Bob Ferguson at the LWV December Meeting

Posted December 15, 2021 at 5:20 am by

Sto­ry by Louise Dustrude…

Attorney General Bob Ferguson

Wash­ing­ton state attor­ney gen­er­al Bob Fer­gu­son spoke at the Decem­ber meet­ing of the League of Women Vot­ers on Mon­day about the great vari­ety of issues cur­rent­ly being con­front­ed by his office.

Speak­ing to the group on Zoom, he called his office “the largest law firm in the state,” and said they rep­re­sent every state agency. He said his office doesn’t make pol­i­cy: “We give advice, they decide.”

The office recent­ly con­front­ed elec­tion integri­ty in the case of Loren Culp, a los­ing can­di­date for gov­er­nor, who after his loss filed a series of law­suits against the state. Attor­neys have an eth­i­cal oblig­a­tion not to file friv­o­lous law­suits, and after the AG’s office chal­lenged Culp on those grounds he with­drew his suits “with prej­u­dice,” mean­ing he can nev­er file them again.

Fer­gu­son also said, “We filed a suit against the post­mas­ter gen­er­al, joined by oth­er states, for fail­ing to deliv­er our Novem­ber 2020 bal­lots in a time­ly man­ner, and we won.” It was “a huge case for elec­tion integrity.”

A cur­rent pri­or­i­ty in the office is “lit­i­ga­tion against cor­po­ra­tions that we believe fueled the opi­oid cri­sis…. Oth­er states signed on to a set­tle­ment grant­i­ng a life­time legal shield to the Sack­ler-Pur­due fam­i­ly, which we believe the judge didn’t have the author­i­ty to do,” so Wash­ing­ton is still pur­su­ing the case in court.

Fer­gu­son then said he would respond to questions:

Susan Mar­tin thanked him “for the lead­er­ship you took against the pre­vi­ous administration’s immi­gra­tion poli­cies,” and he respond­ed, “Yes, there is no Mus­lim ban, and the Dream­ers are still here…. Many of our suits are still ongo­ing; there are still dozens of cas­es…. Just recent­ly we won a case against GEO Cor­po­ra­tion which was pay­ing immi­grants in cus­tody one dol­lar a day for jan­i­to­r­i­al work while they were being held.” The cor­po­ra­tion was ordered to pay mil­lions in back pay.

In rela­tion to school vio­lence, Pati Otley asked what leg­is­la­tion relat­ing to firearms he might be sub­mit­ting to the leg­is­la­ture, and he said, “This year we’re propos­ing bans on the sale of assault weapons and high-capac­i­ty mag­a­zines…. I am con­fi­dent if these came to a vote they would pass.” — the prob­lem is get­ting the leg­is­la­ture to bring such pro­pos­als to a vote.

Gay Gra­ham asked, “What is the state of Wash­ing­ton doing for indige­nous women” (fac­ing vio­lence) “and what are you plan­ning to do?” He replied, “We’re lead­ing a task force on that,” (the Wash­ing­ton State Miss­ing and Mur­dered Indige­nous Women and Peo­ple (MMIW/P Task Force). “We can’t pass leg­is­la­tion on our own, but we can make sug­ges­tions to the leg­is­la­ture. We’re just get­ting start­ed.” He added that “there is a lot of infor­ma­tion on that on our web site.”

Super­in­ten­dent of schools Fred Wood asked what to expect regard­ing the var­i­ous Covid-relat­ed man­dates ordered by the gov­er­nor, includ­ing masks, many of which have been chal­lenged in court, and Fer­gu­son respond­ed, “Our work is to defend any state law. Since the pan­dem­ic began the gov­er­nor has issued many, many orders, and we have won every case (defend­ing them).”

Michael Mar­tin asked a ques­tion about con­sumer pro­tec­tion against ran­somware and “Do you have enough resources and legal horse­pow­er for those kinds of cas­es?” He respond­ed, “Yes. A few years ago we had only nine attor­neys in that field, but we have increased our resources sig­nif­i­cant­ly and we now have over 30 attor­neys in it. My goal is to have the largest con­sumer pro­tec­tion divi­sion in the coun­try, some fund­ed by the leg­is­la­ture and some fund­ed internally.”

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Categories: Government, People

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