Representative Daniel Patterson (D-Tuscon) is the subject of an ethics committee complaint following allegations of domestic violence involving the woman he had been living with. He has denied any wrongdoing. But House Speaker Andrew Tobin said he believes having Patterson serving on the panels while the inquiry proceeds is not good for the House.
"My view," said Tobin, "is he's a bigger distraction than all the other members who also have constituents. And this is not the first time he has been suspended from a meeting."
That 2010 incident came as Patterson was questioning Senate President Russell Pearce about one of the senator's measures aimed at curbing illegal immigration. When Pearce talked about the number of people who have been killed in the border area, Patterson responded, "I can assume you don't have the answers, or just make them up."
That resulted from his ouster from that committee. Patterson did not know about the new suspension until contacted by Arizona Public Radio. And he bristled at losing those assignments without the ethics committee even reviewing the charges. But Tobin was unapologetic and stood his ground, pointing out that Patterson has yet to respond to the complaint.
"So if he's not responded to the Ethics Committee, he shouldn't be surprised that he's suspended from committee work while the process finds its way through the process," said Speaker Tobin.
The Ethics Committee meets Tuesday to decide how to proceed with its investigation.