Join me/us tomorrow, Fri, Dec 13, 8:45am, King County Courthouse, 516 3rd Ave, Seattle. Outside Judge Marshall Ferguson’s courtroom on the 7th floor, Room E-713. We need to send a powerful message before he rules on our Motion to Appoint Outside Counsel due to Bob Ferguson’s intentional sabotage of I-976. Wherever you live, get here. I welcome the chance to meet you and thank you for representing the voters who overwhelmingly passed I-976 to bring back our $30 tabs.
Here’s my statement on it:
If Judge Ferguson OK’s AG Ferguson, then the AG’s intentional sabotage of I-976 will have succeeded.
Our motion to appoint outside counsel due to AG Bob Ferguson’s sabotage of I-976 is before Judge Marshall Ferguson tomorrow (Friday). There are legions of conflicts here: the judge was appointed by Jay Inslee, is employed by and gets paid by plaintiff King County, lives in Seattle, is listed as a “soft Democrat” on the voter rolls, and is Facebook friends with Seattle city attorney Pete Holmes, another plaintiff in the case. AG Bob Ferguson was conflicted before the case began. Steve O’Ban’s letter explained how: “Recusal is your office’s only option, based on your office’s involvement in two cases related to Initiative 976. Your office is pursuing a campaign finance lawsuit against the Initiative’s primary sponsor Tim Eyman.^ At a minimum, this raises concerns about your office’s ability to approach legal challenges to Initiative 976 free of bias. At the most extreme this puts into question the degree of diligence and effort your office would put into defending the Initiative. Further, and significantly, your office is in the midst of defending the State in a lawsuit centered on the constitutionality of the same excise tax that Initiative 976 repealed.^ In that case, the Attorney General joined with Sound Transit’s arguments that the motor vehicle excise tax employed by Sound Transit does not violate Article II, section 37 of the Washington State Constitution. The Attorney General’s actions to protect the same tax that Initiative 976 repealed is a clear conflict of interest that goes directly against your office’s capacity to defend the Initiative. Washingtonians deserve to have their laws defended by unbiased legal advocates free of conflicts. The only way to ensure that those interests are protected is for the Attorney General’s Office to hire competent outside counsel to handle any lawsuit challenging the Initiative. We look forward to receiving your response as soon as possible, and certainly prior to the commencement of litigation to attack the Initiative and overturn the will of taxpayers, and the voters of my district and county. Sincerely, Senator Steve O’Ban, 28th Legislative District”
When Bob Ferguson refused to follow O’Ban’s common sense advice, it was clear he intended to sabotage the defense of I-976 from within. When Bob Ferguson refused to file for change of venue – getting the case moved out of King County because King County was a plaintiff in the case – Bob Ferguson irreparably harmed the legal defense of I-976. When Bob Ferguson refused to do an affidavit of prejudice to boot this judge off the case, he harmed I-976 even more. When Clint Didier tried to intervene to defend the taxpayers, plaintiff King County blocked him and his attorney Stephen Pidgeon from doing so. Why? To protect King County Judge Marshall Ferguson from defending his impartiality in open court. Bob Ferguson did not lift a finger to help Clint Didier’s team get past King County’s objections. Then Bob Ferguson “defended” I-976 in court with attorneys who conceded point after point to the Plaintiffs and who said “I don’t know” when asked by the judge what section 12 did. After losing the case due to Judge Ferguson’s concern with the ballot title written by the AG, 400+ citizens asked/pleaded with Bob Ferguson to file a motion for reconsideration with Judge Ferguson BEFORE appealing to the supreme court. Bob Ferguson refused, claiming the judge wouldn’t change his mind. Such motions are not filed to change a judge’s mind, they are filed in order to supplement the defense’s arguments so that the supreme court reviews the complete record. Rather listening to these 400 citizens’ advice, Bob Ferguson cut and pasted his losing brief into his appeal to the supreme court. Not surprisingly, his losing brief lost again.
And then yesterday it was revealed that Bob Ferguson and King County conspired to block anyone from intervening, block discovery, and schedule an expedited summary judgement hearing on January 10 (!!!) with a stipulated order that failed to notify Clint Didier’s attorney Stephen Pidgeon nor our attorneys Mark Kimball and Joel Murray even though they had all filed motions to intervene. This violated a court order on November 27.
Bob Ferguson’s blatant sabotage was outlined in what we filed today (https://tinyurl.com/BobFergusonsSabotageDocumented). It includes Stephen Pidgeon’s brief – previously blocked from being entered into the court record — that includes arguments the AG never raised, mentioned, or argued. Most compellingly:
B. Employees of public offices, or agencies are prohibited from opposing ballot issues pursuant to RCW 42.17A.555, and their continued presence in this action is an ongoing violation of applicable law. Plaintiffs seek equitable relief in asking the Court to declare the constitutionality of I-976, but because of their violation of RCW 42.17A.555, they have unclean hands and equitable relief must be denied. (Pages 9-16)
C. Because no public office or agency can lawfully be a party to this action and must be excluded as plaintiffs, a bond should be mandatory for any remaining plaintiff, and the bond should be sufficient to provide for the 45,000 man hours of work per month estimated to be necessary to refund excessive fees when 1-976 is upheld as constitutional.
D. The Court must consider the lawful record of the entirety of I-976, including the Ballot Title, the Summary, the actual language of the initiative and the description within the Voters’ Pamphlet to determine the content of the Initiative (Pages 17-19).
G. The Single Subject rule contemplates rational unity which must be construed with liberality considering all the lawful record of I-976 (Pages 19-29).
This is what a vigorous defense of I-976 looks like.
If after looking over all this clearly documented evidence of sabotage and conflicts, Judge Ferguson OK’s AG Ferguson, then the AG’s intentional sabotage of I-976 will have succeeded. And I-976 is in a kangaroo court exactly as Bob Ferguson intended.