Washington State Legislative Ethics Board dismisses complaint against Rep. Jim Walsh

Citing a lack of reasonable cause, the Washington State Legislative Ethics Board has dismissed a complaint lodged against Rep. Jim Walsh, R-Aberdeen, by a group calling itself the “Washington Black Lives Matter Alliance.”

Walsh says he's satisfied with board's conclusions about the accusations filed by the Black Lives Matter (BLM) affiliate.

“The board's ruling makes sense. As I've noted from the start, this poorly drafted complaint is nothing more than a political stunt,” Walsh says. “I'm just sorry the board's members and staff had to waste their time on this, when they could have been considering more serious matters.”

The process began in February, when Sakara Remmu, the lead strategist for a group calling itself “Black Lives Matter Seattle-King County,” issued complaints against Walsh and two other members of the Washington State House. The documents signed by Remmu complained about questions the legislators asked people testifying in committee hearings on several controversial bills.

In its “order of dismissal/lack of reasonable cause,” the Legislative Ethics Board writes:

“Article II, Section 17 of the Washington Constitution provides: “No member of the Legislature shall be liable in any civil action or prosecution whatever, for words spoken in debate.” …

“The board holds that, when legislators ask questions or make comments to persons testifying on a bill during an official legislative committee hearing, those comments or questions cannot constitute harassment for purposes of [Washington state law.] …

“The board finds no reasonable cause to believe [Walsh] violated any provision of the Act as alleged in this complaint.”

Walsh says the board made the right conclusion.

“The questions I ask people testifying are tough but fair—focused on clarifying or expanding on points those people are making,” Walsh concludes. “This is how the legislative process should work. Rigorous. Truth-seeking. A healthy debate. There's no place in it for thin-skinned partisanship or phony victimology.”


Washington State House Republican Communications