Oregon state senator who threatened police faces complaint

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Brian Boquist, BOQUIST

FILE – In this April 22, 2002, file photo, Brian Boquist is seen in Salem, Ore. A formal complaint has been filed against Boquist, an Oregon Republican senator who drew criticism for threatening state police amid a GOP walkout over climate legislation. Sen. Boquist drew criticism earlier this month by saying state police should come “heavily armed” if they attempted to bring him back to the Capitol during a Republican walkout over climate legislation. (Kobbi R. Blair/Statesman-Journal via AP, File)

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — A formal complaint has been filed against Oregon Republican state Sen. Brian Boquist, who drew criticism for threatening state police amid a GOP walkout over climate legislation, the chairman of the state’s conduct committee said Saturday.

Sen. Floyd Prozanski, who chairs the Senate Special Committee on Conduct, told Oregon Public Broadcasting that the complaint will receive a hearing in early July. He declined to elaborate on the substance of the complaint, and would not say who filed it.

“I will not make any comments as to what’s alleged or what’s in the report because it is pending before the committee,” Prozanski said. “As the chair, I do not believe it’s appropriate for me to make comment until we, as a full committee, take what actions we’re going to take.”

Sen. Brian Boquist came under fire this month after saying Oregon State Police should “send bachelors and come heavily armed” if they attempted to bring him to the Capitol amid a Republican walkout that shut down the Senate for nine days.

Republicans, who make up the minority in the Legislature, refused to come to the Capitol in protest of legislation aimed at lowering the state’s greenhouse gas emissions. Democrats have an 18 to 12 majority in the Senate but need at least 20 members — and therefore at least two Republicans — present to vote on legislation.

Gov. Kate Brown deployed the Oregon State Police to track down the missing Republicans and hit them with a $500 fine for every day they missed.

Boquist publicly lashed out against the Senate president just prior to the walkout, saying “if you send the state police to get me, hell’s coming to visit you personally.”

Days later, the Senate leader ordered the Capitol closed because of a “possible militia threat” from far-right groups, who said they would join a peaceful protest organized by Republicans. The threat, however, never materialized.

One of those groups, the Oregon Three Percenters, joined an armed takeover of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in 2016 and has offered safe passage to senators on the run.

Boquist was one of three senators not to appear on the floor Saturday morning, though Republican staff members expected him to return later in the afternoon. He did not return requests for comment.

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Information from: KOPB-FM, http://news.opb.org

Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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