Cost of Senate DOC probe increases to $125,000

OLYMPIA — A Senate panel Tuesday allocated an additional $75,000 to an investigator hired to help that chamber with its inquiry into the erroneous early release of prisoners in Washington state.

The money approved in an early morning 4-3 vote by the Facilities and Operations Committee is on top of the $50,000 cap the committee initially set last month, when the committee approved the hiring of Mark Bartlett, a partner at the firm of Davis Wright Tremaine. The cost of the Senate probe now exceeds the $110,000 spent on the two former federal prosecutors hired by Democratic Gov. Jay Inslee for the separate investigation he began in late December.

In a letter to the committee, Republican Sens. Mike Padden and Steve O’Ban said that Bartlett and his attorneys have interviewed at least 25 people and have reviewed more than 70,000 pages of documents.

“Because we are utilizing a different process than the Governor, we can allow the press and public to see for themselves key personnel testify under oath,” they wrote. “The press and public can then form their own judgments, rather than just accept conclusions by lawyers arrived at behind closed doors.”

The move by Senate Republicans comes a day after the Senate Law and Justice Committee held its first formal hearing on the software coding error that led to the early release of up to 3,200 prisoners since 2002 because of miscalculated sentences. At least two deaths have been tied to the early releases.

On Monday, Inslee notified the chairman of the Senate Law and Justice Committee that his investigation was complete and would be made public later this week.

“From my perspective it would have been dramatically better to have the governor’s investigators come present their findings to us and then ask Mr. Bartlett if we were going to engage a separate investigation to look and try to identify what gaps there might be and focus our resources on that rather than inventing the wheel for the third time,” Democratic Sen. Jamie Pedersen said after Monday’s hearing.

But in their letter to the committee, Padden and O’Ban argued that rather than wait for the details of the governor’s investigation to be made public, the money for the Senate investigator allows the committee “to do a full, independent investigation in a timely manner.”

Talk to us

More in Local News

An emergency responder uses a line to navigate the steep slope along a Forest Service road where seven people were injured Saturday when a vehicle went off the road near the Boulder River trailhead west of Darrington. (Darrington Fire District)
7 hurt in crash off cliff west of Darrington; 1 airlfited

A vehicle crashed on a forest service road near Boulder River, leading to a major rescue operation.

The aftermath of a fire that damaged a unit at the Villas at Lakewood apartment complex in Marysville on Saturday. (Marysville Fire District)
2 families displaced by Marysville apartment fire

Nobody was injured when the fire broke out Saturday morning on 27th Avenue NE.

Mukilteo asks for input on housing density, and it’s complicated

Here’s a guide to what voters should know about the advisory ballot measure. What does it actually do?

Kevin Gallagher (from the Snohomish County Official Local Voters’ Pamphlet November 2, 2021 General Election)
Kevin Gallagher, a Marysville City Council candidate, dies

Kevin Gallagher, 52, died at home of natural causes. He was challenging incumbent Councilmember Tom King.

Clouds hover over the waters off Everett's western edge Monday morning. (Sue Misao / The Herald)
Get ready for La Niña and a soggy winter in Snohomish County

After a hot, dry summer, Washington feels like Washington again. Damp. Gray. Normal.

Top (L-R): Louis Harris, Peter Zieve, Kevin Stoltz. Bottom (L-R): Tom Jordal, Steve Schmalz, Alex Crocco.
Race for Mukilteo City Council is a mix of old and new names

Housing, waterfront and public safety top the list of concerns for candidates.

A $10,000 taxidermied grizzly bear for sale at the new Everett Consignment on Wednesday, Sept. 29, 2021 in Everett, Wa. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Oh my! An Instagram wonderland of loveseats, rhinos and bears

Everett Consignment in the former Bramble building has 60,000 square feet of new and vintage items.

Downtown Coupeville on Whidbey Island, March 2021. (Harry Anderson)
Whidbey Island real estate prices continue to climb

Despite a slight lull in August and September, it continues to be a seller’s market on Whidbey.

Gold Bar man airlifted after trying to start fire with gas

The man suffered severe burns after he used gasoline to start a fire in his yard.

Most Read