Sen. Claire Wilson’s office reserved a room at the state capital campus for campaign activities. When Senate Republicans discovered the violation and complained to Senate Democrats the morning of the event – February 25, 2019 – they were told that ‘It was too late to do anything about it.’
Senate Republicans then complained to Senate Administration and informed them that they would be bringing an Ethics violation against all who were involved in the clearly illegal activity. Senate Administration then pulled the plug on the planned illegal activity.
The complaint was filed with the Legislative Ethics Board. Using the Capitol campus room for campaign activities was indeed deemed illegal, but Sen. Claire Wilson was saved from sanction because when Senate Republicans found out the morning of the event, they insisted that the activity be stopped.
Sen. Claire Wilson was a 2017 graduate of the campaign organization she was trying to help (Emerge WA). She also gave a promotional speech on the floor of the Senate for the campaign class which was supposed to happen in WA state room facilities in less than two hours.
The Legislative Ethics Board found that the Constitution protected Sen. Claire Wilson from civil prosecution “for words spoken in debate.” Clearly if one of her staffers were to give the same speech on the Capitol campus, they would have been found guilty of using state resources to promote a campaign.
The campaign class which was canceled on February 25, had already used Capitol campus rooms for campaign training on February 23 and 24. In that instance, Sen. Sam Hunt’s office reserved the rooms. Sen. Hunt was found guilty of violating the law and was fined. Sen. Wilson only was saved from that fate by Senate Republicans getting the campaign school canceled by the Senate Administration when the Senate Democrats refused to do it.
“Senate Democrats and Sen. Claire Wilson act like they are above the law,” said Justin Matheson, Senate Campaign Committee Executive Director.
“One if the most outrageous things about this, is Sen. Claire Wilson and Democrat Senators seem to casually think it is ok to use taxpayer dollars to promote campaigns,” said Matheson.
“I have a couple questions that the press should ask Sen. Claire Wilson, Matheson stated. “Was Wilson’s campaign training in 2017 held on the Capitol Campus? And who else from the Senate Democrats have gone through this campaign training using state resources to do so?”
“This information about the Senate Democrats — and Sen. Claire Wilson in particular — shows that they will flaunt any law in order to hold onto power,” stated Matheson. “Sen. Wilson should publicly apologize to the people in her district for flaunting the law.”