Oregon Senator Faces Conduct Complaint After Walkout

By Dirk VanderHart (OPB)
Salem, Ore. June 29, 2019 8:02 p.m.

A complaint filed against Sen. Brian Boquist will go before a Senate committee that handles legislators’ conduct, the chair of that committee said Saturday.

Sen. Floyd Prozanski, D-Eugene, confirmed that a formal complaint has been filed against Boquist, who generated international attention for comments made last week, before Republican senators staged a walkout.


In one instance, Boquist told a KGW reporter that Oregon State Police should "send bachelors and come heavily armed" if they attempted to bring him back to the Capitol.

In another, Boquist told Senate President Peter Courtney on the Senate floor, "If you send the state police to get me, hell's coming to visit you personally."

Prozanski, who chairs the Senate Special Committee on Conduct that takes up such matters, would not discuss the substance of the complaint or who had filed it on Saturday.

“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.”

He added that he expected his committee to take up the complaint within a month, but after the legislative session ends.

A man watches state Sen. Brian Boquist, R-Dallas, outside the Oregon Senate on Monday, Jan. 14, 2019, in Salem, Ore.

A man watches state Sen. Brian Boquist, R-Dallas, outside the Oregon Senate on Monday, Jan. 14, 2019, in Salem, Ore.

Bradley W. Parks / OPB

Boquist did not immediately respond to an email inquiring into the matter. He was one of three Republicans absent from the Senate floor Saturday morning, but according to Republican staff he was expected to arrive at the Capitol in the afternoon.

Boquist’s comments have generated intense concern in the Capitol over the last week. Some lawmakers believe they helped stir up right-wing militia members, whose avowals to defend absent Republicans led lawmakers to close the Capitol on June 22.

Lawmakers have apparently been working behind the scenes to address the matter. The Salem Reporter reported Saturday that a private attorney retained by the Legislature had recommended Boquist be kept away from the statehouse for the remainder of session.

That recommendation, and the complaint against Boquist, were mentioned by Sen. Kim Thatcher, R-Keizer, in a recent Facebook post.

“Today Boquist was apparently banned from the Capitol,” Thatcher said. “An official complaint was made and it will eventually be heading to the Committee on Conduct at some point. I’m a member of that committee so I need to reserve commenting on his comments until the committee meets.”

Courtney’s office declined to comment on the matter, but Senate staff said Boquist was free to enter the Capitol.

Under Senate rules, the Conduct Committee investigates written complaints against legislators, and is empowered to recommend that a lawmaker be reprimanded, censured, or expelled. If the committee makes such a recommendation, it must be approved by two-thirds of the Senate.

According to the Oregonian/OregonLive, no Oregon lawmaker has been censured for decades. A legislator has never been expelled.