Democrats Want More Antitrust, Qualcomm Offers an Object Lesson

Democrats Want More Antitrust, Qualcomm Offers an Object Lesson

Technology company Qualcomm is riding high after winning an antitrust battle earlier this month that threatened its core business, providing an object lesson for companies facing a potential wave of litigation if Democrats take over the administration next year.

The proposed Democratic platform expected to be approved at the party’s convention suggests using an expanded standard for suing companies over anti-competitive practices. The platform, under a section called “Tackling Runaway Corporate Concentration,” calls for shifting the Justice Department’s standard from consumer harm to “consider potential effects of future mergers on the labor market, on low-income and marginalized communities, and on racial equity, as well as on consumer prices and market competition.”

Political platforms are symbolic documents that do not carry the force of law. However, if Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden were to win the election and implement this part of his party’s platform, it could lead to many more government lawsuits against industry from the Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission.

Qualcomm was rocked by a May 2019 ruling from a Federal District Court judge for the Northern District of California that sided with the Federal Trade Commission and ordered Qualcomm to renegotiate its existing patent-licensing deals. Judge Lucy Koh’s 233-page ruling also ordered the company to end its practice of not selling chips to phone makers if they refuse to license Qualcomm’s patents.

The suit was initiated under the Obama administration.

On Aug. 11, a three-judge panel on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit overturned the ruling.

Qualcomm’s stock has risen dramatically since the lower court ruling May 21, 2019 when it closed at 77.75 per share, according to Nasdaq. Common stock closed at 111.04 on Aug. 19, up about 43 percent since the May decision.

The Federal Trade Commission sued Qualcomm over the matter in 2017, saying the San Diego-based company engaged in anti-competitive practices by refusing to sell chips to phone makers if they did not agree to its patent-licensing terms, which forced the phone makers to pay higher patent royalties when they used a competitor’s chips. The commission also accused Qualcomm of wrongly withholding its patents from competitors.

Judge Consuelo Callahan, writing for the three-judge panel, said it wasn’t the court’s place “to condone or punish Qualcomm for its success, but rather to assess whether the FTC has met its burden under the rule of reason to show that Qualcomm’s practices have crossed the line to conduct which unfairly tends to destroy competition itself. We conclude that the FTC has not met its burden.”

“Anti-competitive behavior is illegal under federal antitrust law,” Callahan wrote. “Hypercompetitive behavior is not.”

The Federal Trade Commission has not ruled out challenging the decision.

“The court’s ruling is disappointing and we will be considering our options,” Federal Trade Commission Bureau of Competition Director Ian Conner said in a statement.

The commission could ask the full appeals court to rehear the case or take it to the Supreme Court, Florian Mueller, a consultant who has closely followed the case, wrote in an email.

The Justice Department did not return a request for comment.

Under the new standard being considered by Democrats, the courts would be asked to consider not just anti-competitive or hypercompetitive behavior but vaguer questions of potential effects on “marginalized communities” and future labor markets. If courts accept those standards there could be many more suits like the one against Qualcomm than even under the Obama administration.

For now, though, the appeals court decision overturning the ruling was a validation of the chip maker’s business model, Qualcomm’s general counsel Don Rosenberg said in a statement.

Qualcomm has been involved in a number of other disputes as well.

President Trump blocked Singapore-based Broadcom from acquiring Qualcomm in 2018, citing national security concerns. Qualcomm has been at the forefront of developing 5G technologies as the U.S. and China are entangled in a power struggle over the technology.

“They sort of anointed Qualcomm as a national treasure,” said Stacy Rasgon, a senior analyst at Bernstein Research. “5G is hugely important for national security. Qualcomm has had the best technology and they’re fighting against [China’s] Huawei and the like so we can’t afford to have this capability go away.”

Qualcomm and Apple agreed in April 2019 to end all litigation between the two companies and signed a new six-year license agreement. Qualcomm had claimed Apple violated its patents by not paying royalties, while Apple claimed Qualcomm had long been overcharging for those patents.

The U.S. Department of Commerce announced Monday that it was adding 38 affiliates of Chinese technology company Huawei to its export blacklist. The announcement will make it more difficult for Huawei, which the Trump administration considers a national security threat, to acquire the chips it needs from U.S. companies, such as Qualcomm.

(Edited by Matthew Cooper and Jeff Epstein.)



The post Democrats Want More Antitrust, Qualcomm Offers an Object Lesson appeared first on Zenger News.

New World Bank Boss: Less Chat, More Results

New World Bank Boss: Less Chat, More Results

The World Bank is streamlining to focus on measurable results, said World Bank President David Malpass. It could be the start of a profound shift for an organization with offices in more than 100 countries known more for attending conferences than winning results.

Billions in loan projects will ultimately be affected in the coming years, as the World Bank puts new emphasis on meaningful improvements in individual nations and moves away from generic solutions applied uniformly across the globe. The new system that began July 1 “has better aligned the bank staff with the country programs,” Malpass said, “so that we have a more direct accountability system.”

The World Bank Group has some 8,000 employees in 170 nations. The bank, Malpass said, needs “a clear focus as opposed to a fragmented focus, [being] all things to all people.”

 

Malpass, who studied at the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service and speaks Russian, French and Spanish, earned a CPA while at consulting firm Arthur Andersen – perhaps the first World Bank Group president to have a certification in public accounting. Later, he served in the Reagan and Bush Administrations, then joined Bear Stearns, a Wall Street firm, as chief economist. In the Trump years, he was deputy undersecretary of the Treasury Department, where he influenced the World Bank Group’s financial plan.

Now he is implementing it, a far-reaching re-engineering effort that is rarely tried in quasi-governmental institutions. The Malpass-led restructuring is perhaps the most impactful in 40 years, observers say, pointing to 1980, when World Bank President Alden W. Clausen, who was nominated by President Jimmy Carter, shifted the bank’s focus away from controversial construction projects and removed key bank executives, culminating in the controversial sacking of the bank’s chief economist in 1982.

A cultural shift is underway, he said. “What I’ve pushed back against is spending all the time in conferences in the capitals of Europe, and in the U.S.,” Malpass said, and people spending all of the time talking about it,” instead of making measurable improvements in national wellbeing.”

“This realignment builds on changes made last year to make our work more impactful for the people we serve,” a World Bank spokesman said.

Some of these changes have been on Malpass’ mind for decades. As deputy assistant secretary for international development in the Reagan years, he noticed access to electric power and clean water were major barriers to lifting poor nations out of poverty.

Forty years later, the same challenges remain, he said. That’s almost a lifetime in the developing world. He concluded streamlining the bureaucracy may quicken progress. “I want the bank to be effective,” Malpass said, “and I think of effectiveness as you having a positive impact on countries: Are they doing better because of what the bank is doing?”

Under the Malpass plan, more than six out of 10 jobs are being realigned to promote country development—a carefully calibrated shift, which has been underway for months.

“Programs need global expertise,” Malpass said, but more people are working on “poverty reduction in Zambia” or “education reform in Panama.” Malpass wants World Bank staff to focus on tailoring solutions to specific practical problems in individual countries, rather than studying economic theories or infrastructure in general.

“That’s an explicit goal of our programs,” said Malpass. “You look at a country: What is blocking business from operating? That might be, for example, controlled markets.”

He cited state-run industries that crowd out competition, military monopolies of non-defense industries such as cement and lack of affordable digital alternatives—banking by smart phone, for example—as market controls that limit growth.

Known inside the bank’s headquarters as “the matrix,” its former organizational chart sprawls across 14 “practice groups,” which each sit atop their own towers of staff in 170 countries branching into different projects, initiatives and study groups. The new chart has fewer layers and clearer lines of authority and responsibility. The old organizational structure produced “inefficiency, fragmentation, and internal competition,” according to a 2019 World Bank Independent Evaluation Group report, that put at risk the bank’s “ability to deliver for clients.”

Though there are no terminations planned, the Washington D.C. headquarters headcount will shrink in the coming years. The pace of hiring is projected to slow and retirees will not be automatically replaced. Some World Bank employees may make physical moves, as newly country-focused staff shift from Washington, D.C., where the bank’s Pennsylvania Avenue headquarters has been shuttered for months because of coronavirus, which cost the life of one World Bank employee in Bangladesh and made more than 60 ill, to other national capitals, where office rents are often lower and paychecks buy more. The point, says Malpass, is to staff closer to clients.

Another surprise: policy outcomes will matter. Malpass, who has a degree in physics and an MBA, wants to incentive World Bank employee efforts to boost median income in their assigned nations. Median income is the exact center on the spectrum from the highest to the lowest paid person in an individual country. To boost the median income, large numbers of poorer people would need to enjoy a rise in take-home pay—which may take years.

Indeed, Covid-19 is expected to substantially increase global poverty, World Bank projections show. Shrinking payments from workers in North America and Western Europe to their overseas relatives, known as remittances, are reducing income for many of the world’s least developed lands; those funds are drying up as building, serving and cleaning jobs, as well as other occupations that disproportionately employ recent immigrants, are laying off workers across the developed world.

In addition, fear of the virus has kept many tourists from traveling to the Southern Hemisphere. The world’s oil and natural-gas glut has led to stops or delays in energy projects across the developing world. To combat falling economic growth across the global South due to Covid-19, the World Bank has announced an emergency fund of $160 billion, one of the world’s largest multinational virus-relief efforts.

Malpass did not say whether employees who achieve the highest increases in national median income would receive bonuses or whether those who fail to reach their goals would be denied promotions. Indeed, such accountability measures seem unlikely given the culture of the World Bank Group and devastating effects of the virus on poorer countries, where growing caseloads often have overwhelmed doctors.

Yet the whole idea of focusing employee performance on improvements in a country’s prosperity is stunning to some senior members of multi-national bureaucracy. Lower-level employees are more encouraged by the changes, as it will give them an opportunity to make a mark before accruing decades of seniority.

Daniel Sellen, the chairman of the World Bank Group Staff Association, declined to comment.

The announcement comes after the one-year anniversary of Malpass’ appointment to lead the World Bank Group, which includes the World Bank and related international aid institutions that collectively loaned billions for schools, roads, power plants, waterworks and other poverty-fighting projects in 2019.

Malpass was nominated by President Trump and later elected unanimously by the World Bank’s governmental shareholders. The United States and Japan are the bank’s largest donor nations, and it backs its AAA credit rating with callable capital of the U.S. government.

Caitlin Yilek contributed to this report.

(Edited by Allison Elyse Gualtieri.)



The post New World Bank Boss: Less Chat, More Results appeared first on Zenger News.

New World Bank Boss: Less Chat, More Results

New World Bank Boss: Less Chat, More Results

The World Bank is streamlining to focus on measurable results, said World Bank President David Malpass. It could be the start of a profound shift for an organization with offices in more than 100 countries known more for attending conferences than winning results.

Billions in loan projects will ultimately be affected in the coming years, as the World Bank puts new emphasis on meaningful improvements in individual nations and moves away from generic solutions applied uniformly across the globe. The new system that began July 1 “has better aligned the bank staff with the country programs,” Malpass said, “so that we have a more direct accountability system.”

The World Bank Group has some 8,000 employees in 170 nations. The bank, Malpass said, needs “a clear focus as opposed to a fragmented focus, [being] all things to all people.”

 

Malpass, who studied at the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service and speaks Russian, French and Spanish, earned a CPA while at consulting firm Arthur Andersen – perhaps the first World Bank Group president to have a certification in public accounting. Later, he served in the Reagan and Bush Administrations, then joined Bear Stearns, a Wall Street firm, as chief economist. In the Trump years, he was deputy undersecretary of the Treasury Department, where he influenced the World Bank Group’s financial plan.

Now he is implementing it, a far-reaching re-engineering effort that is rarely tried in quasi-governmental institutions. The Malpass-led restructuring is perhaps the most impactful in 40 years, observers say, pointing to 1980, when World Bank President Alden W. Clausen, who was nominated by President Jimmy Carter, shifted the bank’s focus away from controversial construction projects and removed key bank executives, culminating in the controversial sacking of the bank’s chief economist in 1982.

A cultural shift is underway, he said. “What I’ve pushed back against is spending all the time in conferences in the capitals of Europe, and in the U.S.,” Malpass said, and people spending all of the time talking about it,” instead of making measurable improvements in national wellbeing.”

“This realignment builds on changes made last year to make our work more impactful for the people we serve,” a World Bank spokesman said.

Some of these changes have been on Malpass’ mind for decades. As deputy assistant secretary for international development in the Reagan years, he noticed access to electric power and clean water were major barriers to lifting poor nations out of poverty.

Forty years later, the same challenges remain, he said. That’s almost a lifetime in the developing world. He concluded streamlining the bureaucracy may quicken progress. “I want the bank to be effective,” Malpass said, “and I think of effectiveness as you having a positive impact on countries: Are they doing better because of what the bank is doing?”

Under the Malpass plan, more than six out of 10 jobs are being realigned to promote country development—a carefully calibrated shift, which has been underway for months.

“Programs need global expertise,” Malpass said, but more people are working on “poverty reduction in Zambia” or “education reform in Panama.” Malpass wants World Bank staff to focus on tailoring solutions to specific practical problems in individual countries, rather than studying economic theories or infrastructure in general.

“That’s an explicit goal of our programs,” said Malpass. “You look at a country: What is blocking business from operating? That might be, for example, controlled markets.”

He cited state-run industries that crowd out competition, military monopolies of non-defense industries such as cement and lack of affordable digital alternatives—banking by smart phone, for example—as market controls that limit growth.

Known inside the bank’s headquarters as “the matrix,” its former organizational chart sprawls across 14 “practice groups,” which each sit atop their own towers of staff in 170 countries branching into different projects, initiatives and study groups. The new chart has fewer layers and clearer lines of authority and responsibility. The old organizational structure produced “inefficiency, fragmentation, and internal competition,” according to a 2019 World Bank Independent Evaluation Group report, that put at risk the bank’s “ability to deliver for clients.”

Though there are no terminations planned, the Washington D.C. headquarters headcount will shrink in the coming years. The pace of hiring is projected to slow and retirees will not be automatically replaced. Some World Bank employees may make physical moves, as newly country-focused staff shift from Washington, D.C., where the bank’s Pennsylvania Avenue headquarters has been shuttered for months because of coronavirus, which cost the life of one World Bank employee in Bangladesh and made more than 60 ill, to other national capitals, where office rents are often lower and paychecks buy more. The point, says Malpass, is to staff closer to clients.

Another surprise: policy outcomes will matter. Malpass, who has a degree in physics and an MBA, wants to incentive World Bank employee efforts to boost median income in their assigned nations. Median income is the exact center on the spectrum from the highest to the lowest paid person in an individual country. To boost the median income, large numbers of poorer people would need to enjoy a rise in take-home pay—which may take years.

Indeed, Covid-19 is expected to substantially increase global poverty, World Bank projections show. Shrinking payments from workers in North America and Western Europe to their overseas relatives, known as remittances, are reducing income for many of the world’s least developed lands; those funds are drying up as building, serving and cleaning jobs, as well as other occupations that disproportionately employ recent immigrants, are laying off workers across the developed world.

In addition, fear of the virus has kept many tourists from traveling to the Southern Hemisphere. The world’s oil and natural-gas glut has led to stops or delays in energy projects across the developing world. To combat falling economic growth across the global South due to Covid-19, the World Bank has announced an emergency fund of $160 billion, one of the world’s largest multinational virus-relief efforts.

Malpass did not say whether employees who achieve the highest increases in national median income would receive bonuses or whether those who fail to reach their goals would be denied promotions. Indeed, such accountability measures seem unlikely given the culture of the World Bank Group and devastating effects of the virus on poorer countries, where growing caseloads often have overwhelmed doctors.

Yet the whole idea of focusing employee performance on improvements in a country’s prosperity is stunning to some senior members of multi-national bureaucracy. Lower-level employees are more encouraged by the changes, as it will give them an opportunity to make a mark before accruing decades of seniority.

Daniel Sellen, the chairman of the World Bank Group Staff Association, declined to comment.

The announcement comes after the one-year anniversary of Malpass’ appointment to lead the World Bank Group, which includes the World Bank and related international aid institutions that collectively loaned billions for schools, roads, power plants, waterworks and other poverty-fighting projects in 2019.

Malpass was nominated by President Trump and later elected unanimously by the World Bank’s governmental shareholders. The United States and Japan are the bank’s largest donor nations, and it backs its AAA credit rating with callable capital of the U.S. government.

Caitlin Yilek contributed to this report.

(Edited by Allison Elyse Gualtieri.)



The post New World Bank Boss: Less Chat, More Results appeared first on Zenger News.

World Bank staff have a new goal: Boost incomes in their assigned countries

World Bank staff have a new goal: Boost incomes in their assigned countries

The World Bank is streamlining to focus on measurable results, said World Bank President David Malpass. It could be the start of a profound shift for an organization with offices in more than 100 countries known more for attending conferences than winning results.

Billions in loan projects will ultimately be affected in the coming years, as the World Bank puts new emphasis on meaningful improvements in individual nations and moves away from generic solutions applied uniformly across the globe. The new system that began July 1 “has better aligned the bank staff with the country programs,” Malpass said, “so that we have a more direct accountability system.”

The World Bank Group has some 8,000 employees in 170 nations. The bank, Malpass said, needs “a clear focus as opposed to a fragmented focus, [being] all things to all people.”

 

Malpass, who studied at the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service and speaks Russian, French and Spanish, earned a CPA while at consulting firm Arthur Andersen – perhaps the first World Bank Group president to have a certification in public accounting. Later, he served in the Reagan and Bush Administrations, then joined Bear Stearns, a Wall Street firm, as chief economist. In the Trump years, he was deputy undersecretary of the Treasury Department, where he influenced the World Bank Group’s financial plan.

Now he is implementing it, a far-reaching re-engineering effort that is rarely tried in quasi-governmental institutions. The Malpass-led restructuring is perhaps the most impactful in 40 years, observers say, pointing to 1980, when World Bank President Alden W. Clausen, who was nominated by President Jimmy Carter, shifted the bank’s focus away from controversial construction projects and removed key bank executives, culminating in the controversial sacking of the bank’s chief economist in 1982.

A cultural shift is underway, he said. “What I’ve pushed back against is spending all the time in conferences in the capitals of Europe, and in the U.S.,” Malpass said, and people spending all of the time talking about it,” instead of making measurable improvements in national wellbeing.”

“This realignment builds on changes made last year to make our work more impactful for the people we serve,” a World Bank spokesman said.

Some of these changes have been on Malpass’ mind for decades. As deputy assistant secretary for international development in the Reagan years, he noticed access to electric power and clean water were major barriers to lifting poor nations out of poverty.

Forty years later, the same challenges remain, he said. That’s almost a lifetime in the developing world. He concluded streamlining the bureaucracy may quicken progress. “I want the bank to be effective,” Malpass said, “and I think of effectiveness as you having a positive impact on countries: Are they doing better because of what the bank is doing?”

Under the Malpass plan, more than six out of 10 jobs are being realigned to promote country development—a carefully calibrated shift, which has been underway for months.

“Programs need global expertise,” Malpass said, but more people are working on “poverty reduction in Zambia” or “education reform in Panama.” Malpass wants World Bank staff to focus on tailoring solutions to specific practical problems in individual countries, rather than studying economic theories or infrastructure in general.

“That’s an explicit goal of our programs,” said Malpass. “You look at a country: What is blocking business from operating? That might be, for example, controlled markets.”

He cited state-run industries that crowd out competition, military monopolies of non-defense industries such as cement and lack of affordable digital alternatives—banking by smart phone, for example—as market controls that limit growth.

Known inside the bank’s headquarters as “the matrix,” its former organizational chart sprawls across 14 “practice groups,” which each sit atop their own towers of staff in 170 countries branching into different projects, initiatives and study groups. The new chart has fewer layers and clearer lines of authority and responsibility. The old organizational structure produced “inefficiency, fragmentation, and internal competition,” according to a 2019 World Bank Independent Evaluation Group report, that put at risk the bank’s “ability to deliver for clients.”

Though there are no terminations planned, the Washington D.C. headquarters headcount will shrink in the coming years. The pace of hiring is projected to slow and retirees will not be automatically replaced. Some World Bank employees may make physical moves, as newly country-focused staff shift from Washington, D.C., where the bank’s Pennsylvania Avenue headquarters has been shuttered for months because of coronavirus, which cost the life of one World Bank employee in Bangladesh and made more than 60 ill, to other national capitals, where office rents are often lower and paychecks buy more. The point, says Malpass, is to staff closer to clients.

Another surprise: policy outcomes will matter. Malpass, who has a degree in physics and an MBA, wants to incentive World Bank employee efforts to boost median income in their assigned nations. Median income is the exact center on the spectrum from the highest to the lowest paid person in an individual country. To boost the median income, large numbers of poorer people would need to enjoy a rise in take-home pay—which may take years.

Indeed, Covid-19 is expected to substantially increase global poverty, World Bank projections show. Shrinking payments from workers in North America and Western Europe to their overseas relatives, known as remittances, are reducing income for many of the world’s least developed lands; those funds are drying up as building, serving and cleaning jobs, as well as other occupations that disproportionately employ recent immigrants, are laying off workers across the developed world.

In addition, fear of the virus has kept many tourists from traveling to the Southern Hemisphere. The world’s oil and natural-gas glut has led to stops or delays in energy projects across the developing world. To combat falling economic growth across the global South due to Covid-19, the World Bank has announced an emergency fund of $160 billion, one of the world’s largest multinational virus-relief efforts.

Malpass did not say whether employees who achieve the highest increases in national median income would receive bonuses or whether those who fail to reach their goals would be denied promotions. Indeed, such accountability measures seem unlikely given the culture of the World Bank Group and devastating effects of the virus on poorer countries, where growing caseloads often have overwhelmed doctors.

Yet the whole idea of focusing employee performance on improvements in a country’s prosperity is stunning to some senior members of multi-national bureaucracy. Lower-level employees are more encouraged by the changes, as it will give them an opportunity to make a mark before accruing decades of seniority.

Daniel Sellen, the chairman of the World Bank Group Staff Association, declined to comment.

The announcement comes after the one-year anniversary of Malpass’ appointment to lead the World Bank Group, which includes the World Bank and related international aid institutions that collectively loaned billions for schools, roads, power plants, waterworks and other poverty-fighting projects in 2019.

Malpass was nominated by President Trump and later elected unanimously by the World Bank’s governmental shareholders. The United States and Japan are the bank’s largest donor nations, and it backs its AAA credit rating with callable capital of the U.S. government.

Caitlin Yilek contributed to this report.

(Edited by Allison Elyse Gualtieri.)



The post World Bank staff have a new goal: Boost incomes in their assigned countries appeared first on Zenger News.

Who Shot the Sheriff’s Career? Lawman Faces Recall Over Covid Mask Row

Who Shot the Sheriff’s Career? Lawman Faces Recall Over Covid Mask Row

Thurston County’s sheriff may face recall for failing to sufficiently enforce a mask mandate enacted by the Washington Health Department.

The health department’s Amending Order 20-03 follows Washington Gov. Jay Inslee’s declaration of a State of Emergency to deal with the novel coronavirus.

Washington’s mask mandate, in part, requires that people wear face coverings in public spaces and shared places, indoors and outdoors, with some exceptions. Penalties for violating the order include a jail sentence up to 90 days, a fine of $100 for individuals and a fine of $10,000 for businesses.

Petition No. 20-2-01749-34 — “to determine sufficiency of recall charges and for approval of ballot synopsis” — was filed July 2 with the Thurston County auditor by Arthur West and approved by Superior Court Judge Jeanette Dalton July 29 because “an absolute, unilateral refusal to honor the legislators and the secretary of the Department of Health is a classic violation of the oath to follow the law.”

“It’s disheartening to hear that from a judge,” said Thurston County Sheriff John Snaza. “I’ve said this before, but I feel sick to my stomach about it. I feel like crap for how the judge took it.”

Snaza’s department had announced on its Facebook page that it would not criminally enforce the mask mandate “due to the minor nature of this offense.” Other law enforcement entities, including the Olympia Police Department, issued similar statements.

West alleges that Snaza’s policy is a “refusal to perform the duties of his office … impeding State, City, emergency management and hospital officials in their efforts to protect the public during a worldwide pandemic” largely due to the politicization of mask-wearing.

The petition reads: Thurston County Sheriff John Snaza has stated that he will not enforce the criminal provisions of Department of Health Order 20-03. In combination with the politicization of the mask issue in other counties and throughout the Nation, Sheriff Snaza’s actions must be viewed as a political effort to undermine the rule of law and our national and statewide efforts to combat Covid-19. …To the extent any of these acts continuing to refuse to enforce the law were discretionary acts, they were manifestly unreasonable.

The petition also cites the department’s failure to mandate masks for deputies and refers to a statement by Snaza’s twin brother, Lewis County Sheriff Robert Snaza, referring to mask-wearers as “sheep” and “encouraging them to forego wearing masks.”

Robert Snaza’s comments, made in late June, drew nationwide attention and support and ridicule.

West argues that since the Thurston County sheriff has failed to enforce the law and perform the duties of his office, he should face recall.

“Sheriff John Snaza’s statement encouraged residents to violate the emergency efforts of the County, state law, and a public health official’s Orders, were ‘reckless,’ and endangered the rest of the community,” the petition reads.

Dalton’s ruling did not determine whether West’s charges are correct but instead whether the petition met the legal standard for recall and can be made actionable.

“How I phrased it when I made those statements, she felt it was improper,” the sheriff said of the judge. “It’s not my intent (to not enforce), me and my deputies enforce the law. My objective was to say that we’d educate people about masks instead of arresting them.”

For the recall to be considered on an electoral ballot, West must file with the county’s auditor’s office, providing a petition within 180 days that contains at least 23,027 signatures. Snaza can file an appeal before it’s placed on the ballot.

During an initial hearing on the petition, deputing prosecuting attorney Rick Peters, from the county prosecuting attorney’s office, represented the sheriff. It’s not certain whether additional county resources will be allocated to Snaza’s defense.

A statement from the attorney’s office said, “As of July 31, our office and Thurston County has not determined who will be representing Sheriff Snaza if he chooses to appeal the Superior Court decision to permit a recall.”

Snaza is not the first sheriff to face criticism for a response to Covid-related ordinances.

In Washington, Snohomish County Sheriff Adam Fortney faces a recall effort after posting on Facebook in April that Inslee’s stay-at-home orders are “unconstitutional” and he would not enforce them.

Elsewhere, sheriffs in states such as Texas, North Carolina, Wisconsin and Michigan have refused to enforce stay-at-home and masking orders while an Arizona sheriff who refused to enforce stay-at-home orders later tested positive for COVID-19.

Snaza said he hopes he’ll be able to maintain the confidence of county constituents if the petition is successful.

“I’ve never looked at myself as a politician. I look at myself as an elected,” he said. “As an elected, I hope I represent the citizens and enforce the laws and exercise professionalism in every interaction I have with them and ultimately hold myself and the department responsible. I don’t just want to start behaving a certain way because it’s election season. It’s what I do. I’m not perfect. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t make any mistakes, but I’m going to fight to keep my reputation.”

The National Sheriffs’ Association did not respond to requests for comment.

Did you know?

The sheriff system of law enforcement became widespread in the United States during the 19th-century westward expansion, when territorial law enforcement was spotty due to an absence of consistent and enforceable centralized authority.

Historically, sheriffs had some leeway in enforcing laws via the “doctrine of interposition.”

In Washington state last year, sheriffs in 20 counties announced they would not enforce certain firearms restrictions.

As elected officials, they’re mostly autonomous and answer to their constituents.

Some states, such as Connecticut, have abolished the sheriff system and eliminated the office of “high sheriff.”

(Edited by Lisa Neff and Cathy Jones.)



The post Who Shot the Sheriff’s Career? Lawman Faces Recall Over Covid Mask Row appeared first on Zenger News.

Refusing to enforce mask-wearing has a Washington sheriff in hot water

Refusing to enforce mask-wearing has a Washington sheriff in hot water

Thurston County’s sheriff may face recall for failing to sufficiently enforce a mask mandate enacted by the Washington Health Department.

The health department’s Amending Order 20-03 follows Washington Gov. Jay Inslee’s declaration of a State of Emergency to deal with the novel coronavirus.

Washington’s mask mandate, in part, requires that people wear face coverings in public spaces and shared places, indoors and outdoors, with some exceptions. Penalties for violating the order include a jail sentence up to 90 days, a fine of $100 for individuals and a fine of $10,000 for businesses.

Petition No. 20-2-01749-34 — “to determine sufficiency of recall charges and for approval of ballot synopsis” — was filed July 2 with the Thurston County auditor by Arthur West and approved by Superior Court Judge Jeanette Dalton July 29 because “an absolute, unilateral refusal to honor the legislators and the secretary of the Department of Health is a classic violation of the oath to follow the law.”

“It’s disheartening to hear that from a judge,” said Thurston County Sheriff John Snaza. “I’ve said this before, but I feel sick to my stomach about it. I feel like crap for how the judge took it.”

Snaza’s department had announced on its Facebook page that it would not criminally enforce the mask mandate “due to the minor nature of this offense.” Other law enforcement entities, including the Olympia Police Department, issued similar statements.

West alleges that Snaza’s policy is a “refusal to perform the duties of his office … impeding State, City, emergency management and hospital officials in their efforts to protect the public during a worldwide pandemic” largely due to the politicization of mask-wearing.

The petition reads: Thurston County Sheriff John Snaza has stated that he will not enforce the criminal provisions of Department of Health Order 20-03. In combination with the politicization of the mask issue in other counties and throughout the Nation, Sheriff Snaza’s actions must be viewed as a political effort to undermine the rule of law and our national and statewide efforts to combat Covid-19. …To the extent any of these acts continuing to refuse to enforce the law were discretionary acts, they were manifestly unreasonable.

The petition also cites the department’s failure to mandate masks for deputies and refers to a statement by Snaza’s twin brother, Lewis County Sheriff Robert Snaza, referring to mask-wearers as “sheep” and “encouraging them to forego wearing masks.”

Robert Snaza’s comments, made in late June, drew nationwide attention and support and ridicule.

West argues that since the Thurston County sheriff has failed to enforce the law and perform the duties of his office, he should face recall.

“Sheriff John Snaza’s statement encouraged residents to violate the emergency efforts of the County, state law, and a public health official’s Orders, were ‘reckless,’ and endangered the rest of the community,” the petition reads.

Dalton’s ruling did not determine whether West’s charges are correct but instead whether the petition met the legal standard for recall and can be made actionable.

“How I phrased it when I made those statements, she felt it was improper,” the sheriff said of the judge. “It’s not my intent (to not enforce), me and my deputies enforce the law. My objective was to say that we’d educate people about masks instead of arresting them.”

For the recall to be considered on an electoral ballot, West must file with the county’s auditor’s office, providing a petition within 180 days that contains at least 23,027 signatures. Snaza can file an appeal before it’s placed on the ballot.

During an initial hearing on the petition, deputing prosecuting attorney Rick Peters, from the county prosecuting attorney’s office, represented the sheriff. It’s not certain whether additional county resources will be allocated to Snaza’s defense.

A statement from the attorney’s office said, “As of July 31, our office and Thurston County has not determined who will be representing Sheriff Snaza if he chooses to appeal the Superior Court decision to permit a recall.”

Snaza is not the first sheriff to face criticism for a response to Covid-related ordinances.

In Washington, Snohomish County Sheriff Adam Fortney faces a recall effort after posting on Facebook in April that Inslee’s stay-at-home orders are “unconstitutional” and he would not enforce them.

Elsewhere, sheriffs in states such as Texas, North Carolina, Wisconsin and Michigan have refused to enforce stay-at-home and masking orders while an Arizona sheriff who refused to enforce stay-at-home orders later tested positive for COVID-19.

Snaza said he hopes he’ll be able to maintain the confidence of county constituents if the petition is successful.

“I’ve never looked at myself as a politician. I look at myself as an elected,” he said. “As an elected, I hope I represent the citizens and enforce the laws and exercise professionalism in every interaction I have with them and ultimately hold myself and the department responsible. I don’t just want to start behaving a certain way because it’s election season. It’s what I do. I’m not perfect. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t make any mistakes, but I’m going to fight to keep my reputation.”

The National Sheriffs’ Association did not respond to requests for comment.

Did you know?

The sheriff system of law enforcement became widespread in the United States during the 19th-century westward expansion, when territorial law enforcement was spotty due to an absence of consistent and enforceable centralized authority.

Historically, sheriffs had some leeway in enforcing laws via the “doctrine of interposition.”

In Washington state last year, sheriffs in 20 counties announced they would not enforce certain firearms restrictions.

As elected officials, they’re mostly autonomous and answer to their constituents.

Some states, such as Connecticut, have abolished the sheriff system and eliminated the office of “high sheriff.”

(Edited by Lisa Neff and Cathy Jones.)



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