News

Senator Scott Bundgaard Plays Patty-Cake with Jason Rose, and Russell Pearce Goes KGB on Pro-Immigration Activists

BUNDGAARD'S BROMANCE
Well, at least you can say Republican state Senate Majority Leader Scott Bundgaard knows how to take a punch. From his girlfriend.

Perusing the photos of Bundgaard's injuries, sent out by the senator's sleazy publicist pal Jason Rose, it looks like the Peoria GOPer forgot to keep his right up.

As everyone under the sun of Satan is now aware, Bundgaard, 43, was caught by the Phoenix cops fighting on the side of State Route 51 with lady companion Aubry Ballard, former director of StreetlightPHX, a nonprofit that fights child sex trafficking.

Ballard, 34, was scraped, bruised, and sustained other injuries, but at least she avoided a black eye. The chick can punch, apparently.

Bundgaard claimed that Ballard was jealous that he danced with some babe at a "Dancing with the Stars" charity event. Ballard has told the press that there was more involved, but she hasn't been specific. The two have since split.

I couldn't care less about the fight itself — but the story went viral, with everybody from the Daily Mail in London to CNN to TMZ.com doing a version of it.

The slime factor entered when, according to the cops, Bundgaard pulled the "immunity" card. That's the line in the Arizona State Constitution that says, "Members of the Legislature shall be privileged from arrest in all cases except treason, felony, and breach of the peace."

Fighting with your significant other on the side of the road late at night? Sounds like a "breach of the peace" to me.

But Phoenix police cut Bundgaard some legislative slack and let him go.

Membership has its privileges. Heck, even Governor Jan Brewer got out of a DUI charge in 1988 after failing four field-sobriety tests while reeking of booze. Why? Because she was in the freaking Legislature at the time.

Not being a member of the state's lawmaking body means that you get arrested and booked, as Ballard did after her tussle with Bundgaard. She says she spent 17 hours in custody at Sheriff Joe Arpaio's notorious Fourth Avenue Jail.

As anyone who's had to go through Fourth Avenue will tell you, it ain't no ride on a Ferris wheel.

In a whiny, defensive press release sent out by Bundgaard's buddy Rose, Bundgaard stroked himself for using the "Dancing" event to raise cash for the National Kidney Foundation of Arizona.

He also denied that the altercation with Ballard was a "domestic violence" incident, though that's how police described it. And he kvetched that he never invoked legislative immunity, though that's exactly what the police said he did.

So the cops are liars, eh? That is, only when they're making allegations in Bundgaard's direction.

And he boo-hoo'd that the Arizona Republic didn't call him before running its story.

Sheesh, you need a clothespin for that diaper, Senator?

BTW, I called Bundgaard and told him I wanted to ask him a few questions. He said he was busy and would get back to me. He didn't. I called him back and left a message. Naturally, we didn't connect.

On the Senate floor recently, Bundgaard tearfully apologized to his fellow members, declared that he is not "above the law," and said he never suggested as much. He said the Senate should "revisit" the legislative-immunity portion of the Arizona Constitution, calling it "antiquated" and "archaic."

He said, "Most of us would agree that it has no place in public service and should be eliminated."

I'll give him points for that, though Bundgaard and everyone, really, should think twice before enlisting the services of Jason Rose. The bitchy press release was clearly a dumb move and drew more flak for Rose's client, not less.

Plus, having Rose as one of your BFFs signals that his brand of right-wing scumbaggery is a-okay with you.

And Bundgaard and Rose go way back. They reportedly have vacationed together in the past, and Rose recently touted Bundgaard's appearance at a new restaurant Rose is pimping, the Arrogant Butcher.

Alas, Rose doesn't have the best of luck with restaurants. Anyone recall Pink Taco? Rose got his good friend and sometime client Joe Arpaio to plug that one at a press conference for the establishment in 2006. Arpaio claimed ignorance of the anatomical reference.

In any case, the Scottsdale restaurant closed in 2009. Rose's politically themed pub, Nixon's, also is kaput.

The weaselly Rose received some assistance from his pal Bundgaard in 1999, when Bundgaard pushed a bill that would have helped Rose client Steve Ellman build a hockey-themed entertainment park in Scottsdale.

It never happened, and Glendale got the hockey arena instead.

At the time, Bundgaard argued the favor was copacetic because Rose wasn't a lobbyist. Rather he was a PR hack who was his homeboy. He called one citizen who criticized the bill an "irrational imbecile" in a letter. Interestingly, the project had zip to do with his district.

KEEP PHOENIX NEW TIMES FREE... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Stephen is a former staff writer and columnist at Phoenix New Times.
Contact: Stephen Lemons