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Latest Senate ethics investigation of Wendy Rogers all but over after report reaches no conclusions

Flagstaff Republican faced inquiry over online comments in wake of Buffalo massacre. Senate would have to come back into session to pursue matter.

PHOENIX — Editor's note: The above video aired during a previous broadcast.

An Arizona State Senate ethics investigation of Sen. Wendy Rogers appears to be all but over after an investigative report reached no conclusions on whether Rogers violated Senate rules.

The Senate voted in May to investigate the Flagstaff Republican's online comments that appeared to blame the federal government for a racially motivated supermarket massacre in Buffalo, N.Y.

But a report by Senate Ethics Committee attorney Chris Kleminich, filed late Friday and obtained by 12 News, reached no conclusions and tossed the matter back to the full Senate.

"It is ultimately the task of members, and not this investigator, to reach a conclusion as to whether the Senate should take any further action with respect to Senator Rogers' remarks," Kleminich wrote.

ORIGINAL STORY: Senate launches inquiry into Wendy Rogers' comments on Buffalo shooting

Read the full report here:

The Senate adjourned for the year late Friday. 

Senate President Karen Fann would have to call the Senate into a special session if there were interest in pursuing the matter. Fann could not be reached for comment.

At the same time, early voting for the Aug. 2 primary starts in nine days.

Rogers is up for re-election in her northern Arizona district. She faces a tough campaign against fellow Republican Sen. Kelly Townsend of Mesa.

It's likely the Senate would let voters have the final say on Rogers' conduct.

In her first term in office, Rogers has emerged as a champion of far-right Christian nationalists.

The latest ethics investigation was the third since Rogers took office 18 months ago.

She was censured by the Senate in March for threatening to "personally destroy" fellow Republicans who sought to punish her. That came after she gave a speech to the white nationalist America First Political Action Conference in Florida that called for public hangings of her enemies.

ORIGINAL STORY: Wendy Rogers censured by Arizona Senate for 'unbecoming conduct'

A year ago, the Senate Ethics Committee dismissed a complaint against Rogers that accused her of harassing a legislative aide. 

The Buffalo-related investigation looked into the online post Rogers made the night a young white man went into a market in a predominately Black neighborhood and fatally shot 10 people. Authorities say the gunman had posted a racist screed before the May 14 attack.

As news of the mass shooting was just becoming known, Rogers tweeted: "Fed boy summer has started in Buffalo."

Many in both parties took that tweet to mean that Rogers was blaming the attack on the federal government, especially in light of Rogers' history of embracing conspiracy theories.

Rogers later wrote that her comments were misconstrued by the media. She said instead they expressed her worry that inaction on crime and border security will lead to riots and looting.

But Kleminich noted that it was not only the media that interpreted her comments to mean the federal government was behind the Buffalo attack. He noted that most comments in response to her post interpreted it the same way.

Rogers declined to be interviewed by Kleminich. Instead, she answered questions through her attorney, Tim La Sota.

Read the report response from Rogers' attorney here:

La Sota criticized the investigation, saying it would lead to probes of other activity protected by free speech rights.

"Where this is leading is obvious and is demonstrated by this case," La Sota wrote. "Republicans will be required to defend themselves amid these ethics 'investigations,' and Democrats will receive a pass."

Arizona politics:

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