March 18, 2009
Drama in the WSLC email fumble - UPDATED

Public release of emails reveals a large number of House Democrats who were not thrilled about the prospect of having to vote for the "worker privacy" bill on floor, but might well have done so if confronted with the choice of good policy v. organized labor.

By the count at the link above, regarding an email between a Boeing lobbyists and the Governor's temporary adviser on Boeing issues, shows eleven Democrats, including Majority Leader Lynn Kessler, as in that quandary - with an additional four "no" votes.

This remains one of the more entertaining dust-ups in recent memory in Olympia. Not because anything wildly new or different happened, just that key components of the affair ended up being widely publicized in an unusual way.

Example: the AP story to which the TNT's coverage refers has a great clip:

"This sort of e-mail, as far as we know, is relatively unusual. So it was a cause for concern, and our review was certainly understandable," DeVere said. The patrol will send its files to the Public Disclosure Commission, which regulates campaign finance rules, DeVere said. [emphasis added]

This reminds me of the time in college I got hauled before a faculty jury after shaving the eyebrow off of a fellow student after he had passed out in the dorm after a few too many (don't ask, but I received many compliments from my peers in the following weeks for giving that which was so richly deserved in this case). One of the professors tasked with overseeing my "trial" inquired with the "prosecutor" as to how many incidents of eyebrow shaving had been reported on campus in the previous year.

That would be none, because people usually have the good sense (or appropriate embarrassment) not to report such things. Does that mean eyebrow shaving never happens as a prank on college campuses or politically charged emails are never sent between interest groups and elected officials?

Not exactly.

Just because the email is a novelty to some, doesn't mean its anything really anything atypical...though you might see more selective use of the phrase "not another dime" in the future, for appearances sake.

UPDATE: the plot thickens, in addition to Rep. Mike Sells likening the Democratic leadership to the Evergreen Freedom Foundation (thems fightin' words in a Democratic caucus), Rep. Geoff Simpson is going to the mat as well.

Posted by Eric Earling at March 18, 2009 02:32 PM | Email This
1. I guess it's of no concern to you that the TNT coverage includes emails from Boeing lobbyists who are bossing around the folks in our Governor's Office like they are on the company payroll.

If you don't like the way sausage is made, don't watch. But if you do, don't try to pretend that only the competition's methods appear unsavory.

Posted by: LaborGoon on March 18, 2009 02:25 PM
2. Look who's back, Labor Pimp! If you don't like having your sausage making skills exposed to the public, stop bribing public officials. The difference is you are suprised that you got caught. One could only hope that the PDC would find you in violation of numerous ethic's laws, but they won't because the majority was appointed by your bought and paid for Governor.

Posted by: Smokie on March 18, 2009 03:00 PM
3. Goon -

I don't think anyone was bossing anyone around. That's pretty typical language from a high level political supporter/organization expressing deep concern to an elected official. Which you yourself should know.

I'm sure there has never been any such language used by a labor union official expressing concern to an elected official when a piece of legislation important to the business community but opposed by labor was on the cusp of passage, right?

Meanwhile, if you have trouble with Boeing earnestly expressing their case to elected officials, I'm sure you won't mind when they've finally had enough and decide to move the next 787 line, or their similar such next batch of jobs, to some other state?

Perhaps when it reaches the point where Democratic leadership across the board doesn't want to put up with it anymore, especially in so public a way, maybe they're a little weary of what you guys keep insisting upon?

Posted by: Eric Earling on March 18, 2009 03:16 PM
4. I've said it before and I'll say it again, this bill was a dog (a bad and ugly dog) that legislative leaders needed to find a way to dispose of -- and quickly. There is no question who the labor community will support in upcoming elections, so they risked nothing in exposing the e-mail. The threats are typical of the WSLC, we've heard them before (so it's not surprising the WSLC lobbyist didn't think twice about putting it in writing). It is my deepest wish that someday union leaders would wake up to the fact that they are killing jobs in our state.

Posted by: Renee Radcliff Sinclair on March 19, 2009 08:31 AM
5. The thing that never ceases to amuse me in this case:

An e-mail was sent from a high-ranking union lobbyist. It was copied to D legislators. In response, the D Speaker of the House, the D Majority Leader and the D Governor killed the bill.

And who do people like laborgoon blame? Business.

Get over yourselves. You screwed the pooch on this and your Olympia leadership rolled you in the process.

Don't blame us because you can't find your clothes in the morning and you can't remember how you ended up in some guy's bed. And don't blame us when you find yourself in the exact, same situation the next morning.

Posted by: jimg on March 19, 2009 09:31 AM
6. On what planet would a labor leader agree to send money to a political party whose 3 top leaders were actively blocking a vote on that union's No. 1 bill?! This isn't a bribe. It isn't extortion. This isn't even a threat. It's common sense. If my Union President had done anything other than snap the checkbook shut, I'd call for his/her head on a platter.

The news here is that most powerful Democrats in the state think it's a crime to suggest withholding future contributions to their political party, even as they work to kill the contributors' legislative priority without a vote.

Posted by: LaborGoon on March 19, 2009 01:05 PM
7. To the good ex-legislator @ 4:

You are wrong to assume labor will blindly support Democrats. There is another place to go. No, not to the party that actively opposes their interests in the light of day (as opposed to behind closed doors).

The other place to go on Election Day is NOWHERE. As in closing the checkbook. As in staying home.

Like in 1994, when union household turnout was the lowest it had ever been before or since. And it wasn't because of some coordinated self-defeating strategy concocted by union leaders. And it wasn't because a bunch of Old White Men in Suits signed a Contract With America.

It was because rank-and-file union members lost faith in Democrats who screwed them on NAFTA and more. Some switched and voted Republican that year. Many others couldn't do that in good conscience, so they just stayed home.

So all you right-wingers, enjoy the popcorn and the show. When prominent Democrats publicly turn their backs on their consituency groups, it's great news for you: Fewer people voting!

(I know, be still your beating hearts.)

Posted by: LaborGoon on March 19, 2009 03:01 PM
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