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Eye On Olympia

Tue., March 18, 2008, 8:22 p.m.

“Exposed his backside” allegations “factually deceptive”

The Tacoma News Tribune's Niki Sullivan tonight posted excerpts from a unusual e-mail apparently sent by Sen. Pam Roach. It blasts Republican leaders in the Senate, notably Senate Minority Leader Mike Hewitt, R-Walla Walla.

Roach says her caucus leaders are attacking fellow Republican senators "to stifle the growing unrest of failed leadership." Roach also says she missed being elected minority leader by a single vote last year, and says the caucus is doing a lousy job of building a platform and recruiting viable candidates.

"Our leadership is a disaster," the e-mail says. "We offer no plan for regaining the majority, we have no money to support viable candidates and now we attack our own."

She adds that she's been accused of criticizing leadership around staff members.

Okay. But then it gets interesting, accusing Hewitt of verbally abusing members in caucus and claiming that he

"has bent and exposed his backside to a female senator while screaming at her during a caucus meeting."

Pardon?

"He is a desperate man with personal problems,"
Roach quotes herself as saying.

"Our leadership is drowning and like those who drown they are lashing out at and pulling down those who may be able to save them. Hewitt's personal issues and unprofessional conduct will drop us even further into the abyss of becoming a meaningless entity."

And much more. Click on Niki's link above for the full enchilada.

But as I'm thinking this is some sort of early April fool's joke or a flat-out hoax -- mooning each other in the caucus room? Come on -- along comes a Republican news release which confirms that the e-mail is real.

"Last week, Senate Republican leadership disciplined Sen. Pam Roach on a personnel matter," it says. "In response, Sen. Roach issued a news release last evening attacking Sen. Mike Hewitt and caucus leadership."

Hewitt is unavailable due to a medical procedure, says the release, issued by Sens. Linda Parlette, Mark Schoesler and Dale Brandland.

"Sen. Roach has distorted events that happened off campus to distract attention from internal personnel issues for which she was disciplined," it continues.

(Note to GOP: It's working.)

"We cannot discuss personnel issues in the press."

(Umm, why not? This is not a worker being disciplined by a private company. These are elected officials serving in their official capacities.)

But the thing that got my attention as I was scrolling through my 62 emails today was this:

"Finally, Sen. Roach's allegation that Sen. Hewitt `exposed his backside to a female senator' is factually deceptive and personally harmful. We are disappointed that Sen. Roach has decided to make a private personnel matter public."

UPDATE: The critical missing detail, it seems, was that the backside in question apparently remained clothed at all times.

The Tri-City Herald's intrepid Chris Mulick got to the bottom of things with a story in today's paper:

During the meeting, she said a dispute arose after she requested voter lists for all caucus members and that she and Hewitt came close together in a small living room.

She acknowledged flashing an obscene hand gesture to Hewitt and said Hewitt responded by flipping up the back of his sports coat and bending over.

"He was bent clear in a perpendicular position, down so far his head didn't show," Roach said, following up after boarding her plane.

"It was three feet from my face," Roach said. "I was sitting down and he's a short man, so there you go."

Mulick's take: "a faux moon."




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