Payson lawmaker files ethics complaint against Mesa's Crandall - East Valley Tribune: East Valley Local News

Payson lawmaker files ethics complaint against Mesa's Crandall

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Posted: Monday, July 23, 2012 8:26 pm | Updated: 9:05 am, Fri Jul 27, 2012.

Following through on her threat, a Payson Republican lawmaker has filed an ethics complaint against Mesa Republican Sen. Rich Crandall.

Rep. Brenda Barton says Crandall acted improperly in the way he reacted to news that she had photographed one of Crandall's daughters and another person taking down a campaign sign of Rep. John Fillmore, R-Apache Junction. Fillmore and Crandall are running for the same Senate seat in next month's primary.

Barton is specifically miffed that Crandall, in a phone message, said he would use his position as chair of the Senate Education Committee to kill any of her bills that came to his panel. She said his message was intended to "intimidate, disparage and speaking down to me, shouting, 'You need to grow up.’”

Crandall has not denied the content of the message but said it was in response to someone posting the photos of his daughter with disparaging comments on the Internet. Those postings, he said, resulted in nasty messages to her.

But it remains unclear if the complaint will go anywhere.

Committee rules require it to first be reviewed by the chairman. But Sen. Ron Gould, R-Lake Havasu City, said he is staying out of the fray because Fillmore endorsed his bid for Congress.

And Gould said Sen. Andy Biggs, R-Gilbert, also may step aside because Biggs endorsed Fillmore.

That leaves Senate President Steve Pierce to fill the vacancies. And he said he wants to "get the issue behind us.”

But Pierce said Monday he is having some trouble doing that.

"We have some people that can't do it, some people that wouldn't do it, some people who are running for office,” he said. But he promised to "get somebody to take care of it.”

Senate Minority Leader David Schapira, D-Tempe, one of two Democrats on the five-member panel, said he's not sure the committee should pursue it.

"The ethics process, frankly, wasn't created to settle political disputes or election year bickering, which is what this sounds like,” he said. "I wish these Republican candidates could settle this outside the Capitol.”

Senate staff attorney Stacy Weltsch said a copy of the complaint was delivered to Crandall's office on Monday. That gives him seven days to file a formal response.

Weltsch said the committee chairman can unilaterally decide to dismiss the complaint without a hearing. But she said that can be overruled by two or more members of the panel.

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