Senate Democrats call on Bundgaard to resign

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by Frank Camacho and Jennifer Thomas

azfamily.com

Posted on March 7, 2011 at 1:27 PM

Updated Monday, Mar 7 at 6:08 PM

PHOENIX -- Angry Senate Democrats are calling on embattled Majority Leader Scott Bundgaard to resign.

On Feb. 25, Bundgaard was involved in an alleged domestic violence incident with his now ex-girlfriend.

According to Phoenix police, Bundgaard and Aubry Ballard argued while driving home after a Dancing with the Stars Arizona charity event, but they offered conflicting accounts on what else happened that night on State Route 51.

Police said both Bundgaard and Ballard had marks suggesting a physical altercation.

At the time, Bundgaard escaped going to jail by invoking legislative immunity. Ballard, however, was jailed for 17 hours. Charges against her have been dropped.

Under a provision in the state Constitution, legislators are immune from arrest in all cases expect treason, felony and breach of the peace.

The senator said he told police that he was a lawmaker, but said he did that to let them know their handling of the case would probably draw extra scrutiny and not because he wanted to avoid being arrested.

Tucson Sen. Linda Lopez called Bundgaard's actions reprehensible and called upon the Peoria Republican to step down.

Phoenix Sen. Leah Landrum has written Ethics Committee chair Sen. Ron Gould, R-Lake Havasu City, demanding that an investigation be launched.

In a statement released Monday afternoon, Bundgaard said, "I respectfully decline the request of Senate Democrats. Last week I apologized for being involved in an incident that generated criticism of our Capitol institutions and me. I reiterate my apology again today. I will clear my name as this issue works through the process, and as more information comes out. And I will do so in the face of the politics that have now been injected into this issue."

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