Has legal watchdog John Worthington opened a can of worms on Washington State and the entire I-502 rules making process and legislative bill lobbying? It looks like most of the groups involved are recipients of federal grant money, and federal law appears to prohibit them from lobbying with that money. Read the full letter he sent out that contains public records documents to back up his claims…
Executive Office for United States Attorneys
United States Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Room 2242
Washington, DC 20530-0001
Senate Appropriations Committee
Room S128, The Capitol
Washington, DC 20510
House Appropriations Committee
H-305, The Capitol
Washington DC 20515
1229 King Street, 3rd floor
Alexandria, Virginia 22314
In 2012 Washington State passed Initiative 1-502. After the Initiative had passed it was discovered through public access laws in December of2014 that the Washington State Liquor Control board travelled around the State of Washington and held 17 secret meetings with law enforcement and treatment professionals.
Aside from the fact that these acts violated the Washington State Open Public Meetings Act, it is now clear that many of these law enforcement and treatment organizations were receiving federal grants which by law may have prohibited them from lobbying and distributing information.
However, that is what happened here in Washington State on a grand scale, and the U.S. Attorneys for Washington were both aware of these events where many other federal agencies also attended these secret public meetings.
I believe that this situation may be the worst violation of 18 U.S. Code § 1913 -Lobbying with appropriated moneys, in United States history. Numerous grant receiving entities may have violated 18 U.S. Code § 1913, in a desperate attempt to save their respective jobs which were obviously on the line here in Washington State after the passage of l-502, the marijuana legalization initiative.
As many of you know we are a nation of laws that have to be applied evenly and fairly if the public confidence is to be kept intact. While it may be uncomfortable for some in Congress to hold these entities involved accountable to the law, it is in fact a law and it should be upheld regardless of your feelings on the issues of marijuana or drug abuse. These people signed federal grants under a declaration that federal grant monies would not be: used directly or indirectly to pay for any personal service, advertisement, telegram, telephone, letter, printed or written matter, or other device, intended or designed to influence in any manner a Member of Congress, a jurisdiction, or an official of any government, to favor, adopt, or oppose, by vote or otherwise, any legislation, law, ratification, policy, or appropriation, whether before or after the introduction of any bill, measure, or resolution proposing such legislation, law, ratification, policy, or appropriation; of any bill, measure, or resolution proposing such legislation, law, ratification, policy, or appropriation;
Now, after meeting with the Washington State Liquor Control Board on 17 different occasions and perhaps more, the following federal grant recipients are subject to the provisions of 18 U.S. Code § 1913:
- Northwest HIDTA
- Spokane County Multi-Jurisdictional Drug Task Force
- LEAD Multi-Jurisdictional Drug Task Force
- Substance Abuse Prevention of Clark County
- Washington Association for Substance Abuse violence Prevention
- Washington State Prevention Enhancement (SPE)
The following federal grant recipient sent employees employed by programs which were receiving federal funding:
- Washington State Patrol-lAD Division (In charge or Multi-Jurisdictional Drug Task Forces)
The reality is the Washington State Liquor Control Board enabled many federal grant recipients to circumvent their statement of assurances which they signed agreeing not to use federal grant funding for lobbying purposes. I would not at all surprise me if the same thing happened in Colorado, Alaska, or DC.
Please hold these federal grant recipients accountable for their violations of federal laws.
PS. It has been argued and won in Federal court that state employees under federal grants are subject to the Westfall Act, and subject to the Federal Tort Claims Act as a “loaned state employee” or “Borrowed servant.” They can’t have it both ways. The Loaned employee’s violated 18 U.S. Code § 1913: Please check for their reporting. http://www.ioos.noaa.gov/library/grantsgovsflll.pdf