Lawmaker resigns shortly before Arizona House was to vote on expelling her

PHOENIX (AP) — Democratic Rep. Leezah Sun resigned her Arizona House seat on Wednesday shortly before the chamber was expected to vote on whether to expel her from office after a legislative ethics committee concluded she had engaged in a pattern of disorderly behavior.

Sun was accused of making a profane threat at an August conference to slap and kill a lobbyist for the city of Tolleson, interfering in a child custody matter even though she wasn’t a party in the legal case, and threatening a school superintendent in December 2022 with a legislative investigation. Four of Sun’s fellow Democrats filed an ethics complaint against her last year.

The House Ethics Committee released a report Tuesday concluding Sun, who was elected in 2022 to represent a district in western metro Phoenix, had violated a rule of the chamber that bars members from engaging in disorderly behavior.

Sun didn’t respond to requests for comment made in a phone call, email and private message sent to her over social media.

In a letter to the ethics committee in November, Garrick McFadden, a lawyer representing Sun, denied the allegation that the lawmaker wanted to throw the Tolleson lobbyist off a balcony and said the lobbyist wasn’t at the conference where Sun was alleged to have made the comment.

McFadden had said the threat to slap the lobbyist wasn’t credible and suggested it was an attempt at levity. McFadden also acknowledged Sun may have acted inappropriately by interfering in a child custody matter.

In a statement, Democratic leaders in the House said Sun had damaged the chamber’s reputation.

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

Sun’s replacement will be appointed by the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors, which under state law must pick a candidate who belongs to the same political party as the departing lawmaker.