Lawmaker responds to ethics investigation, admits pot smoking

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By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman

PHOENIX -- A shocking admission Tuesday from an Arizona state lawmaker already facing an ethics investigation.

Not only did Rep. Daniel Patterson, Independent-Tucson, admit to smoking pot, he's not backing down from fellow lawmakers who say he needs to go.

Rep. Patterson calls the ethics investigation flawed. “There are a lot of things I can and say are false and other things that are not substantiated," said Patterson.

Democratic-turned-independent state representative Daniel Patterson is under investigation by the house ethics committee for allegedly ignoring house rules, verbally abusing and harassing people at the Capitol, possibly violating court orders as well as offering to trade sex for votes.

Patterson denies almost everything in the investigative report, except smoking pot.

“If I occasionally use cannabis like millions of others in this state, that's my own personal business,” said Rep. Patterson. “It has nothing to do with my conduct at the house, I never used it around the house or before I came in, I would never do that.”

It's another revelation in this six week long saga that has many lawmakers at the Capitol frustrated.

“We're just costing the taxpayers time and money we should be concentrating on the budget and creating jobs,” said Minority Leader Chad Campbell.

But much of today's attention was paid to Rep. Patterson and the House ethics report that he says is flawed.

“It's anonymous, it is rumor, it is innuendo and people not under oath,” said Patterson, asking for an ethics hearing and the chance to cross examine his accusers. “It's clear I have not had due process.”

Civil Rights leader Rev. Jarrett Maupin says it’s because he is white. “If he was anything but white, if he was in a wheelchair, they wouldn't do this to him but he represents an unprotected class in our society,” said Maupin.

Rep. Patterson said he will not resign and it's his job to protect the constituents who elected him.

“There are politicians and lobbyists at the Capitol who wish to get rid of me but they are not voters and a rush to try to expel a legislator would be a huge disrespect and a dangerous precedent for the rights of voters.”

The House Ethics Committee is in recess while weighing the 19 page response filed by Rep. Patterson to the investigation.

Patterson has asked that he be given a full hearing on the matter in front of the ethics committee before it sends any recommendation to the full House.