The drama over Sen. Janet Nguyen’s ejection from the floor session a week ago resumed Thursday when the Senate Republican leader asked the Senate’s top staff member to recuse himself from an investigation into the incident.
Senate Republican leader Jean Fuller requested a review of the situation through the Rules Committee, which is led by Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León. De León obliged and established a three-person panel Wednesday to investigate Nguyen’s removal.
The panel includes Cary Rudman, staff director of the Senate Legislative Ethics Committee, Julie Nystrom, consultant for the vice chair of the Rules Committee, and Danny Alvarez, secretary of the Senate, according to Fuller’s office.
“Daniel Alvarez should recuse himself from the panel considering his involvement last Thursday in the mismanagement of session and the forced removal of Sen. Nguyen,” Fuller said in a statement Thursday. “I'm disappointed that he was appointed to be one of the three panel members to investigate the improper actions leading up to Senator Nguyen being silenced and then removed from the chambers.”
In a video of the incident, Alvarez can be seen walking toward Nguyen as the sergeants removed her. Fuller did not specify why he should not be included on the panel. A call to Alvarez’s office was not immediately returned. A spokesman for de León, Anthony Reyes, said the Senate leader would consider Fuller’s request.
Members of the Senate elected Alvarez to his post in 2014. As secretary, he’s in charge of day-to-day administration, keeps legislative records and serves as an expert on house procedure, according to a description of his duties on a website for the Office of the Secretary of the Senate.
Last week Nguyen attempted to adjourn in memory of fallen Vietnamese refugees and nationals while criticizing the late Democratic lawmaker Tom Hayden for his stance on the Vietnam War. Democrats said she was out of order and called on the sergeants-at-arms to remove her from the floor.