Washington State

Office of the Attorney General

Attorney General

Bob Ferguson

May 10 2017

Dear Friends,

I firmly believe that we are a nation of laws. That means that everyone is accountable to the Constitution, no matter their status, including the President of the United States.

I will continue to fight to uphold the rights of Washingtonians and protect the Constitution. The law is a powerful tool, capable of halting an unconstitutional executive order, defending our civil rights, and holding violators of campaign finance laws accountable.

In this issue:

If you would like to see more information on my lawsuit against President Trump’s Executive Order and updates regarding the case, you can visit our landing page, which features court documents, press releases and videos.

Thank you for following the work of the Attorney General’s Office.

Sincerely,

 

 

 

Bob Ferguson
Washington State Attorney General


Challenging the President’s unconstitutional travel ban

On Monday, January 30, I filed the first lawsuit broadly challenging the constitutionality of the Trump Administration’s move to restrict immigration from several majority Muslim nations and the resettlement of refugees.  Federal judges at both the U.S. District Court level and at the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals — jurists appointed by Presidents from both political parties — all agreed that the President’s actions were unconstitutional. My lawsuit blocked implementation of the Executive Order on Feb. 3.

After weeks of delay, the Trump Administration decided to scrap its original Order and issued a revised one on Mar. 6. While the new Order was undoubtedly narrower than the first, this did not cure its unconstitutional provisions. Notably, Trump Administration officials publicly and repeatedly stated that the intent and effect of the revised Order mirrored that of the first.

The President’s new travel ban will continue to cause harm to residents of Washington, including those with relatives and spouses abroad who can no longer travel, and universities that could lose both students and faculty due to the ban.

Two key provisions of the new ban — the ban on refugees and the list of targeted Muslim-majority countries — remain subject to judicial scrutiny. These provisions include nearly identical language to the first order (although Iraq was dropped from the list of nations). By disfavoring Islam, the travel ban infringes upon the First Amendment’s Establishment Clause and the Equal Protection Clause. Additionally, the Order contravenes the federal Administrative Procedures Act — you might recall that alleged violations of that Act halted President Obama’s immigration reforms — as well as the Immigration and Nationality Act.

I am confident that the rule of law will ultimately prevail in this case.

Much like my first lawsuit, I received support from attorneys general across the nation. Oregon joined my lawsuit on March 8, and Maryland, Massachusetts, New York and California all requested to join, as well.

In addition to my lawsuit, the travel ban faced opposition from the state of Hawaii and civil rights and immigrant assistance groups in Maryland. Both of these courts found that the Executive Order violated the Constitution, and they blocked the implementation of the ban until our cases questioning the merits of the Order move forward. Our lawsuit stopped the illegal ban in its tracks, and these additional court actions ensure that it remains unimplemented.

I am incredibly proud of the teamwork of states to stem the chaos we’ve seen over recent weeks. Our successes, from the eastern seaboard to the Hawaiian islands, stemmed the real harm that this Order caused nationwide and reflect the growing coalition of states dedicated to holding the President accountable for his actions.

I’m also proud of my legal team, which has continued its hard work to bring forward a strong case against the travel ban. They have worked with me, day and night, to protect the Constitution and uphold the rule of law.   

As Attorney General, it is my duty to protect all Washingtonians. My office will hold accountable anyone, even the President of the United States, who attempts to violate our rights. 

The Seattle Times

2 federal judges find new Trump travel ban discriminatory

KIRO-7

Federal judge freezes Trump’s new travel ban

Yakima Herald

Travel ban rulings highlight trouble posed by Trump record

The Stranger

Hawaii Judge Freezes Trump's Travel Ban 2.0 Nationwide; Immigrant Rights Advocates Wait to Hear from Seattle Judge


Employer discriminatory practices violate civil rights

I will not stand by while lawbreakers violate the civil rights of Washingtonians. In late March, my office announced the largest recovery by the state in a civil rights case in Washington state history. The discriminatory practices of Mulkiteo-based Electroimpact and its president cost the company $485,000 in restitution, damages and costs.

Our investigation found evidence of a long list of outrageous conduct occurring in the company: a refusal to hire Muslim applicants, engagement in religious and national origin harassment, discrimination against employees based on their marital status and retaliation against employees who opposed the unfair practices of the company. Electroimpact president Peter Zieve allegedly screened out applicants that were or appeared to be Muslim, contradicting the company’s claim that it is an “equal opportunity employer.” He maintained a listserv of “jokes,” many of which were demeaning to Muslims, and encouraged employee participation. Some employees that disagreed with the discriminatory actions faced retaliation, including one case, in which Zieve forced the employee to leave the company.

As a result of the case, Zieve will no longer participate in evaluating individual candidates and the company will make reasonable efforts to increase its hiring of minorities, among other requirements. The discrimination and retaliation that current and potential employees faced at Electroimpact was illegal, and I will continue to enforce civil rights laws that protect employees from these types of actions.

King 5

AG: Mukilteo aerospace company discriminated against Muslims

The Daily Herald

Attorney general: ‘Outrageous’ discrimination at Electroimpact

The Seattle Times

Aerospace firm Electroimpact agrees to pay $485K after AG finds ‘shocking’ discrimination against Muslims


Providing immigration guidance to local government

There have been several changes to federal immigration policy over the past few months, and they have led to needless fear and uncertainty in Washington’s communities. Local governments across the State of Washington have sought clarity in their obligations regarding federal immigration and how they can continue to keep their residents safe. Hearing this need, I have released immigration guidance so that our communities remain safe and welcoming.

My guidance informs local entities of all kinds, including local law enforcement, jails, public hospitals, schools and employers. It also addresses interactions between local jurisdictions and federal authorities and provides model language for use in enacting laws and policies on these interactions.

I am committed to helping communities provide safety to their residents, while ensuring that they know what their legal duties are in regards to immigration policy. State and federal laws afford certain rights to all residents, regardless of their immigration status, and I will uphold those rights.

Seattle Weekly

Ferguson Releases Guidance on How Washington Cities Can Resist Immigration Agents

KUOW

A ‘sanctuary’ playbook, by the guy who beat Trump in court

The Bellingham Herald

Washington state attorney general offers immigration guidance to local jurisdictions


Upholding Washington’s campaign finance laws

Voters deserve to know who contributes to local politicians and whether politicians use those funds in an honest and lawful manner to ensure free, open and fair elections.

My office recently filed a lawsuit against Tim Eyman and his for-profit company, Tim Eyman Watchdog for Taxpayers, as well as a for-profit signature gathering firm, Citizens Solutions LLC.

My lawsuit alleges that Eyman received more than $300,000 in kickbacks from Citizen Solutions’ signature gathering for Initiative 1185. Eyman and his companies never disclosed this payment to the state Public Disclosure Commission, and Eyman admitted that he used more than $100,000 of the payment “to provide for his family.” Eyman redirected much of the remaining payment to fund signatures for another of his initiatives, I-517, without disclosing himself as the contributor.

If the court finds that all violations in the case are proven and found intentional, Eyman could face penalties of more than $1.8 million. I also will ask the court to order Eyman to reimburse the $308,185 to his committee.

Eyman’s actions were a gross violation of campaign finance laws, and actions like his are why I have committed more resources to enforcing them.

Q13    

State accuses Tim Eyman of violating campaign laws, pocketing money from supporters

The Seattle Times

AG sues Tim Eyman for $2M, says he profited from campaigns

SeattlePI

AG Ferguson hits initiative promoter Eyman with $2.1 million campaign violations suit

 


Working Across Washington 

This month, I traveled around Eastern Washington and spoke with people and organizations throughout the region. My travels took me from Yakima and the Tri-Cities to Pullman and Spokane.  I discussed a range of cases and initiatives underway by my office, from protecting Hanford workers to my victory in the Consumer Protection case against Arlene’s Flowers.

My first stop was the Tri-Cities Hispanic Chamber of Commerce’s luncheon, where I discussed the latest consumer protection cases.

Next, I made my way to Sunnyside to visit the Sunnyside Rotary, where I spoke with the group about current events in my office, including our legislative agenda, followed by a visit with the Yakima Herald Republic. In Pullman, I stopped by the Foley Institute for “Coffee and Politics,” after dropping by WSU’s Daily Evergreen student newspaper.

Spokane was the last stop on my swing through Eastern Washington. After speaking with local news outlets, I had the pleasure to speak with Gonzaga law students, who were keenly interested in the travel ban litigation.  

Since my trip to Gonzaga, I have spoken with students at universities and high schools all over the state. I had the opportunity to share what makes me proud to be a public servant and why cases like the travel ban are so important for all Washingtonians. My visits took me from Seattle University School of Law to the The Evergreen State College in Olympia to Vashon High School on Vashon Island.

Tri-City Herald
State attorney general targets student loans, other consumer protections

KAPP-TV/KVEW-TV

Attorney general who sued Obama, Trump travels Eastern Washington

Northwest Public Radio

Ferguson: Travel Ban Lawsuit Is Victory For Checks And Balances

The Daily

Challenging the President: Attorney General Ferguson visits UW Law


 

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