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Report: Patterson should be expelled from House

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Report: Patterson should be expelled from House

House Ethics Committee investigators recommended Monday that state Rep. Daniel Patterson be expelled from the Legislature.

A report said the Tucson Democrat verbally abuses his staff and colleagues, has threatened physical assault, likely tampered with a witness, and sought to trade sexual favors for votes.

Patterson did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Earlier Monday, he announced on Twitter that he was leaving the Democratic Party.

"The deep distrust, concern for, and fear of Rep. Patterson is bipartisan, bicameral (and)... broad," the report said.

"We reluctantly recommend that, in light of his extraordinary and very predictable pattern of disorderly, indecorous, and deceptive behavior, coupled with the ineffectiveness of earlier counseling, reprimand, and discipline, Rep. Patterson should be expelled from the House," investigators wrote in the 33-page report.

House Minority Leader Chad Campbell called Monday afternoon for Patterson to step down.

"The behavior highlighted in the investigative report is both reprehensible and intolerable. If he does not resign now, we need to vote to remove him immediately," Campbell said in a news release.

The report describes a series of confrontations with other legislators, from both parties. Investigators, led by attorneys from the Stinson Morrison Hecker firm, said "many witnesses were afraid to speak with us due to concerns over possible physical, verbal, or other retaliation by Rep. Patterson."

The investigators allowed some mentioned in the report to remain anonymous due to their fear of retalation, they said.

Patterson told investigators that "his style of debate differed" from other legislators, and denied threatening his colleagues.

"Rep. Patterson's indecorous, inappropriate, deceptive, and threatening misconduct, coupled with his reputation as physically abusive and combative, is far beyond what might be expected in the adversarial atmosphere of a legislature. Indeed, some of his colleagues so fear for their personal safety, they have taken actions such as securing a weapon and requesting additional security measures at the Capitol," the report said.

The report lists a series of improper behavior toward lobbyists, including an anonymous allegation that "Rep. Patterson indicated that he would trade his vote on a bill for sex."

Patterson denied doing so, the report said.

The investigation was sparked by domestic violence allegations made by his ex-girlfriend/campaign manager. Those accusations that were later recanted, but not before every other member of the Democratic House caucus, except those on the Ethics Committee, signed a letter asking for the probe.

The Ethics report said Patterson "likely managed to successfully manipulate, force, forge, or otherwise improperly influence" Escobar into taking back her accusation. 

Patterson declined to discuss Escobar's recantation with investigators, citing a pending court case over the domestic violence allegations, the report said.

While Patterson refused to discuss marijuana use with investigators, they noted he has admitted to staff that he uses the drug.

"His refusal to acknowledge whether he frequently uses marijuana while readily denying the use of other illegal substances raises a strong inference that he, in fact, frequently uses marijuana — another in a long line of poor decisions that surely affect his ability to be an effective legislator," the report said.

While he refused to meet for a personal interview with investigators, Patterson spoke with them for about 75 minutes via telephone, they said. Patterson's two attorneys in domestic violence cases involving Escobar and his ex-wife were also on the call, the report said.

On March 12, the Democratic Committee in Patterson's district, LD 29, called on him to resign for "lack of decorum and professionalism."

Patterson had said the allegations that he struck and pushed Georgette Escobar were "blackmail."

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