Offering frequent news and analysis from the majestic Evergreen State and beyond, The Cascadia Advocate is the Northwest Progressive Institute's unconventional perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

State Patrol: WSLC email wasn't illegal

Although the Worker Privacy Act is dead (no thanks to Olympia), the folks at the Washington State Labor Council can take some solace today in the news that the State Patrol has concluded they didn't break any laws.
An e-mail sent to legislative leaders last week from an employee of the Washington State Labor Council did not constitute criminal conduct, State Patrol detectives said after consulting with the Thurston County Prosecutor's Office.

The e-mail appeared to tie future campaign contributions to legislative and gubernatorial action on a particular bill.
The State Patrol's findings, which aren't surprising, don't make Democratic leaders look very good. They made a big show last week of washing their hands of the matter and asking the State Patrol to investigate. But once the contents of the email were disclosed, it began to look like they had cooked up an excuse to kill the Worker Privacy Act - organized labor's top legislative priority.

Rick Bender, WSLC's President, declared last week:
The Washington State Labor Council proudly stands behind our efforts to pass the Worker Privacy Act. Early Tuesday morning, an email communication related to the Privacy Act was inadvertently delivered to the offices of several Washington State legislators.

We regret that this unintentional communication has stalled consideration of this important legislation.
How many similar emails have been sent by business lobbyists to legislators over the years? We don't know, of course, but we'd wager it would be a fair number.

If Majority Leader Lisa Brown, Speaker Frank Chopp, and Governor Chris Gregoire think the WSLC email is the standard for calling in law enforcement, then the State Patrol better hire some extra detectives. They're going to need a special team just to investigate communications between lawmakers and political organizations that raise "serious legal and ethical questions."


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