OLYMPIA – State Sen. Jim McCune says Washington Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler should apologize or resign after issuing a statement likening Texas Republicans to the murderous Taliban thugs overrunning the nation of Afghanistan.
Kreidler’s statement, issued at taxpayer expense last week, referred to Texas Republicans as “America’s own version of the Taliban” after lawmakers in the Lone Star State approved legislation effectively restricting abortions following the sixth week of pregnancy. No connection with Kreidler’s duties as insurance commissioner was apparent. A Kirkland councilman has filed a complaint with the state Public Disclosure Commission regarding Kreidler’s use of public resources to make a partisan political statement with no official purpose.
“I was shocked when I saw Kreidler’s statement,” McCune said. “Not only is this a distasteful assault on decency in political speech, it also could be a violation of state law, by using public resources to promote partisan political activity.
“Kreidler should know better. He was campaign chair for the Senate Democratic Caucus in 1990, and he was among many lawmakers forced to give depositions about the illegal campaign activity by legislative staff that was encouraged by legislative leaders at the time. That case prompted a major overhaul of the rules under which public officials operate, both legislators and statewide elected officials. Of all people, Kreidler should understand that it is improper to issue a statement like this one using staff time and resources. He should apologize, or resign.”
In a letter to Kreidler Thursday, McCune said the insurance commissioner’s comments are “an absolute disgrace to your office and our state.”
McCune’s letter says Kreidler’s statement demonstrates intolerance for those with differing political views.
“By issuing an official statement through your office likening Texas Republicans to the most odious band of thugs and terrorists on the world stage, you have given us a disturbing insight into your thinking. Comparing pro-life and pro-family Republicans to a group such as the Taliban displays a deep-seated intolerance for those with whom you disagree, and should be regarded as ‘hate speech.’ Rhetoric such as this should never be used in speaking about your opposition, especially using taxpayer funded materials or equipment, and coming from an office that is supposed to represent our whole state.”