Facing possible expulsion, Democratic Rep. Leezah Sun resigns from Arizona House

Jan 31, 2024, 1:53 PM | Updated: 3:28 pm

Split image with a headshot of Arizona state Rep. Leezah Sun on the left and a sign that says House...

Democratic Rep. Leezah Sun resigned from the Arizona House of Representatives on Jan. 31, 2024. (Arizona Legislature and KTAR News Photos)

(Arizona Legislature and KTAR News Photos)

PHOENIX – Facing possible expulsion, state Rep. Leezah Sun resigned from the Arizona Legislature on Wednesday afternoon, House Democratic leaders announced.

The first-term West Valley lawmaker stepped aside a day after the Arizona House Ethics Committee released findings that she violated chamber rules by engaging “in a pattern of inappropriate behavior.”

“Our Democratic leadership team is grateful to the Ethics Committee for its diligent, intensive and transparent work on this report, and to the witnesses who came forward to share their stories under incredibly difficult circumstances,” House Democratic leadership said in a statement. “The facts are overwhelmingly clear and speak for themselves. Representative Sun engaged in a pattern of disorderly behavior that damaged the reputation of the House.”

The Ethics Committee launched an investigation into allegations against Sun after House Minority Leader Lupe Contreras, Sun’s seatmate in District 22, submitted a formal ethics complaint against her on Nov. 2.

The investigation, which included two evidentiary hearings with witness testimony, found that Sun “engaged in a pattern of inappropriate behavior in her official capacity and under the color of her office as a state representative,” violating House Rule 1, according to a 12-page committee report issued Tuesday.

The report says the full House should determine how to discipline Sun. The most severe possible action is expulsion, which would require a two-thirds vote (40 of 60 members). It never came to that, as Sun resigned shortly before the start of Wednesday’s House session.

“This is a solemn day, but Representative Sun did what’s best for our state and for the integrity of this body,” House Democratic leadership said.

What were the allegations against Democratic Rep. Leezah Sun?

The Ethics Committee investigated three allegations against Sun, including that she threatened to throw a Tolleson city official off a balcony.

She was also accused of using her position as a legislator to meddle in a child custody matter that didn’t involve her and to threaten retaliation after a dispute with a West Valley school district superintendent.

The investigation determined that all three accusations were credible, according to the committee’s report.

Who was the last Arizona lawmaker expelled from House?

Sun is the second member of the 56th Legislature to leave office after an ethics investigation.

In April 2023, the House voted to expel Republican Rep. Liz Harris for letting a witness make wide-ranging accusations of bribery during a February hearing about election reforms.

The full chamber vote to remove Harris was held April 12, a day after the Ethics Committee released a report saying she damaged “the integrity of the House” through her actions.

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Facing possible expulsion, Democratic Rep. Leezah Sun resigns from Arizona House