Do the right thing

The Tri-City Herald’s Chris Mulick digs up the dirt on state Rep. Shirley Hankins (R-Richland):

Longtime Richland state Rep. Shirley Hankins has repeatedly used the power of her office in the past five years to muscle state and local officials into directing business to her two daughters’ struggling tire baling company.

A Herald investigation shows the Republican lawmaker’s efforts to promote Northwest Tire Recycling have ranged from carefully indirect to downright blunt, and the tactics raise questions about abuse of power.

[… Hankins] denied she’s ever used her office to promote the daughters’ business […] but multiple interviews, letters, e-mails and other documents reveal that Hankins has actively promoted Northwest Tire Recycling in Olympia and the Tri-Cities.

Great reporting by Mulick, but will his paper follow up? Central WA blog The Other Side demands that both Hankins and the region’s editorial boards do the right thing.

The papers in the region should call for her resignation. And, of course, the only honorable thing for her to do……resign.

Hmm. I dunno. I mean, all Hankins really did was abuse the power of her office to benefit her daughters’ business, and as far as editorial-worthy scandals go, that pales in comparison to this session’s notorious Dogs-In-Bars Controversy.

As for my colleagues on the right — who fancy themselves watchdogs of government corruption — you just know that if Hankins were a Democrat they’d be screaming for her political necklacing. But I’m not gonna hold my breath waiting for cries of outrage from my friends over at (u)SP.


  1. 1

    Lordsman spews:

    bad mommie, very bad mommie

    Goldy – if this all the scandal you can find, the state is Utopian

  2. 2

    Ed the Head spews:

    Isn’t Hankins the kind of Republican that the libs normally love? She wasn’t even caucusing with the House Repubs for a while.
    I was under the impression you admired her independence.

  3. 4


    Lordsman @1,

    Hey, thanks for proving my point.

    Ed @2,

    I don’t really care if she’s a D or an R or a liberal or conservative. I believe in government as a positive force, and when an elected abuses office for personal gain it destroys the public’s faith in government as an institution. If Hankins did what she is accused of doing, she doesn’t deserve to serve.

  4. 5

    randall spews:

    Hankins is not the kind of Republican you want to get rid of. She is a reasonable moderate (for the GOP) who supported the gas tax votes and didn’t even caucus with the party for a year or so. She would certainly be replaced with a far more conservative member. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if one or more conservative GOPers didn’t tip the press off to this story to get rid of Hankins. The Representative and some local elected officials in the Tri-Cities have been feuding for a while and this story has been circulating in Olympia for some time. There is more going on here than meets the eye.

  5. 6

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @1 You can bet your pajamas that whatever corruption is to be found in Washington — is REPUBLICAN corruption!

  6. 7

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    NEWS BULLETIN — Cheney Survives Taliban Suicide Attack

    The Associated Press reports:

    “BAGRAM, Afghanistan – A suicide bomber on foot killed and wounded some two dozen people outside the main U.S. military base in Afghanistan on Tuesday during a visit by Vice President Dick Cheney, officials said. The Taliban claimed responsibility and said Cheney was the target.

    “The blast happened near the first of several security gates outside the base at Bagram, north of the capital Kabul. Cheney’s spokeswoman said he was fine, and the U.S. Embassy said the vice president later met with President Hamid Karzai in Kabul.”

    For complete story see

  7. 8

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    “Cutbacks at FDA Hobble Safety Inspections

    “WASHINGTON (Feb. 26) – The federal agency … is conducting just half the food safety inspections it did three years ago. The cuts by the Food and Drug Administration come despite a barrage of high-profile food recalls.

    “‘We have a food safety crisis on the horizon,’ said Michael Doyle, director of the Center for Food Safety at the University of Georgia.

    “Between 2003 and 2006, FDA food safety inspections dropped 47 percent, according to a database analysis of federal records by The Associated Press. That’s not all … [t]he analysis also shows:

    ” … Safety tests for U.S.-produced food have dropped nearly 75 percent, from 9,748 in 2003 to 2,455 last year, according to the agency’s own statistics.

    “After the Sept. 11 attacks, the FDA, at the urging of Congress, increased the number of food inspectors and inspections amid fears that the nation’s food system was vulnerable to terrorists. Inspectors and inspections … have fallen enough to erase the gains. …

    “The shrunken ranks of inspectors have left the nation once again vulnerable, especially to problems in imported food, Thompson and others said. Doyle, whose center studies ways to improve food safety, called the nation’s growing appetite for imported foods the ‘coming threat.’ …

    “Even as imports grow in volume and diversity, the number of FDA inspections is shrinking: agency inspectors physically examined just 1.3 percent of food imports last year, about three-quarters as much as in 2003.

    “A recent Government Accountability Office report noted that most of the $1.7 billion the federal government allocates to food safety goes to the Agriculture Department, which is responsible for regulating about 20 percent of the food supply. The FDA, responsible for most of the other 80 percent, gets about 24 percent of the total.”

    Quoted under Fair Use; for complete story and/or copyright info, see

    Roger Rabbit Commentary: Another looming GOP implosion as the Bush administration continues to be a wet dream for corporate lobbyists — and a waking nightmare for consumers. A couple years ago, I reported the Bush administration’s efforts to eviscerate meat inspection by firing federal meat inspectors and allowing slaughterhouses to hire their own inspectors — who answer to the boss, not to the government. As you know, it is no longer safe to eat meat raised in the U.S., as recent e-coli outbreaks demonstrate. And now, due to FDA inspection cutbacks, it’s no longer safe to eat spinach or peanut butter, either. Pretty soon all you humans will have to graze on grass like us rabbits — but hey, the stuff ain’t that bad!

  8. 9

    RightEqualsStupid spews:

    This just illustrates the point that 99.9999% of the right’s stand on morals, ethics, God, country and all that other assorted bullshit is crap. These people only care about two things. . . money and power. Nothing else matters. They’re hypocrites without any true core values or beliefs and frankly, the world would be better off if we just put them all in jail where they belong.

    In my opinion, the GOP is nothing but a criminal enterprise that rivals the Mafia in every way.

  9. 10

    Thomas Trainwinder spews:

    All politicians do it. Goldy, if you served up your indignation equally, your last point would be 1) more believable and 2) more valid.

    Alas, you are as partisan in your lack of watchdogness on the D side as Stefan (whom you chastise) is on the R side.

  10. 11

    RightEqualsStupid spews:

    No surprise here that the right won’t speak out against this activity but rather try to deflect by attacking Goldy because he hasn’t uncovered a Democratic plot to do the same thing.

    More proof that the Publicans are hypocrites.

  11. 12

    rhp6033 spews:

    More on “NRA Republicans” eating there own:

    “Longtime OUTDOOR LIFE hunting editor Jim Zumbo, who is also the author of numerous books and a cable TV host, has had his professional life collapse in the past two weeks – because he suggested in an online blog that automatic weapons be banned from hunting.

    For non-hunters, that doesn’t seem like such a big deal, but for Zumbo, who has ironically has been a member of the NRA for 40 years, it was an unpardonable sin.

    In his OUTDOOR LIFE blog, Zumbo wrote on Feb. 16: “The guides on our hunt tell me that the use of AR and AK rifles have a rapidly growing following among hunters, especially prairie dog hunters. I had no clue.

    “I call them ‘assault’ rifles, which may upset some people. I’ll go so far as to call them ‘terrorist’ rifles.

    “In my humble opinion, these things have no place in hunting. We don’t need to be lumped into the group of people who terrorize the world with them, which is an obvious concern.

    “As hunters, we don’t need the image of walking around the woods carrying one of these weapons. To most of the public, an assault rifle is a terrifying thing. Let’s divorce ourselves from them.”

    Zumbo has since apologized profusely for his post, to no avail. He was essentially fired by Outdoor Life, and more importantly, his TV show has been canceled, and his numerous endorsement deals have all been terminated.”, linking to:

    But looking at it further, it doesn’t seem to me that Zumbo even called for a “ban” on assault rifles in hunting. He merely called upon his fellow hunters to stop using them, because they made hunters look bad to the general public. Yet even that was enough to get him into some serious hot water with some of his former fans.

    As a target shooter myself, I have no need for automatic weapons. I know how to shoot them, having first handled and fired an M-14 at age 15 in JROTC. But to me, even a semi-automatic uses too many rounds, too fast, to be much fun. You end up spending all your time re-loading clips, rather than firing at targets. And an M-14 on full automatic becomes an anti-aircraft weapon after the fourth round or so. So I, personally, have no love for assault rifles, preferring to use clip-fed bolt-action rifles for target practice. Hey, I’ve even had fun firing some black-powder muzzle-loaders.

    But for the life of me, I don’t see why in the world the NRA is so wedded to the assault rifle. Even the First Amendment has some limits (you can’t yell “fire” in a crowded theatre without suffering consequences). Can’t there even be some room within the NRA for some reasonable debate on the issues, without kicking out the door anybody who dares to utter a thought which isn’t approved by the most radical right-wingers in the group?

  12. 13

    RightEqualsStupid spews:

    Publicans teach their kids from an early age to believe that when they get caught lying, cheating, stealing, etc., that it’s okay because everyone else does it.

  13. 14

    Blackhead spews:

    re9: There are corrupt politicians in both parties. But there are a lot more of them in the Republican Party.

    This new Republican Meme isn’t going to fly. Because it’s a lie.

    They don’t ALL do it. If I say that when People bring up D. Congressman Jefferson, Republican eyes roll.

    Hypocrisy is the thing most young Republicans lettered in in high school.

  14. 15

    Blackhead spews:

    re 11: The NRA wants citizens to have assault rifles not to defend their freedom, but to suppress their fellow citizens when the chance presents itself.

    I wouldn’t trust those gun nuts with a plug nickel.

  15. 17

    drool spews:

    #11 and #14,

    Please note he refers to “automatic” weapons. That’s “machine gun” type operation folks. Pull the trigger once and rock and roll. You need a class 3 federal license to own one. Very rare indeed and in some staes (like Wa) you can’t…..period.

    Non of the “assault weapon” stuff deals with full auto weapons. The ongoing stink pertains to semi autos although the anti gunners love to blur the line as much as possible.

  16. 18

    drool spews:

    Having ranted already I would consider Mr Zumbo a “gun snob”.

    He probably shoots with something more akin to a piece of furniture that a tool.

    Military weapons are a lot of fun to shoot, especially when you have the whole history of the weapon to go along with it.

  17. 19

    Facts Support My Positions spews:

    Blackhead says:

    re9: There are corrupt politicians in both parties. But there are a lot more of them in the Republican Party.

    This new Republican Meme isn’t going to fly. Because it’s a lie.

    They don’t ALL do it. If I say that when People bring up D. Congressman Jefferson, Republican eyes roll.

    Hypocrisy is the thing most young Republicans lettered in in high school.


    I wonder what would have happened if they offered Tom DeLay, or Bob Ney $100,000 in cash. Ka Ching!!!

    We all know what would have happened. Jefferson shouldn’t have taken the money, but did anyone notice he is still in congress? Why no prosecution? It is funny how they only tried to entrap a Democrat, and no Republicons.

    Considering the FBI has been working full time ignoring the crimes of the Bush Crime Family, and working overtime investigating Democrats, and come up with nothing……

    If you think they are “both corrupt” you would have to compare the Boy Scouts with the NAZIS because they both wear uniforms…..

  18. 20

    John Wyble spews:

    Good point about the dogs in bars….I’m not going to hold my breath waiting for Seattle paper editorials.

    Mostly, because I hate passing out.

  19. 21

    Facts Support My Positions spews:

    I own an “assault weapon”, but I don’t pretend it is for hunting….

    By the way, the difference between Democrats, and Republicons is the fact that Democrats want all corrupt politicians arrested, and Republicons ignore crimes, and lies committed by other Republicons.

    Hypocrite = Republicon

  20. 23

    GBS spews:

    Roger Rabbit:

    Question for you unrelated to the thread topic (apologies to everyone else) but has to do with the Constitutional Law book you recommended I read.

    My question has to do with the political theory of Judicial Review in Art III of the Constitution and Judicial Restraint.

    If my interpretation is correct, then the power of ‘Checks and Balances’ granted to the courts as a coequal branch of government is that they can make invalid any action of either federal or state officials, or any laws passed by either federal or state legislators, if the court deems the actions or laws to be repugnant to the Constitution. So long as a citizen or legal entity brings suit in court and proves their assertion that the particular action or law in question is in violation of the legal principles set forth in the Constitution.

    Is the concept of Judicial Review of Legislators and Executives uniquely American? Or at least at the time of its implementation? There may be other countries that practice this political theory now, but I can’t seem to find the existence of this concept prior to the signing of the Constitution.

    If I understand the concept of Judicial Review doesn’t it basically rebuke the philosophy that “The King Can Do No Wrong,” right? And, the reason a citizen or legal entity has to bring suit, is the courts time honored tradition of Judicial Restraint by not taking legal action until after a legal dispute is filed and successfully argued in their courtroom.

    Am I right on these points? And if not, what am I missing?


  21. 25

    Thomas Trainwinder spews:

    Dems say Repubs cheat more, steal more, lie more.

    Repubs say Dems cheat more, steal more, lie more.

    It’s really sad.

  22. 26

    Tree Frog Farmer spews:

    A while ago,in the 1960’s, before the passage of a total ban on automatic weapons in Washington State, an acquaintance used an automatic weapon during the then recently created ‘Bear’ season. They were properly licensed at the time, being part of a Law Enforcement Reserve Unit, and well heeled enough to afford the Federal ‘Stamp’ for their weapons.
    The weapon used was a Schmeisser 7.62 mm Machine Pistol with a double clip containing forty rounds. Because of poor firecontrol the hunter emptied the double clip into the unfortunate bear.
    I asked:”After you shot it, how could you tell it was a bear?”
    The response:”By the ears.”

  23. 27

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @12 If you’ve used a fully automatic M-14 for hunting, then you have a federal machinegun license (costs $250 per year) and were hunting in a state other than Washington, where possession of such weapons is illegal even with a federal license.

  24. 28

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @14 When Jefferson got caught with cash stashed in his frig, the first thing the Democratic caucus did was strip him of his committee assignments. As Republicans were in control of the House at the time, they couldn’t kick him out of Congress.

    When a GOP rep. gets caught in a corruption scandal, the first thing the Republican caucus does is cover it up … and make sure they have jello blob like Doc Hastings in charge of the Ethics Committee to assure absolutely nothing will be investigated.

  25. 29

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @22 “Republicans are crooks, Democrats are idiots.”

    And what are Libertarians? Republicans by another name; idiots who are for “anything goes.”

  26. 30

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @23 Scholars have traced the concept of judicial review to a 1610 English case, which is ironic, in that even today the British legal system does not embrace it. The idea was well known in the American colonies, via Lord Coke’s popular law treatise, decades before the Constitution was drafted. The Framers did not expressly adopt it in the Constitution, perhaps because they took it for granted, but in any event Chief Justice Marshall in Marbury v. Madison (1803) declared it to be a necessarily implied judicial power, as separation of powers would not work without it. Consequently, the Marbury case is universally regarded as the most important legal decision in American jurisprudence, as it establishes the foundation for the judicial branch’s most important powers.

    The concept is fundamentally incompatible with such notions as “the divine right of kings” or “the king can do no wrong,” which is why it became established in American law without English precedent; not only did America, unlike England, lack a monarchical tradition to influence the development of its jurisprudence, but in its creation explicitly rejected monarchy and all of its associated institutions and ideas. Thus, like most other American legal ideas, it came to us from English legal thinkers; but because of America’s different history, it found fertile soil to grow in America, whereas in England where the notion originated, the seed fell upon barren soil.

    A very important exception to the judicial review doctrine is the “political question” doctrine. In certain types of cases, the courts decline jurisdiction on the grounds that the issue is a “political question” best resolved by another branch of government; i.e., it is imprudent for the courts to second-guess what the other branch has done. These issues include:

    1) the legality of a war;
    2) Congress’s impeachment procedures; and
    3) the president’s conduct of foreign affairs, including presidential decisions to abrogate treaties and to commit troops.

    The doctrine of judicial restraint is intertwined with, but distinct from, judicial review. “Judicial restraint” is self-imposed by courts and limits their willingness to review the constitutionality of a statute or official action. In general, a court will

    (1) require an actual controversy and actual injury (i.e., it won’t decide “friendly” lawsuits filed to get the court’s advice on an issue, or to test the constitutionality of a proposed law),
    (2) avoid ruling on the constitutional question if the case can be resolved by statutory interpretation or other means,
    (3) not render advisory opinions, and
    (4) limit its ruling to what is necessary to resolve the present case, i.e., draft its opinion as narrowly as possible.

  27. 31

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    One legal concept important in Washington law that did NOT originate in English law is community property, which comes from Spanish law and is a reflection of Spanish influence in the early settlement of the American continent.

  28. 32

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    Of course, the British monarch has not had absolute powers since Magna Carta in 1215, and today is little more than a ceremonial office and grist for movies and tabloids.

    The Brits replaced their tyrannical monarchy with a tyrannical Parliament.

    No fucking wonder they couldn’t hold onto their colonies. India didn’t put up with that shit either.

  29. 33

    Gerry Pollet spews:

    Shirley Hankins, and her seatmate Larry Haler, have repeatedly, and very publicly, attacked those of us who have worked to stop Hanford’s use as a national radioactive and toxic waste dump by claiming we were just trying to enrich ourselves. They attacked Initiative 297, claiming the proponents of the law to require cleanup before more waste got dumped were only motivated by trying to get Ecology Dept. grants. They used the right wing Tri-City Citizen paper to air claims that we were working to pass legislation to require the emptying of High-Level Nuclear Waste tanks and cleanup of leaks as a guise “to keep money flowing into their coffers” – even though he couldn’t point to any provision in the bill that related to funding Heart of America Northwest. There is a long and sorry record of them attacking their opponents with such claims – and no one in the mainstream media has called them on the carpet.

    The irony here needs to be picked up by our political reporters. Hankins, the articles point out, was busy seeking government grants for her family’s business and seeking favorable governmental loan treatment at the same time she was accusing public interest groups of only being interested in stopping Hanford’s use as a waste dump and in trying to ensure cleanup to get funding. Haler used his position to sit in on meetings or call officials on behalf of Hankins’ family business.
    And, check out the source of some of these loans made to her daughters’ business: yes, from a fund generated by the import and disposal of radioactive waste. Small wonder she doesn’t want the flow of waste being dumped in unlined trenches to be halted by the state’s voters.
    It’s time for the State Auditor to audit the use of the governmental grants and loans made to her family’s business.

  30. 34



    What did you expect? An invitation to tea? Frankly, you piss me off trying to promote yourself at our 8th District Representatives expense. You think a Democrat in this district is going to give you their cell number or something? Get real.

    Also, if you are worried about the TC Citizen (less readers than Goldy’s blog), then you are a little more tightly wrapped than I thought.

  31. 35

    GBS spews:

    Roger Rabbit @ 30-32:

    Thank you so much for the clarification. I reread the Marbury v. Madison section last night and now I have a better understanding of the origin/interpretation of Judicial Review. When you really think about it, our whole system of Checks and Balances would have eventually unraveled with out this precedent.

    OK, my mind is going a million miles an hour and lots of questions/possibilities come to my mind as I absorb this new information. (I love learning new things!)

    I hope you won’t mind if I occasionally ask you questions like some dumb pre-law student, but the more I’m learning the more fascinated I’m becoming with Law.

    So here’s my question/observation du jour.

    When conservatives rail against “Activist judges legislating from the bench“; what they are really saying is that they don’t know or understand the legislative process since the judges are not proposing legislation of any kind, nor do they understand our system of Checks and Balances, since it is the prerogative/duties of the courts to rule on such matters when law suits meet the high standards of actual controversy and/or injury.

    So when conservatives preach the Activist Judges crap they either don’t understand the Constitution, or they DO understand the Constitution it’s just that they hate the concept of true Liberty.

    Either way, their actions undermine the Rule of Law and the fundamental principles our country was founded on and for which so many have died and sacrificed for!