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Arizona Democrat files ethics complaint against indicted senators

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(The Center Square) – Arizona Sen. Brian Fernandez, D-Yuma, is taking a different route in attempting to get two indicted senators removed from their committee assignments for the time being.

Fernandez filed an ethics complaint on Monday against his Republican colleagues, Sens. Jake Hoffman and Anthony Kern, who are indicted on fraud, forgery, and conspiracy charges for seeking to be “fake electors” in the 2020 election for former President Donald Trump, who narrowly lost the state. The Democrat sent a letter to Senate President Warren Petersen in April asking for their removal.

“I agree with the Senate President that every American has the right to due diligence, but we owe Arizona the piece of mind to know that indicted members of this body cannot further weaponize the offices that they hold,” Fernandez said in a statement. “I have filed this ethics complaint asking that the Committee temporarily remove both Senators Kern and Hoffman from all committee assignments until they are proven innocent or convicted.”

The complaint itself, which was written to Senate Ethics Committee Chairman David Farnsworth, said that the senators could be penalized for “disorderly conduct.”

His complaint comes after his original request for the senators, who are both members of the Arizona Freedom Caucus, was turned down by Petersen.

However, the Republican said that an ethics committee decision could be a tipping point when he responded to Fernandez originally, The Center Square reported.

“Not one of our members has been convicted of any crimes, nor any ethics violations, prompting the necessity of any punishment,” Petersen said in a statement on April 25. “I believe in upholding the Constitution, and I believe in the rule of law, and that means I will not infringe on anyone’s fundamental right to a fair and impartial trial or hearing. There must be a conviction from a court of law or recommendation from the Senate Ethics Committee before taking any rash action.”

Kern is the chairman of the Judiciary committee and a member of the Government and Transportation, Technology and Missing Children committees. Hoffman is the chairman of two committees – Government and Director Nominations. He is also the vice chairman of the Appropriations committee and a member of the Transportation, Technology and Missing Children committee.

The senators are two of 18 defendants in the case being prosecuted by the state of Arizona. Every defendant, including those who were first redacted in the indictment like former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, is being charged with nine counts. Attorney General Kris Mayes released the unredacted copy of the indictment on Monday.

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