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Democratic AZ senator files ethics complaint against 'fake electors'

Democratic state Sen. Brian Fernandez filed an ethics complaint against Republican Sens. Jake Hoffman and Anthony Kern, two of the so-called fake electors indicted by an Arizona grand jury.

Fernandez asked Senate President Warren Petersen (R-Gilbert) last month to temporarily remove Hoffman and Kern from the legislative committees they chair, pending the outcome of the fake elector criminal case.

“I think it’s really important for us to just take a step back and let the process happen,” Fernandez said after making that request. “They’ll still be senators and if they’re proven innocent, I think that they should be reinstated.”  

But Petersen rejected that request, saying Hoffman and Kern have not been convicted of any crime and deserve due process.

In the complaint sent to Ethics Committee chairman Sen. David Farnsworth (R-Mesa), Fernandez said an ethics hearing would give Hoffman and Kern that due process.

“This is an opportunity for the President, the majority and you, Senator Farnsworth, as the Chair of the Ethics Committee, to provide that due process by having an ethics investigation to provide advance notice of a hearing to consider how Senators Hoffman and Kern's wrongdoing and alleged criminal acts violated the public's trust of this institution and adversely reflected this institution, before any reprimand or removal from their committees,” Fernandez wrote.

Farnsworth confirmed he received the complaint but did not say whether he plans to convene a committee hearing. 

“My office has received the 18 page ethics complaint, and I am thoroughly reviewing it with the Ethics Committee’s legal counsel at this time,” he said. 

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Wayne Schutsky is a broadcast field correspondent covering Arizona politics on KJZZ. He has over a decade of experience as a journalist reporting on local communities in Arizona and the state Capitol.