Rep. Patterson Says Issue Isn't Over

Apr 12, 2012

Wednesday's abrupt resignation of embattled state Rep. Daniel Patterson may not be the end of the matter. 

Patterson said he quit because it became clear he was likely to be ousted. He said the entire process followed by the Ethics Committee, which had made the expulsion recommendation earlier in the day, was flawed because Chairman Ted Vogt ignored committee rules requiring he be allowed to present evidence and cross-examine witnesses. Instead Vogt allowed Patterson only to make a statement and answer questions. Patterson said that opens the door for legal action.

"I know there's constituents in my district that feel that they've been harmed," said Patterson. "And these are people who have just called me. And they could have standing to sue the state themselves. At this point it's not even up to me. I have 200,000 constituents who have been wronged by Ted Vogt and the House Ethics Committee."

But Vogt said Patterson is legally off base.

"This is a political question," Vogt responded. "The Constitution leaves the discipline for this house fully the responsibility of that House. So I do not believe the court would review this because it is a political question."

Vogt acknowledged the written committee rules are as Patterson says. But he also said lawmakers are free to amend or suspend those rules at any time -- and that is precisely what his committee did in this case.