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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Eye On Olympia

Eight lawmakers call for investigation of the president and vice president…

These characters drew plenty of attention yesterday as they strolled the capitol grounds in a steady rain.

"Your guilty!" one passerby shouted at them.

"Yes, very guilty," agreed the larger-than-life Dick Cheney head.

Inside the costumes were Eastside Fellowship of Reconciliation director Linda Boyd, dressed as President Bush, and -- as Vice President Cheney -- Bill Moyer, director of The Backbone Campaign, a political-theater effort to encourage democrats to be more assertive.

The two were in Olympia to support Senate Joint Memorial 8016, which calls on Congress to investigate whether there is enough evidence to charge the president and vice president with misrepresenting the severity of the threat posed by Iraq, giving Congress "distorted" intelligence, conducting surveillance on "perhaps millions of American civilians without seeking warrants" and "strip(ping) American citizens of their constitutional rights" based on their being designated an "enemy combatant."

If those charges are true, prime sponsor Sen. Eric Oemig, D-Kirkland, and eight other co-sponsoring senators want the president and vice president to be impeached.

Similar petitions are being considered by lawmakers in California, Illinois, Minnesota, New Mexico and Vermont, Oemig said.

It's important to note that these legislative joint memorials are essentially just formal letters from lawmakers to Congress. They're used as a way to try to prod the federal government into doing something -- fixing airline pension problems, issuing a stamp highlighting coal miners, honoring "war dogs", etc. Around Olympia, the requests are derisively nicknamed "Letters to Santa."

Nonetheless, it will be interesting to see if Oemig's memorial gets any farther in the process than did Rep. Geoff Simpson's 2003 House Joint Memorial 4008.

That measure read, in part:

No evidence has been presented that Iraq poses an imminent threat to the security of the United States or the safety of its citizens; and...Hastily implemented unilateral United States military actions would risk the deaths of thousands of Iraqi civilians without guaranteeing the safety and security of United States citizens, nor would such unilateral actions guarantee the installation of a free and democratic Iraqi government.


The Bush administration has failed to articulate a clear strategic objective or outcome of a military attack against Iraq, and such an attack fails to enjoy the support of many of our important allies; and...The members of the Washington State Legislature oppose a preemptive United States military attack on Iraq unless it is demonstrated that Iraq poses a real and imminent threat to the security and safety of the United States.

That measure died quietly in committee, without a hearing.

(Photo by Richard Roesler, copyright The Spokesman-Review)

Short takes and breaking news from the Washington Legislature and the state capital.