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House Ethics Committee calls for independent investigation of Patterson

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PHOENIX – The House Ethics Committee is recommending that a special investigator look into allegations against Rep. Daniel Patterson, D-Tucson.

The panel also decided Tuesday to give Patterson two weeks to respond to an ethics complaint rather than the four weeks he had requested.

Patterson faces four misdemeanor counts of domestic violence stemming from alleged altercations with a former girlfriend. The woman received an order of protection against the lawmaker.

Rep. Katie Hobbs, D-Phoenix, filed the complaint, signed by many other House Democrats, after Patterson refused to heed calls from Democratic leaders that he resign. It noted the current allegations against Patterson as well the fact that his ex-wife had obtained an order of protection.

Rep. Ted Vogt, R-Tucson, chairman of the House Ethics Committee, said he was confident that House Speaker Andy Tobin, R-Paulden, would follow the committee’s recommendation.

“There are some serious allegations,” Vogt said. “The complaint that was received was also signed by a significant number of members from the House. It warrants investigation.”

The committee also set a deadline of March 28 for the investigator to return with findings as well as for Patterson to respond to the charges.

After reading the findings and Patterson’s response, Vogt said, the committee will decide the next step forward.

“Once we’ve gotten both his response and the complaint, the committee’s going to take a look at that and see if there needs to be any further meetings or any further time granted,” he said.

After the meeting, Patterson said in a statement, “Any further investigation, if approved by Speaker Tobin, should not be rushed and must stay within the specific claims made in the Feb. 27 complaint.”

Patterson’s first response was a letter sent to Vogt and the other House Ethics Committee members Monday contesting the allegations and requesting 30 days to respond. The committee decided Tuesday 30 days was excessive, since it had already been nearly two weeks since the complaint was filed.

In his letter of response, Patterson didn’t address the specific charges but contested the overall complaint.

“I am confident I will prevail and my name will be cleared in a court of law,” the letter said.