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Representative Susan Fagan resigns amid controversy

The Othello Outlook of Othello, Washington

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Representative Susan Fagan (R-Pullman) delivered her letter of resignation to Gov. Jay Inslee amid allegations of fraud and theft.

Currently under investigation by the Legislative Ethics Board, she has agreed to pay any remaining funds back to the state.

In January, Chief Clerk Barbara Baker, of the Washington State House of Representatives, delivered a letter of complaint to the board detailing the accusations against the representative.

During the fall of 2014, two legislative assistants came forward to House Republican Caucus staff about expense reports being submitted on behalf of Fagan. They were asked to provide materials documenting the fraud allegations, which were provided to Baker.

The materials and testimony provided by the two assistants support multiple ethics violations, including fraud and theft, improper use of state resources for political campaigns and improper use of office and resources for private gain.

It is alleged that Fagan would pressure her assistants to make the changes to expense reports so that she received a larger payment. According to the letter, her staff reported her consistently changing the reports they prepared.

One of the assistants, who eventually left their job, is quoted in the letter. "I entered (the member's) expenses off her sheet and added in her fake meetings, which cover her and make her expenses submitted look like legitimate house expenses on the surface..."

Fagan does not agree with the allegations and attributes the errors to "careless record keeping."

"The problems stemming from my careless recordkeeping begin and end with me should have been more precise with my records, and I did not give my reimbursement reports the respect and attention they deserve," she said in a prepared statement.

"I am very disappointed with Representative Fagan's conduct," House Republican Leader Dan Kristiansen said in a statement released by the House Republicans April 29. "Her misuse of travel and reimbursement funds is a serious breach of public trust."

Kristiansen went on to say that House leadership requested thorough investigation by the Legislative Ethic Board.

"After discussing the investigation with House Republican leaders, Representative Fagan decided she will resign and reimburse the state for the money she owes," Kristiansen said. "We feel this is the appropriate course of action and in the best interest of taxpayers."

With her resignation, Republican precinct officers will propose three nominees for the vacant position and county commissioners throughout the Ninth District, including Adams County, will have 60 days from May 1 to decide by a majority vote. If the commissioners cannot agree on one nominee after 60 days, Gov. In slee will make the appointment from the list of three.

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Original Publication Date: May 7, 2015

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