Three state representatives rebuked ethics complaints filed against them last week by the Washington Black Lives Matter Alliance that claimed the lawmakers made “offensively inappropriate comments” toward people of color at public hearings in the Legislature.
The complaints were against Republican lawmakers Rep. Brad Klippert, of Kennewick, Rep. Jenny Graham, of Spokane, and Rep. Jim Walsh, of Aberdeen.
The representatives said in a joint statement Wednesday: “It’s our right and responsibility as elected lawmakers to ask — and answer — tough questions as we attempt to determine facts when debating future policy changes. We will not be intimidated or deterred by this partisan complaint.
“Legislative committee hearings, which are open to the public, offer an important forum for the exchange of ideas and are critical to the legislative processes.
“Partisan efforts to intimidate or bully legislators into silence set a dangerous course toward limiting political speech in the very arena where it should be protected most: the Legislature.”
The alliance claimed the questions and remarks directed at those testifying on police accountability legislation violated the Legislative Code of Conduct.
The state Legislative Ethics Board has not yet indicated whether it will take action regarding the complaints.