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February 1, 2010 at 5:05 PM

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Even Dave Ross is banning Pam Roach

Posted by Jim Brunner

State Sen. Pam Roach shows no signs of backing away from her claim that her expulsion from the Senate Republican Caucus -- a story The Seattle Times broke last week -- is part of a vindictive plot against her by GOP leaders.


Sen. Pam Roach, R-Auburn, talks to a KING-TV reporter Monday about her expulsion from Senate GOP caucus.

Call it the Butt-In-The-Face defense.

A guest on The Dave Ross Show (97.3 KIRO-FM) Monday morning, Roach repeatedly tried to steer the conversation back to a 2008 incident in which she says Senate Minority Leader Mike Hewitt, R-Walla Walla, yelled at her and stuck his rear end in her face.

"Ask him why he's not man enough to apologize to a woman who he put his butt in her face," Roach said in one of many references to the incident.

"We're back to the rear end again," Ross sighed at one point.

Roach's point -- she brings up the 2008 incident whenever asked about her own behavior -- seems to be that Hewitt and other GOP leaders are just out to get her. Or that Hewitt is no one to be talking about a temper problem.

Senate Republican Whip Dale Brandland, R-Bellingham, appeared on the Ross show to offer a, um, rebuttal.

Brandland said he was there at the 2008 caucus meeting (at a house off the Capitol campus) at which the Hewitt-Roach altercation took place.

Brandland said Roach had provoked Hewitt by disrupting the meeting and flipping him off. "He walked up six feet away... and flipped up his coattails," Brandland said, adding that an investigation of that incident found that both senators were "equally responsible."

In any case, Brandland said Roach was trying to distract people from the reason for the Senate GOP action against her. Her abuse of staff over the years had led to the possibility of lawsuits if Republicans didn't take action.

"We all make mistakes, we make errors in judgment. Most of us admit it and move on and correct our behavior. That's not what's happening here," Brandland told Ross.

Roach's treatment of staff has landed her in trouble several times before. The letter announcing her expulsion from the GOP caucus noted she'd also been disciplined by GOP leaders in 1998, 1999, 2003 and 2008.

Brandland's comments were the most we've heard from Republican leadership on the Roach issue. Hewitt and other GOP Senate leaders have refused to discuss it.

Roach came back on the show back after Brandland and attacked his statements.

Noting Brandland has signed onto a bill that would punish police officers for lying, Roach said, "I find that very ironic, because he's been lying to you."

She returned again to the 2008 incident, saying Hewitt had also yelled at another senator at the meeting. She also claimed that Senate employees actually have more power than she does, since they can file lawsuits. "If anybody has the advantage here it's the employee who can file things," she said.

Ross cut her off and went to a commercial break. But Roach wasn't finished, apparently.

After the break, Ross came back and announced the senator had verbally abused his own staff.

"You know, we try to cover these issues because I would like to see folks settle these things peacefully, but now my own staff is hearing rough language from the senator. And so we're not going to take any more of her calls, all right?"

"I thought we could get this on the air and get a resolution, but if she's gonna beat up on my staff, too, then the hell with it. I'm not gonna play that game."

You can listen to clips of Roach and Brandland on the show here.

And Ross's comments about Roach abusing his own staff are here (scroll to the 21:45 mark.)

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Jim Brunner
Covers politics.

Keith Ervin
Covers the Eastside.

Andrew Garber
Covers politics and state government from Olympia.

Emily Heffter
Covers local government.

Mike Lindblom
Covers transportation.

Kyung Song
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Lynn Thompson
Covers Seattle City Hall.

Bob Young
Covers King County and urban affairs.