Someone should tell former State Senator Scott Bundgaard to let it go. He has turned a one-night mistake into a two-year legal and political odyssey.
The one-time Majority Leader of the Arizona State Senate saw his world unravel a year ago last February when he was stopped on the highway after hitting his then-girlfriend in the chest, pulling her from his car and throwing her to the ground. Witnesses saw both Bundgaard and his girlfriend threw punches at each other. The fight is said to have started after the girlfriend accused Bundgaard of inappropriately touching a dance partner at a charity event. Supposedly, the girlfriend then began throwing his clothes from the car, then the fight ensued.
The girlfriend was hauled away to jail, but Bundgaard was allowed to go home. It was not because the police believed that he was innocent. It was because Bundgaard claimed legislative immunity. A legislator cannot be arrested while the legislature is in session.
Last August, Bundgaard pleaded no contest to lesser charges and avoided jail time.
Bundgaard has a history of run-ins with the law and domestic violence. These include a 1986 conviction for burglary that was later expunged. In 2006, his then-wife called the police on their honeymoon. She later had their covenant marriage annulled on the grounds of threats and domestic violence.
For some reason, none of this prevented Bundgaard from becoming Senate Majority Leader.
In September 2011, the Arizona Senate began an ethics investigation into Bundgaard’s arrest. At first, Bundgaard offered cooperation. That did not last long. He filed a suit against the Senate, alleging that they were improperly investigating him. Bundgaard eventually resigned from the Senate.
Now he is back and claiming that he is the victim. Bundgaard is suing the city of Phoenix for $10 million because he claims they bungled his arrest.
“I did not assert that I was immune from arrest,” Bundgaard wrote in the 29-page notice. “On the night of Feb. 25, 2011, I was clear-headed and compliant, patiently enduring the chaos, waiting for all of these officers to realize that I was the one who was assaulted by an irrational, intoxicated woman.”
Bundgaard goes onto list grievances against the police for negligence, defamation, emotional distress and violating his civil rights.
There. It wasn’t Bundgaard’s fault that he was beating up his girlfriend. She was drunk and throwing his clothes out of a car. He was beating her up to protect his clothes or something. Show the poor fellow some pity…and $10 million. At least that is what Bundgaard would like everyone to think.
Laurie Roberts from the Arizona Republic summarized Bundgaard’s version of how he was wronged on that February night:
In his claim, Bundgaard says he was initially treated as the victim, as befitting his role as a gentleman who was simply trying to keep his drunken wreck of a girlfriend from hurting herself. This, he explains, is why he was sent home while she was sent to the pokey.
As for those four police officers who later told the Senate Ethics Committee that he invoked legislative immunity from arrest that night? Set-up job.
And the five witnesses who testified that he was the aggressor? Tainted by media coverage.
Two “had consumed alcohol prior to calling the PPD” (Phoenix Police Department) and one later embellished her story, telling police that the aggressor had Bundgaard’s hair color — something she hadn’t mentioned when she called 911.
Bundgaard, in his claim, says police conspired against him because he had clashed with then-Mayor Phil Gordon over a political issue.
It is disgraceful that Bundgaard is pursuing this multi-million dollar lawsuit when police and witnesses are lined up against him. Looking at his past and the details of his lawsuit reveals that he has some serious problems. First and foremost is that he lacks any sense of regret and responsibility for his actions.
Yet there is a deeper problem here. It has to do with power. Bundgaard feels that he is entitled to get away with anything that he wants. Unless he is the victim of a vast conspiracy involving Arizonians who witnessed the fight with his girlfriend, Phoenix police and the Arizona Senate, Bundgaard is making all of this up. If he can convince himself that lies are the truth now, just imagine how he was acting as Majority Leader in the Senate. It is bad enough what Bundgaard is doing with the legal system. We can only imagine what he has done to the Arizona political system. After witnessing some of the crazy legislation that has come out of the state over the last few years, that is not difficult to imagine.