Jan 26, 2024 - News

House Ethics Committee concludes hearings on Leezah Sun complaint

A woman seated at a table with a microphone with two people sitting at an adjacent table.

From left, Rep. Leezah Sun, attorney Josh Grabel and lobbyist Liz Goodman sit through a House Ethics Committee hearing yesterday. Photo: Jeremy Duda/Axios

Arizona's House Ethics Committee wrapped its investigation of Rep. Leezah Sun and expects to release its findings within 10 days.

Why it matters: If the committee finds that she violated House rules against "disorderly behavior," the chamber could move to expel her, which requires a two-thirds vote.

Context: House Democratic leaders filed an ethics complaint against Sun over allegations that she harassed and threatened officials from Tolleson and interfered in the court-ordered removal of a child from a parent's custody.

  • The committee held its initial hearing in December, where numerous witnesses testified about their interactions with Sun, who denies the allegations.

Driving the news: The committee held the second hearing Thursday to hear testimony from two additional witnesses who say they heard Sun threaten to kill Tolleson lobbyist Pilar Sinawi during a conference in Tucson last year.

  • Lobbyists Liz Goodman and Destiny Ruiz said they were speaking with Sun at the JW Marriott Tucson Starr Pass Resort and Spa, when the first-term lawmaker said if she saw Sinawi at the conference she would "b---h- slap" her and throw her off a balcony "to kill her."
  • Both lobbyists said Sun's comments seemed serious and not made in jest, and that they quickly ended the conversation because it made them uncomfortable.

The other side: Sun acknowledged saying she'd slap Sinawi but denied threatening to throw her off a balcony, noting also that the Tolleson official wasn't there and disputing whether the ledge inside the hotel lobby constituted a balcony, as Goodman described the estimated 20-foot drop.

Rep. Joseph Chaplik, the Scottsdale Republican who chairs the committee, cut off Sun's testimony multiple times when she asked questions deemed unrelated to the accusations against her, and he cut off her closing statements after multiple warnings about personal attacks against witnesses.

Zoom in: Democrats and Republicans found common ground this week on the so-called Taylor Swift bills that would ban the use of bots to buy tickets for concerts and other events and would target the secondhand ticket market by restricting people's ability to buy popular tickets before the general public.

Meanwhile, on a party-line 4-3 vote, with Democrats opposing, Republicans on the Senate Education Committee OK'd legislation to eliminate nonpartisan school races and make candidates run in partisan primaries.

And the Senate Committee on Transportation, Technology and Missing Children rejected a proposed ballot measure that would ask voters to ban red-light cameras.

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