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WAGOP Policy Paper on the Importance of Freedom of Speech

Freedom of speech and freedom of conscience—the right to believe what you want to believe without being punished or discriminated against by the government—are under attack in WA state.

In defense of our Constitutional rights, WAGOP Chairman Jim Walsh, recently, unveiled the Republican party’s Policy Project on the Freedom of Speech. “We are going to aggressively defend essential Constitutional freedoms and rights. Free speech is the first amendment in the Constitution, and it’s first for a reason,” says Chairman Walsh.

A series of troubling actions by state bureaucrats, including the recent passage of SB 5427, are shining a spotlight on ways current progressive elected officials in our state are trampling upon our First Amendment rights.

The bill’s description reads: “Supporting people who have been targeted or affected by hate crimes and bias incidents by establishing a reporting hotline and tracking hate crimes and bias incidents.”

SB 5427 authorizes the attorney general’s office to oversee a “snitch line” for alleged hate crimes, by an anonymous snitch. In other words, someone can be investigated and prosecuted by hearsay.

“If a crime is a crime, people should call local law enforcement. They should pursue justice through our exiting process. They shouldn’t call an 800-number where an anonymous complaint involving real people is made to an attorney general, who in some cases—historically—has been a politically-ambitious individual,” says Chairman Walsh in his recent weekly update.”

Fortunately, a $2,000 bounty offered to those making the anonymous complaints, stipulated in an early draft of the bill, was removed.

At the same time, Attorney General Bob Ferguson supports bills that create misinformation commissions. As Chairman Walsh explains, “misinformation and disinformation” were politically- charged terms from the Cold War used by authoritarian regimes to criminalize free speech.

WAGOP is defending freedom of speech and freedom of conscience against a backdrop of disregard for individual freedoms.

The First Amendment guarantees freedoms concerning religion, expression, assembly, and the right to petition. It also forbids Congress from  promoting one religion over others and also restricting an individual’s religious practices.
The First Amendment is neither “left-wing” or “right-wing”—though it’s mostly conservative viewpoints that are flagged as “disinformation” or “misinformation,” by government bureaucrats, the corporate media, and tech companies like Meta (formerly Facebook)—to chill free speech that counters prevailing narratives. Covid-19 was just one example. There are myriad others.

In late November 2023, for example, the WAGOP filed a complaint with the Washington State Executive Ethics Board against WA Secretary of State Steve Hobbs for using taxpayer money to surveil critics with dissenting viewpoints, especially on election integrity, which is a violation of the Washington State Constitution and ethics rules. The Executive Board enforces the Ethics in Public Service Act, RCW 42.52. The full complaint can be read here.

“Filing this Executive Ethics Board complaint is unfortunate but necessary. It is wrong for the WA Secretary of State to use taxpayers’ money to hire a UK-based cyber-sleuthing firm to surveil what his critics and political opponents read, write, or share on the internet,” said Chairman Walsh, at the time.

“It is a violation of state laws and ethics rules on the use of public resources. More importantly, it is an intimidation tactic to chill free speech and what the Washington State Constitution calls ‘absolute freedom of conscience’—a value often associated with freedom of religion but, in fact, much broader,” added Chairman Walsh.

Progressive elected officials in Washington state, including Governor Jay Inslee, Attorney General Bob Ferguson, Secretary of State Steve Hobbs, and others have abandoned freedom of speech; it is a threat to their power.

Silencing voters with snitch lines, “misinformation” commissions, and illegal contracts with AI snooping firms at taxpayer expense—speaks volumes. Their power depends on keeping voters intimidated and silent.
As renowned author, psychologist, and First Amendment advocate Jordan Peterson reminds us: “Freedom of speech is not just a fundamental right, but the cornerstone of all human rights.”