Ethics complaint targeting Arizona legislator is dismissed

December 7, 2017

PHOENIX (AP) — The Arizona House Ethics Committee’s chairman has dismissed a complaint accusing House Minority Leader Rebecca Rios of having a relationship with a former House staffer.

Rep. Ray Martinez’s complaint against Rios appeared to be based on a political dispute, apparently was not based on firsthand knowledge of the alleged relationship and did not allege conduct that violated House rules and policies on “disorderly behavior” or state law, Rep. Eddie Farnsworth said Wednesday.

“Further investigation and a hearing is not warranted and the matter is closed,” Farnsworth, R-Gilbert, wrote in letter to Martinez.

Martinez and Rios are Phoenix Democrats. Martinez is a first-term lawmaker. Rios is the top-ranking Democrat in the Republican-led House.

Martinez’s complaint also included material about Rios endorsing election candidates other than Martinez. It was among several made recently against Arizona legislators that alleged sexual misconduct.

The complaints were filed in the wake of national attention to allegations of sexual misconduct in politics, entertainment and other parts of society.

Rios’ attorney, Gary Wulkan, said Farnsworth’s decision confirmed that the complaint against Rios was baseless.

Rios “looks forward to continuing her work, advocating for children’s access to health care and education, without the distraction of meritless political attacks,” Wulkan said.

Martinez did not immediately respond to a request emailed Thursday by The Associated Press for comment. He told The Arizona Republic Wednesday evening that he had not seen Farnsworth’s letter and declined further comment.

Update hourly