.

“If people don’t like me, well, they’re entitled not to like me,” he said. “But they’re not able to go on some sort of personal jihad to get me thrown out of the Legislature.”

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