The House Ethics Committee took the first steps this afternoon in its investigation of Daniel Patterson.
Representative Daniel Patterson (D-Tucson) is accused by colleagues of acting unethically, the result of charges of domestic violence filed against him in connection with a woman with whom he was living. In a letter to the committee, Patterson said he vigorously contests the allegations but wanted another 30 days to formally respond. The panel voted to give him about half that much, pointing out it's been two weeks since the complaint was filed. But committee members also voted to ask House Speaker Andy Tobin (R-Dewey) to give them money to hire an independent investigator who also would file an initial report at the same time. Representative Ted Vogt (R-Tucson), who chairs the panel, said he does not want the inquiry to drag on forever.
"I think we're looking for a speedy resolution one way or the other," said Vogt. "Some of it will be in the hands of Mr. Patterson in terms of if he wishes to make a supplemental filing with the committee. He can do so on whatever his time frame is. But we are looking for something within two weeks."
At that point the committee will review the investigator's findings and Patterson's response and decide if it's necessary to proceed with full-blown hearings. That would involve calling witnesses, with Patterson entitled to hire his own attorney -- at his own expense.