Reporter Jim Small got into a short Twitter colloquy last night with Reps. Chad Campbell and Katie Hobbs over what to do with Daniel Patterson.
Small’s question was, why skip the process and go for a quick expulsion vote?
My question too. Of course, I think Patterson should just resign. It’s become obvious, however, that his megalomania wont allow for that moment of reflection and contrition necessary for him to call it quits.
I spoke to a Democratic member yesterday and there is a genuine fear on the part of members and staff of what Patterson may pull next. There are already reports of Patterson lashing out at staff over the revelations. The member told me that the push for a quick expulsion is because of safety concerns.
I appreciate that, but I’m concerned about the precedent that a vote without an ethics hearing would set. This puts me, for probably the first time in my life, in league with Andy Tobin (I’ll shower later). There have already been instances of the rules against impugning a member being used to muzzle arguments from minority party members. The last thing we need is to set a precedent for kicking out a member by simply a vote.
There is, however, another precedent that may address safety concerns. Back in the early 80s, a member named Danny Peaches was highly abusive towards his staff. Leadership was in a bind, since there were actually no rules that prohibited such behavior towards staff in those days. They got a legal finding that said that a member is not entitled to anything but a desk on the floor of the legislature. So, they took away Peaches’s office and his access to staff.
Something similar could be done here. Patterson’s access to Democratic staff is already cut off with his “principled” re-registration this weekend. But a Peaches-style cut off would keep him out of members-only areas and limit his staff contact. Heck, it may even make him want to resign.
Best of all, it wouldn’t set a precedent.