Jun 4, 2024 - News

Republicans face difficult timeline in possible Mayes impeachment proceedings

Photo illustration of Arizona Attorney General Kris Mayes with lines radiating from her.

Photo illustration: Maura Losch/Axios. Photo: Olivier Touron/AFP via Getty Images

It's unclear when or if impeachment proceedings against Attorney General Kris Mayes might begin, or how long they could extend an already lengthy legislative session.

The big picture: Republicans on an ad hoc House committee last week issued a report calling for the Democratic attorney general's impeachment. The committee accused Mayes of abuse of power and malfeasance in office for, among other things:

  • Legal battles over election-related matters with Cochise and Mohave county supervisors.
  • Refusing to defend a law barring transgender girls from participating in school sports.
  • Issuing a consumer warning against "crisis pregnancy centers."
  • Threatening to use public nuisance laws to stop large rural farms from depleting groundwater supplies.

Driving the news: House Speaker Ben Toma (R-Glendale) sent a letter to Mayes on Monday requesting documents that the committee seeks by June 10, and he told Axios, "All options are on the table and much will depend on her reply."

  • Toma said he supports impeachment but can't speak for everyone in his caucus.
  • Mayes' chief deputy, Dan Barr, told Axios that the office had provided thousands of pages of documents the committee requested and expected to provide the remainder by June 10, except those that are confidential under the law.

Friction point: Impeachment could be a time-consuming process, and the lawmakers are up against some hard deadlines.

  • The fiscal year ends on June 30, and lawmakers and Gov. Katie Hobbs still don't have a budget agreement.
  • The primary election is on July 30, and lawmakers could be left with little time to campaign if the session goes past June.

Why it matters: If lawmakers extend the session into the new fiscal year, as they did in 2023, it'll delay the enactment of new laws, including the repeal of Arizona's pre-Roe abortion ban.

Flashback: From the time the House speaker appointed a special counsel to the Senate's vote to convict, the 1988 impeachment of former Gov. Evan Mecham took more than five months.

The other side: Mayes called the committee's findings a "sham report" and an effort by a handful of "radical Republicans" to undermine her office.

Reality check: It takes only a simple majority to impeach, meaning it would require all 31 House Republicans to remain unified, but it's essentially guaranteed they wouldn't have the two-thirds supermajority needed to convict in the Senate because that would require at least four Democratic votes.

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