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AG Bob Ferguson is M-I-A, amid glaring mismanagement of COVID aid by Inslee Administration

Bellevue—WA Governor Jay Inslee’s Administration mismanaged more than a billion dollars of federal COVID relief funds, according to a scathing report by the Office of the Washington State Auditor. Complicit WA Attorney General Bob Ferguson, the state’s chief law enforcement official and a candidate for governor, has ignored this widespread misuse of taxpayer funds—reflecting his disregard for the rule of law.

Specifically, eleven agencies failed to comply with federal grant rules or fully account for $1.17 billion in COVID relief money. The Auditor’s report listed a staggering 86 findings—a record number—against state agencies between July 2022 and June 2023.

“Failure to hold state bureaucratic agencies accountable and his weak record on crime illustrate why AG Bob Ferguson is the wrong choice for our next governor,” says WAGOP Chairman Jim Walsh.

“But this latest scandal is about more than just one politician’s shortcomings,” adds Chairman Walsh. “Ferguson’s failure to act reflects the decadence of the political establishment he represents. Washington needs change—new governor, new attorney general, new commissioner of public lands, new elections chief, new insurance commissioner. Ferguson isn’t change. He’s more of the same. Mismanagement. Incompetence. Failure.”

Meanwhile, the WA Department of Children, Youth, and Families (DCYF), which oversees Child Protective Services, received 16 findings, more than any other agency this year. “Auditors flagged a combined $473 million in questioned largely based on repeat issues with program compliance and documentation on child care and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families programs,” according to reporting from Crosscut.

Especially troubling is the fact that half of this year’s findings involved repeat spending or tracking problems that auditors had identified previously—further illustrating the current AG’s indifference to transparency and failure to hold the Inslee Administration accountable for the egregious mismanagement of pandemic relief funds.

WAGOP-endorsed candidate for State Attorney General Pete Serrano also weighed in on the report’s findings on X: “$1.17 BILLION in missing funds?! You’ve got to be kidding me! Why hasn’t our AG looked into this? As your next AG, I will investigate this egregious mismanagement of taxpayer funds. Many folks struggling during and after the Pandemic needed this relief aid. WA deserves better!”

Serrano is right. Washington state deserves better from its elected officials. In the meantime, there seems to be no end to  Ferguson’s abuse of power.

Last month, Democrat Ferguson abused his authority when he demanded that Secretary of State Steve Hobbs scramble the order on the Nov. ballot to benefit his gubernatorial campaign—potentially violating state law RCW 9A.80.010.1a.

A few weeks earlier, Ferguson was discovered at the center of shameless pay-for-play scheme, favoring him over his Democrat rival state Sen. Mark Mullet. “WA Democrats’ sleazy practice of selling their Party endorsements is getting more traction in the media, including The Seattle Times and The Spokesman-Review—and also in the minds of Washington voters,” said Chairman Walsh, at the time.

A year before that, in May 2023, a Washington judge fined Ferguson’s office and the Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) $200,000, for “egregious and cavalier” withholding of evidence involving neglect of a developmentally disabled woman at an assisted living facility in Kent. (In the current report by the Office of the Washington State Auditor, DSHS received 12 findings and more than $312 million in questioned costs—reflecting a pattern of abuse by the state.)

And there’s more. From setting up constitutionally-dubious snitch lines and misinformation commissions, to sending “Fishy Fergie” checks/bribes to voters—even dead people—to benefit his political campaign, Ferguson proves repeatedly, that he is not fit to be governor. His lust for power corresponds to his disregard for civil liberties and also crime, as evidenced by his support for defunding the police efforts and decriminalizing drugs.

If only the Seattle media would hold him accountable for any of this, the way the State Auditor has about the mismanagement federal COVID grants.