State Sen. Pam Roach, R-Auburn, was chastised again in writing Friday for her behavior at the Legislature.
This time, the admonishment came from Lt. Gov. Brad Owen, and it focused on how Roach treated a member of a food-industry organization who testified before the committee Roach chairs.
According to Owen’s letter, during a Feb. 5 hearing Roach engaged in a “stunningly inappropriate series of questions and comments” regarding a bill the organization supported and Roach disliked, with Roach noting the group had chosen to support her opponent in the 2014 election.
“We have never before seen such a raw and public display connecting campaign contributions to legislative action,” Owen’s letter reads.
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The letter from Owen also details a history of past Roach offenses and a few other criticisms about how she deals with staff, ultimately telling Roach she won’t be able to meet alone anymore with committee staffers.
It’s the first time Owen has issued a letter sanctioning a senator for an ongoing pattern of behavior, his office said Tuesday. Owen has been the state’s lieutenant governor, who also acts as president of the Senate, since 1997.
A few highlights from Owen’s “partial list of inappropriate behavior” by Roach:
• Roach spoke for more than one-third of her committee’s meeting time on Feb. 5, according to Owen. “People appear before your committee to provide information and answer questions; they do not appear in order to hear you talk,” Owen wrote. “Our goal is to hear from the people, not ourselves.”
• Owen told Roach her treatment of the man from the food-industry organization “mirrors your history of poor decisions.”
• “Sixteen years of inappropriate and unprofessional conduct is enough,” Owen wrote, referencing a long list of past complaints and sanctions against Roach.
Roach told a reporter Tuesday that the fact that she heard the food-industry association’s bill in the first place shows that she is a fair committee chairwoman.
"I was actually doing them a fricking favor,” Roach said. “I was doing them a favor hearing a bill I don't like.”
Below is the full copy of Owen’s four-page letter to Roach, along with the two-page complaint from the Washington Food Industries Association that prompted him to write it.
Staff writer Jordan Schrader contributed to this report.