- Associated Press - Sunday, February 28, 2021

PHOENIX (AP) - A report into allegations made by an assistant to Republican Sen. Wendy Rogers found little corroboration of some of his complaints but Rogers conceded she had a heated exchange with him the day he was fired and a witness confirmed she cursed at him.

The report to the Senate Ethics Committee by Senate attorney Chris Kleminich released Monday does not draw conclusions as to whether Rogers broke Senate rules and deserves discipline. That will be up to the committee headed by Republican Sen. Sine Kerr.

Kerr has scheduled a committee hearing for Tuesday where the five members will hear from Kleminich and receive legal advice. The agenda shows the committee may then decide on possible action on the complaint.

The panel could dismiss the complaint by the former aide, Michael Polloni Jr., or recommend the full Senate consider discipline that could include expulsion. Kerr did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Rogers was accused by her former legislative assistant in January of berating him, making comments about his weight and other issues. Polloni also accused the state senator of taking his belongings and breaking an Eagle Scout plaque.



Rogers made a written response to Ethics Committee and called the allegations “a complete fabrication by an outgoing, brand new employee who worked only one official day for the state of Arizona after the swearing in of senators.”

Rogers was sworn in on Jan. 11, but Polloni was working for her on Jan. 3 when he tested positive for the virus. His complaint said he was fired on Jan. 14.

Rogers also said the complaint contains no allegations that she either broke the law or violated Senate ethics rules.

In his detailed, six-page ethics complaint against Rogers, Polloni said she repeatedly asked him to work while he was on sick leave, demanded that he illegally do campaign work for her on state time and removed and damaged some of his belongings from his office.

He also said Rogers doubted that he actually had the virus.

Kleminich could not corroborate those allegations, and in the case of asking him to do campaign work found that Rogers‘ requests fell into normal work on legislation the senator was interested in pursuing.

Polloni also alleged that Rogers almost hurt his hand when she slammed a door and that, during a tirade, she yelled at him so closely that he could feel spit hit his face. Kleminich wrote that Rogers told him during an interview that she raised her voice but “that it was clearly objective and simply stating the facts.”

The investigation did find that Rogers slammed the door while Polloni was trying to get another Senate assistant to come into the office to act as a witness, and that aide confirmed that she heard Rogers repeatedly raise her voice and at one point use a curse word while telling Polloni that he worked for her.

In a letter to Kleminich, Rogers‘ attorney called Polloni’s conduct when Rogers directed him on the placement of personal belongings in the office “unprofessional and insubordinate.”

“When given the chance to compose himself and drop the issue, he instead chose to completely melt down and further challenge Senator Rogers,” attorney Jeffrey Walsh wrote. “He proved himself to be unfit for the requirements of service to the Senate. While Senator Rogers certainly regrets these events, she conducted herself appropriately.”

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