May 25, 2024 5:16 am

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Whistleblower who refused to lie about Cap-and-Trade scheme, files lawsuit

OLYMPIA—The Citizen Action Defense Fund (CADF) filed a lawsuit on Tuesday, March 5, on behalf of whistleblower Scott Smith, who earlier last year was pressured by the Governor’s Office of Financial Management and the Washington State Department of Transportation to change the numbers in his reports that indicated that the cap-and-trade scheme was significantly impacting the cost of fuel. This occurred while the Governor was publicly accusing the fuel industry of lying about the cost of the program. When Smith refused to change his numbers, he was forced out of state service.

 Cap-and-Trade
WSDOT whistleblower Scott Smith with is suing Washington state, claiming he was pressured to lie about the financial impacts of the cap-and-trade scheme. SOURCE: Snapshot from interview with Brandi Kruse on [un]Divided with Brandi Kruse.

In December of 2023, CADF filed a tort claim form and sent a demand letter formally notifying the state of Smith’s claim. The state has so far refused to pay the claim or present a counteroffer, and the 60-day statutory time period has elapsed, so filing the lawsuit is the next step in the process.

The suit seeks an unspecified amount of damages, including loss of wages and pension, loss of reputation, and punitive damages. The lawsuit asserts four causes of action:

  • Two statutory whistleblower retaliation claims
  • One wrongful termination claim
  • One negligence claim.

“I did my job, refused to ‘jimmy the numbers,’ and was shown the door by an agency that I served with integrity, in a field that I’d worked in for decades. This is not right,” said Smith. “All I am looking for is to be fairly compensated for what the state took from me in what would have been the last few years of my career.”

“We are proud to continue this fight for Scott and all of the other state employees like him who want to do their jobs without being bullied for political reasons,” said Jackson Maynard, Executive Director and Counsel for CADF. “We gave the state the chance to do the right thing without the need for litigation and they declined. We look forward to the discovery process and proving Mr. Smith’s claims in court.”

WSDOT whistleblower sues state, claims he was pressured to lie about gas prices. SOURCE: [un]Divided with Brandi Kruse.

The Citizen Action Defense Fund (CADF) on December 19, 2023, submitted formal complaints with the civil rights divisions of both the Office of the Attorney General and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Washington related to allegations that the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office’s (KCPAO) mismanaged juvenile sexual assault cases and violated the civil rights of sexual assault survivors.

In August of 2023, the Citizen Action Defense Fund launched an investigation into alleged discrimination of Lynnwood Public Facilities District (PFD) board member Vivian Dong by Board Chair Mike Miller and Executive Director Janet Pope for their latest treatment of the newly appointed board member during Lynnwood Luau in 2023. As of March 2024, PFD has yet to provide all the requested documentation to local media and law firms regarding their investigations.

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