Scandals reveal murky workplace standards in Legislature

“The culture in political environments is one that would never fly in a corporate or professional environment,” said Jonathan Lockwood, a GOP political consultant

By Arren Kimbel-Sannit and Julia Shumway | Arizona Capitol Times

Since news broke of their apparent romance, the fates of Rep. David Cook and lobbyist AnnaMarie Knorr have diverged.

Cook, a Republican from Globe, has continued to serve on committees, to vote on legislation and to testify on bills he has authored, even as the House Ethics Committee probes two separate complaints about his conduct.

Knorr, on the other hand, was placed on administrative leave by her employer, the Western Growers’ Association, pending an investigation into whether her alleged relationship with Cook presented ethical violations.

That investigation commenced almost immediately after dozens of love letters Cook wrote to Knorr surfaced in the media, whereas leadership in the House took no official action until a pair of complaints materialized two weeks after the initial news reports.

Cook and Knorr have maintained that their relationship is proper, and platonic. Regardless, the fact that one is on leave while the other remains in the public eye highlights the different standards between the Legislature — where lawmakers have balked at adopting a code of conduct — and private sector firms, where experts say written expectations on proper interpersonal relationships are near universal.

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