David Stringer

PHOENIX (AP/3TV/CBS 5) - Republican state Rep. David Stringer has stepped down from his position amid an investigation.

Stringer's resignation was effective at 4 p.m. on Wednesday. He faced a deadline to hand over documents to the House Ethics Committee.

“I’m grateful that the House will not be forced to take action against one of our members, and we can begin to put this matter behind us,” Republican House Speaker Rusty Bowers said in a statement announcing Stringer’s resignation.

Former state Senate president Steve Pierce said he is willing to serve the remainder of Stringer's term but won't seek re-election.

The panel was looking into complaints about his offensive comments regarding race and immigration and expunged criminal charges from the 1980s.

[PREVIOUS STORY: Embattled Arizona lawmaker can’t keep documents secret]

The ethics probe began in January after the Phoenix New Times published a copy of a case history the newspaper obtained from the Circuit Court for Baltimore City. A Maryland judicial official told the newspaper the case was expunged, and the records should not have been released.

[RELATED: AZ House ethics committee launches investigation into Rep. David Stringer's past conduct]

Stringer came under fire twice last year for comments that were widely denounced as racist, prompting Republican Gov. Doug Ducey to call for his resignation. The lawmaker had been removed from committee assignments during the probe.

[READ MORE: Rep. Stringer faces more calls to resign after blockbuster report]

Last summer, video circulated on social media of him saying “there aren’t enough white kids to go around” when discussing integration in schools. Despite a backlash, he was re-elected in November.

[RELATED: Black lawmaker says Rep. Stringer has made Legislature 'hostile place for us']

A few weeks after the election, the New Times reported that Stringer told Arizona State University students that African Americans “don’t blend in.” He also said Somali immigrants don’t look like “every other kid” as previous European immigrants do.

He apologized for his language in a speech on the House floor in January.

Stringer is the second Arizona lawmaker to lose his seat over ethics questions in just over a year. Lawmakers voted last February to expel Republican Rep. Don Shooter for a lengthy pattern of sexual misconduct.

 


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