On Friday I mailed a formal Ethics Complaint to the Washington State Legislative Ethics Board. I have been in conversation with legal experts at the UW Law School. The constitutional basis for a complaint is complicated and nuanced. However, I believe there are ethical conflicts with the dual appointment. I encourage anyone to file their own complaint as well. The form and a copy of my letter are below. You can also contact the Governor, who can order the Attorney General to open an investigation. Otherwise, will will keep looking for opportunities to make our voices heard directly. #wheresdoug42 @wheresdoug42
ETHICS COMPLAINT FORM
Legislative Ethics Board
Attention: Keith Buchholz
PO Box 40482
Olympia, WA 98504-0482
- Explain why you believe that the individual named above may have violated the state ethics law. Be as specific as possible as to dates, times, places, and acts. Attach additional sheets of paper if this space is not sufficient.
I represent a group of constituents in the 42nd District, which Senator Ericksen represents. We believe that he has violated his ethical and constitutional obligations to his constituents by accepting a Director of Communications position in the Trump Administration’s reorganization of the Environmental Protection Agency. I believe that his appointment at the EPA constitutes an “office” (see State ex rel. Brown v. Blew, 20 Wn.2d 47, 51 ) and that the duties of the two offices are incompatible (see Kennett v. Levine, 50 Wn.2d 212, 216-17 ). Furthermore, his decision not to resign from the Senate is problematic because the amount of time required by each job preclude his effective attention to his constitutional duties. As evidence, Sen. Ericksen recently sponsored SB 5171. On January 24th 2017 at 1:30 PM the Senate Committee on Natural Resources and Parks held a hearing for the bill. Over 50 people showed up to oppose the bill, but Sen. Ericksen did not attend because he was in Washington DC providing press reports and meeting with Trump Administration officials. The people of the 42nd District elected Sen. Ericksen to represent the needs of our district and state. This is a significant job that requires his full attention. The travel time required to fly to and from DC, along with the duties of each office preclude dedication to the issues of the State and 42nd District. I do not see how Ericksen can maintain expected working hours (RCW 42.52.320(2)[c]) and fulfil his duties to the people he represents.
The other Washington State legislators that have accepted Trump Administration positions have resigned their elected offices. I believe that Ericksen should do the same and the Ethics Board should conduct a full investigation.
- Attach or make reference to any documents or other evidence that support your allegations. Also list the names and addresses of any witnesses or persons having knowledge of facts that support your allegations.
Dr. Michael A Shepard
2516 Kulshan Street
Bellingham, WA 98225