An Oregon Senate committee today attempted to restrict the Capitol access of a senator who had implied he'd shoot Oregon State Police officers.
Sen. Brian Boquist (R-Dallas) must provide 12 hours' written notice before entering the Capitol building, the Senate Committee on Conduct voted this morning. Police presence in the building would be increased before his arrival, Oregon Public Broadcasting reported.
In response, Boquist announced in the committee hearing this morning he had filed a lawsuit to see the full investigation of him, as well as a bevy of other public records. In that suit, filed Friday in Marion County Circuit Court, Boquist alleged the disciplinary proceedings were political retribution and had led to death threats against him and his family.
"My family received multiple death threats, formal cases were opened with law enforcement," Boquist's lawsuit says. "Neighbors reported late night prowlers. And the death threats continue as do the harassing telephone messages. Both myself, and my staff, have been threatened based on the complete failure of due process and blockage of public records even as of today."
The committee ruling and lawsuit are the latest developments in a spat that began last month, when Republican senators left the Capitol, then the state, in a successful effort to defeat a proposed cap on carbon emissions. Gov. Kate Brown asked Oregon State Police to retrieve the senators. Both the walkout and the governor's order were standard political gamesmanship.
Less common was Boquist's response: He implied that he would shoot and kill any state trooper sent to fetch him. "Send bachelors and come heavily armed," he told KGW-TV. "I'm not going to be a political prisoner in the state of Oregon. It's just that simple."
When Boquist returned to Salem a week later, state employees complained his arrival made them feel unsafe. His presence in the building briefly derailed a bill to end single-family zoning, because Sen. Sara Gelser (D-Corvallis), the deciding vote, wouldn't stay in the chamber with him there.
Today, the conduct committee ruled that Boquist has not made a "credible" threat, and did not appear to present an ongoing danger to anyone's safety.
But Boquist had already sued, demanding records dating back more than a year—including on a pay equity bill and an investigation of sexual harassment in the legislature, two issues that destroyed his longtime friendship with Senate President Peter Courtney.
In a brief statement, Boquist decried "a complete failure of Senate leadership" and announced his lawsuit.
"I look forward to seeing you all in a court of law," he concluded.