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Chief political reporter David Postman explores state, regional and national politics.

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April 30, 2008 3:45 PM

UPDATED: Demo state lawmaker charged with assault

Posted by David Postman

Rep. Geoff Simpson, D-Covington, was arrested Sunday and charged with domestic violence. He denies the charge.

From the AP:

Covington's prosecutor says Simpson is no longer in custody. He's been charged in King County District Court with fourth-degree assault and interfering with a domestic violence report.

The News Tribune political blog has a statement from Simpson's campaign:

This is an unfortunate situation for everyone involved. The end of a marriage is an emotional and trying time for any family, and mine is no exception. As a firefighter and first responder, I have witnessed the reality of domestic violence and provided care for many victims. As a state legislator, I remain strongly in support of erring on the side of protecting potential victims with our laws and their enforcement - even when, in situations like mine, it can result in unwarranted charges. I am confident that once the facts come to light I will be exonerated. I believe in our justice system and will continue to cooperate fully as this situation is resolved.

The news was apparently first reported at Will Kelley-Kamp, one of the writers there, recently took a break from writing at the liberal blog to become Simpson's campaign manager. Horsesass founder David Goldstein doesn't name any sources, but says he's been told:

No actual physical violence was alleged or observed, but state law apparently provides police officers little discretion under these circumstances, even when all parties involved do not want the arrest to happen.

Simpson represents the 47th, a swing district. His close win in 2000 helped put Democrats in a tie with Republicans in the state House. He is looked at by some as something of a Democratic hero. A liberal blogger Noemie Maxwell wrote at DailyKos:

Simpson's presence in the House changed Washington's political landscape in a big way. His win shifted the Democrat-Republican balance to a 49-49 tie, making for a dramatic year. The budget negotiations, for example, which went overtime in a year where legislators had to struggle with the shortfalls created by Eyman's disastrous I-695, would have resulted in a very different outcome if Republicans had had unrestrained control.

Simpson's win also changed my views of politics. I was in a distraught state over the war and the Bush administration and feeling isolated, angry, and intimidated. The mood around me was that, if you were against the war, you were unpatriotic. I was hostile to the Democratic Party, which had allowed our country to be sold out to the military industrial complex that Eisenhower warned us about -- and not a likely partisan volunteer. That began to change after I happened one day upon the text of House Memorandum 4008, Opposing a Preemptive Attack on Iraq. The prime sponsor was my own legislator, Geoff Simpson, and it occurred to me for the first time that a politician could be sincere. The text of this memorandum reads like a prophecy. Soon after, I discovered the local, grassroots Democratic organizations and began to learn from the people and experiences there that involvement in politics is not collusion with evil, but a way to bring citizen input into the process and make it cleaner.

UPDATE: House Clerk Barbara Baker put out this statement last night:

The House of Representatives takes criminal charges against any of the members very seriously - especially those of domestic violence. However, as an attorney, I am advising Speaker Chopp to thoroughly understand the details of this incident before requesting any official action from the institution.

I will be talking later this evening with the Speaker and other members of leadership about this unfortunate situation. Our next steps will be based on what we learn in the days ahead.

You can read the charging papers here. And here is the sheriff's report.

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Posted by Publicbulldog

5:22 PM, Apr 30, 2008

Fire fire fire.
At home.
There are a couple of sections in the blue pages that will help deal with this.

Posted by Dave

6:02 PM, Apr 30, 2008

I live in the 47th district. In the last election I was subjected to daily robo-calls from both sides of the race. One set of calls dealt with Simpson's disintegrating marriage and possible domestic violence. It was denied by Simpson and, in a later call, by his wife, in no uncertain terms. It sounds true after all. Where there's smoke there's fire.

I guess he won't be able to use all those happy family photos that were in last campaign's literature. It's not just Republicans that can be accused of hypocrisy on family values.

Despite my dislike for Simpson and what he stands for, a failed marriage is a real tragedy. My prayers go out to his wife and kids.

Posted by Turbine

6:26 PM, Apr 30, 2008

Something of a Democratic hero? Wow Democrats must be proud that a 6' 3'' 265 Firefighter can man handle his 5'2' Ex-wife into submission. You can read the redacted arrest report over at SP. Hero?

Posted by Bob

9:26 PM, Apr 30, 2008

Simpson has sponsored a number of bills related to domestic violence, including a successful one this year allowing employment leave for victims. His statement, maintaining faith in a judicial system even if it errs (in this case to his own detriment) on the side of those making charges, as his wife now has in their contentious divorce, is very fair-minded. Republicans should wait for the charges to be proved before they assail someone who has shown unflinching leadership.

Posted by Hinton

9:26 PM, Apr 30, 2008

So, did Simpson ever vote in favor of any domestic violence protection bills?

Will the left ever express their faux outrage over HIS hypocrisy?

Those crickets chirping on that issue point out the double standard of his hypocrisy... as opposed to Republicans voting for one thing while acting in a different way.

Clearly, Noemie and the rest of the leftist fringe whack jobs need to re-evaluate the definition of "hero," and understand that just because someone else shares your terrorist, murderous sympathies as an expression of your mutual BDS, that doesn't make them "heroic."

Simpson's service as a firefighter makes him "heroic," but it certainly doesn't translate well in this instance, does it?

Here's my prediction: Chopp will do nothing (that is, Chopp won't yank his committee assignments from him) and the d caucus will support his re-election... just like the moronic Republicans who supported Jane Hague's re-election.

Just the tiniest contrast between how the d's will handle this... and how the R's are handling, and have handled, The Dunn situation in SW WA, right?

Amazing how Simpson sounds so much like Larry Craig, ain't it?

Posted by Joy

9:52 PM, Apr 30, 2008

Does anyone take into consideration that his ex-wife may be bitter, angry, and vindictive?

I also had a failed marriage several years ago, and I remember it as being very emotionally difficult, heartwrenching, even, and a certain DEATH in any case. They were married for more than 20 years. It's a SAD, SAD thing for both.

I remember feeling like since my ex-husband was in a much better financial position than I was, that I would somehow "get even." Then I grew up, stopped feeling like using my children as pawns, telling them every bad thing I could think of their father, and realized that in the long run, I would make it and we would be alright.

I'm sorry for his wife. I'm sure she's hurting, as I am also sure he is. It's too bad that in Washington State, when police officers get called to a scene for domestic violence, they are required to take someone into custody. It makes for an unfair rap for someone who may or may not have TRULY committed any crime.

I hope you judgemental people can search your hearts and find some compassion. Pray for their family instead of convicting the head of it.

Posted by Turbine

3:10 AM, May 01, 2008

It's really too bad for him that there is a witness this time too.

Posted by Truth

6:46 AM, May 01, 2008

Yet another Democrat who "respects" women.

Posted by Amy

9:23 AM, May 01, 2008

I think Geoff Simpson should resign.

Posted by Goof's Nemisis

7:20 PM, May 01, 2008

I am sure that Geoff believes that he will beat this. If you follow his political career, you will see that he loves the power his office affords him to make others bend to his will. I is not surprising that he tries to exert his will over those at home as well. Kathy is a nice person and is much better off. I have met very few truly bad people in my life, but Geoff is a truly bad person. He sells himself as a family man who cares about people when in reality, all he truly cares about is himself and his narcissistic power trip. This incident is a blessing, because his ex-wife was not severely hurt, and the system is now aware of a mental problem that Geoff needs to deal with for everybody's sake, including his own. Hopefully, he will now get the experience of answering to a system that he thinks he is above and ultimately controls. Thankfully, this happened in front of a witness who was able to get Geoff to stop before someone was badly hurt.

Posted by IAFF Fireman

7:56 PM, May 01, 2008

As a firefighter, I take this issue very seriously. We go into peoples homes. We have access to businesses. We are certified through the State as EMT's and have a great deal of responsibility. Geoff is jepordizing the goodwill and the reputation of ALL firefighters. This isn't the first time this situation has come up with Mr. Simpson. He is risking losing his job as a firefighter, his ability to be certified as an EMT, and his position in the legislature. It's a sadder day though, for his ex wife and children.

In the Fire Service, we have many acronyms. Many of them are usefull in the Civilian world as well. One especially is "DTRT" Do The Right Thing. Geoff... DTRT

Posted by Doug

8:50 PM, May 04, 2008

Another true "blue" defender of women!!!

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