Kade Garner

Wednesday, Jan. 31, 2018

Arizona Rep. Don Shooter faces disciplinary action over sexual harassment

PHOENIX – A nearly-two-month investigation into allegations against Arizona Rep. Don Shooter concluded that the Yuma Republican had “created a hostile working environment for his colleagues and those with business before the Legislature.”

“I believe what is proportionate to this situation is stripping him of his committees, (he) has no responsibility on Appropriations, certainly not as chairman, but not even as a member, not on the others, and a formal censure,” House Speaker J.D. Mesnard said Wednesday.

Phoenix attorney Craig Morgan, who headed the investigation with a team from the law firm Sherman and Howard, concluded that Shooter’s conduct violated the House of Representatives’ policy against sexual harassment.

Shooter had asked Mesnard to initiate the investigation after several women accused him of improper conduct. In a statement, Shooter wrote, “This has been a humbling and eye-opening experience for me. I look forward to working to repair relationships and serving my constituents and our great state.”

Morgan credited the House for how it handled the situation, saying “The House, from my point of view, did an amazing job at putting together a team of individuals to look at these allegations as soon as they were made aware of them, and to make the determination that it made sense to have an outside-independent group look at what occurred, and make the determination whether the policy has been violated.”

Both Mesnard and Morgan said the House appropriately responded to the allegations.

However, Mesnard said the House may change the way it handles such investigations in the future.

“We need to incorporate a behavioral code-of-conduct type of issue into our ethics committee, into the House rules, and we will be doing that,” said Mesnard, who represents Gilbert, Chandler and Sun Lakes.