PHOENIX - An Arizona lawmaker who has been accused of making inappropriate sexual comments or actions by several women has been suspended from his role leading a major committee.
Republican House Speaker J.D. Mesnard suspended Rep. Don Shooter from his role as chairman of the appropriations committee. That's one of the most powerful posts in the House outside of majority GOP leadership.
Friday's actions came as the publisher of Arizona's largest newspaper joined a growing list of women who say Shooter subjected them to inappropriate sexual comments or actions.
Mesnard released the following statement: "I have suspended Representative Shooter's responsibilities as chairman of the House Appropriations Committee pending the results of the investigation into the allegations against him. He will not be taking any budgetary meetings, chairing hearings, or engaging in any budget discussion or any duties related to Appropriations until the investigation has concluded. Representative Shooter is entitled to - and will receive - a fair and thorough investigation into his behavior before the House determines what action is needed, but I don't believe he can properly fulfill his obligations as chairman of the House Appropriations Committee until that investigation has concluded. Additionally, due to the number and nature of the allegations against him, the House's bipartisan sexual harassment investigative team has decided to employ the use of outside investigators moving forward. I support their decision. The investigative team will reconvene on Monday to determine what next steps are appropriate in that regard and move as quickly as possible to reach a conclusion."
Governor Doug Ducey's office released the following statement in regards to Shooter's suspension:
"Governor Ducey supports this latest decision by Speaker Mesnard, as well as the bipartisan investigation of all claims of sexual harassment in the Legislature. As the governor has said, there can be no tolerance for sexual harassment."