No surprise really. Josh at Publicola reported this earlier this afternoon. From a statement Josh quotes from the Washington State Patrol:
Washington State Patrol detectives, after consulting with the Thurston County Prosecutor’s office, have determined that the e-mail sent to legislative leaders last week from an employee of the Washington State Labor Council did not constitute criminal conduct.
“We looked carefully at the e-mail and at the law,” said State Patrol Chief John R. Batiste. “We could not find a specific criminal statute that was violated.”
Readers will recall that legislative leadership and the governor used the flimsy controversy to kill the worker privacy bill this session.
Josh has since updated his post with quotes from Rep. Mike Sells.
Rep. Mike Sells (D-38, Everett, Marysville), the sponsor of the doomed bill says: “Why am I not surprised? There was no ‘there’ there.”
Sells says, “Now there should be an investigation into how this decision [the decision by Democratic leadership to turn over the WSLC email to the state patrol] was made. Was it a ploy to get rid of the bill?”
Sells has a point. The state patrol basically dismissed the phoney-baloney accusation out of hand.
It certainly appears Gov. Chris Gregoire, House Speaker Frank Chopp and Senate Majority Leader Lisa Brown attempted to use the state patrol to further their own political goals, namely killing the bill. Talk about trying to criminalize politics. The righties, after all, have been warning us for years about a one-party state. Throw in the relative lack of news reporting compared to years past and it looks like a certain set of leaders has grown a wee bit too big for their britches. What, did they figure we wouldn’t care, even if we’re not labor folks?
Again, I’ll use italics to attempt to make the point: they called the cops on the state labor council over a strategy email that also went to a few legislators. Unwise? Sure. Unkind? Maybe. Illegal? Nope, and anyone with common sense immediately saw that.
I’ll just let all this digest a bit before I start in with the obscenities again, I’m going out to purchase an obscenity thesaurus.
UPDATE–5:15 PM– I spoke with someone at the WSLC, and it sure sounds like sending the email to a few legislators was an honest mistake. Obviously that’s almost impossible to prove short of some kind of forensic analysis of the computer involved, and even that wouldn’t show intent, but golly gee. (Notice I am still not swearing.)
Sorry to get all technical, but anyone else have what in technology circles is known as “groups of email addresses for different purposes?” Can’t say for sure that’s exactly what happened, but it sounds plausible.