As State Senate lawmakers continue to investigate the Department of Corrections (DOC) over its early prisoner release scandal, former Corrections Secretary Bernie Warner has come under scrutiny. Committee Chairman Mike Padden has sent a letter to Jay Inslee requesting information related to Warner, as the Seattle Times reports:
“Among other things, Padden asked for copies of emails, texts and other communications between Warner and members of the governor’s office, including Inslee.
“Padden also requested information related to Warner’s calendar schedule and travel-related documents from his time as secretary.”
The probe into Warner comes after a report issued by Inslee’s office claimed that the former corrections secretary, who headed the DOC from July 2011 to October 2015, did not know about the early prisoner releases and that he bore no responsibility for the scandal. These claims were very much at odds with statements given to the Senate by former officials of the DOC testifying under oath (which they did not do in Inslee’s “investigation”).
As Shift speculated, Inslee’s hesitancy to hold Warner to greater accountability may have a lot to do with his past glowing reviews of his performance.
Inslee’s office reacted angrily with a statement over the lawmakers’ request. Spokeswoman Jaime Smith said, “At this point, they’ve spent hundreds of thousands of dollars and thousands and thousands of staff hours, and have not produced anything of note… I’m struggling to understand what it is that they’re looking for at this point.”
That a Inslee administration flak would be “struggling to understand” why the public needs answers from her boss about this scandal is not a surprise. After all, Inslee’s response to any criticism is generally to attack those asking the questions, so that he does not have to actually answer them.
Just to be clear, for an astonishing 13 years (under three different Democrat governors since 2002), an “error” at the DOC led to the early release of up to 3,700 inmates. DOC officials knew about the “error” since at least 2012, but did nothing. The deaths of two innocent people have been linked to men who should have still been in prison.
So, “what is it that GOP lawmakers are looking for”, (just so Ms. Smith understands)? Maybe it’s “accountability” —something that is severely lacking in Inslee’s administration.
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