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Gov. Jay Inslee (D., Wash.) speaks to reporters during a recent news conference in Seattle. PHOTO: GENE JOHNSON/ASSOCIATED PRESS

Whistleblower on Cost of Climate Policies Gets His Day in Court

Accountability may finally arrive for Washington Gov. Jay Inslee’s green cover-up.

Original Article by By  James Freeman WSJ –  ET

Last year this column noted that the whoppers told by Gov. Jay Inslee (D., Wash.) to sell his climate agenda were being exposed by spiking gasoline prices. Now a legal reckoning may be on the way. In early 2023, as Team Inslee continued to peddle bogus claims of a cheap transition to the governor’s “cap-and-invest” system, a state government economist was warning officials that prices at the pump were about to surge. The economist now says that officials did worse than ignore him.

Susannah Frame reports for Seattle’s NBC affiliate KING-TV:

A whistleblower lawsuit against the Washington State Department of Transportation will proceed, according to a Washington judge’s ruling on June 21.

In March, a former state economist filed a lawsuit against his former employer, the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT), the governor’s office and its budget wing, the Office of Financial Management (OFM), for allegedly retaliating against him for refusing to keep quiet about his economic forecast on the state’s gas price…

Last year Ms. Frame reported for KING-TV:

For the last five years, Scott Smith of Tumwater was a transportation planner for the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT). He was the primary WSDOT employee tasked with forecasting fuel consumption, pricing and revenues from gas taxes and fees. After 35 years working as a public sector economist, Smith said his career was ruined for his refusal to lie about how a new state policy, according to his mathematical calculations in early 2023, would jack up prices at the pump by 45 to 50 cents per gallon. He said the retaliation and pressure were so great he felt forced to resign.

When gas prices surged, did the governor admit fault, say that he should have listened to people warning about consumer pain and urge repeal of his costly disaster? No, Mr. Inslee went out in public and railed against corporate “greed.”

Back at the office, the governor should have been giving Mr. Smith a promotion. If Mr. Smith’s complaint is accurate, the Inslee administration’s treatment of him was essentially the opposite.

Team Inslee might have thought they had put a lid on this issue last month. Isabella Breda reported for the Seattle Times:

An investigation conducted by a law firm on behalf of the state Department of Transportation has found no merit to most of the claims made by a former economist for the agency who alleged he was forced out of his job for “refusing to violate state law and lie” about how he believed the state’s carbon-pricing program was affecting gas prices.

But Ms. Breda also reported:

The report acknowledges that some of the individuals who were requested to be interviewed declined to do so, and “it is unknown whether any information they could have provided would have changed any of the findings in this investigation.”

The court should allow the public to hear from them now.

Such testimony would be especially welcome and timely because a November ballot initiative will give Evergreen State voters a chance to repeal the Inslee climate program.

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Speaking of Failed Former Presidential Candidates

Writing at his Slow Boring blog, Matthew Yglesias advances his theory that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is to blame for the Democratic Party’s descent into wokeness. Specifically, he blames her 2016 response to the surprising popularity of socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont during the presidential primary campaign. Mrs. Clinton sought to counter him by tacking to the cultural left. An old-school Marxist, Mr. Sanders tended to think that all workers were oppressed, and he hadn’t spent much time whining about race and gender. This left an opening for Mrs. Clinton to attract radicals by indulging theories about structural racism and sexism. But how many Americans are really that radical?

Mr. Yglesias makes the case that many young voters were simply voting for Mr. Sanders as a protest against Mrs. Clinton. The cranky socialist was just a vehicle. Mr. Yglesias summarizes his argument in an X post:

My grand theory of recent American politics: 1. Bernie shocked Hillary by doing well in Iowa based on pretty normal stuff like he opposed invading Iraq and didn’t do buckraking speeches. 2. Hillary responded by taking a cynical hard turn toward identity politics. 3. This backfired and she did *worse* with white Democrats in post-Iowa contests than she’d done in Iowa. 4. But she ultimately beat Bernie which mainstream Dems interpreted as a vindication of her strategy. 5. Leftists perversely *also* decided that her failed strategy worked, took her cynical critiques to heart, and started doubling down on identity stuff themselves.

Back at Slow Boring Mr. Yglesias writes of the Democratic party:

So while the question in the 2016 primary was something like, “should we move left on identity or on economics?” the answer ended up being, “let’s do both.”

Mr. Yglesias acknowledges that many people, including “some people involved in BernieWorld”, don’t agree with him. But there’s a good reason for this, and for Mrs. Clinton’s mistake. Hard-core Sandernistas like to believe that their campaign caught fire because lots of Americans want socialism. And Mrs. Clinton perhaps reasonably also figured that young people were voting for the socialist because he’s a socialist.

Whether political ambition or political accident led the Democratic party to its current state, perhaps the appeal of socialism has been overrated while Mr. Sanders has been running anti-establishment primary campaigns against Washington swamp creatures like Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden