Major development in Stringer saga as ethics chairman could face removal

OPINION

State Rep. T.J. Shope, R-Coolidge, rules committee chair

PHOENIX — The Arizona Capitol is looking more and more like the swamp these days,  with efforts to drive State Rep. David Stringer from the House ramping up.

House Rules Committee Chair T.J. Shope, R-Coolidge, declared Stringer, R-Prescott, unfit for office, saying that he should not be in the State House.

“I don’t think he deserves to be there,” Shope said in a December news story in the Arizona Capitol Times.  Shope reached that conclusion  before hearing any evidence or conducting any investigation. Bringing such a public bias onto the ethics committee places into doubt everything the committee has done so far in trying to pry confidential and private information from Stringer.

Shope has violated the code of ethics expected of a chairman by publicly speaking on the matter.

Shope has publicly said that Stringer is not entitled to due process because he considered the process to be political rather than judicial. The two complaints filed against Stringer were definitely politically motivated.

Capitol observers are waiting to see what Speaker Bowers, R-Mesa, will do. While he does not sit on the committee and is unlikely to involve himself in how the committee conducts its business, it is entirely up to Bowers to make committee assignments, and it is believed that he will not leave Shope in place, with this news now breaking.

Wednesday could be a pivotal day as committee members are insisting that Stringer turn over a document that was sealed by the Arizona State Supreme Court.

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