WASHINGTON attorney general bob ferguson
Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, File)
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The Second Amendment Foundation and Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms, and their CEO Alan Gottlieb, have filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson and members of his staff, alleging that Ferguson has used the power of his office to chill the activities of SAF, which are aimed at protecting and expanding Second Amendment rights.

The complaint was filed in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington. The case is known as Second Amendment Foundation v. Ferguson.

Additional plaintiffs are the Center for the Defense of Free Enterprise, the Service Bureau Association, Merril Mail Marketing and Liberty Park Press. They are represented by attorneys Steven W. Fogg and Jack M. Lovejoy at Corr Cronin LLP in Seattle.

Ferguson and three assistant AG’s assigned to the Consumer Protection Division (CPD) of the Attorney General’s office are being sued individually and in their official capacities

According to the complaint, “Over the last two years, the Consumer Protection Division of the Attorney General’s Office (“CPD”) has carried out an expansive, highly intrusive probe into the private affairs of SAF, CCRKBA, CDFE, SBA, LPP, MMM, Mr. Gottlieb, and his family. It has served Civil Investigative Demands (“CIDs”) on each of the plaintiffs, including two on Mr. Gottlieb, citing the same consumer protection laws Mr. Ferguson was recently found to have abused.” The complaint refers to a recent Washington Supreme Court ruling which “held unanimously that Mr. Ferguson’s office improperly used Washington Consumer Protection and Charitable Solicitations Acts to suppress constitutionally protected speech with which he disagreed.”

“It is a sad day when you have to sue the state Attorney General for violating your civil rights,” Gottlieb stated. “This is not something we ever anticipated, nor do we take any pleasure in it. However, because the CPD has singled out SAF and myself for invasive and expensive harassment because of my political beliefs, especially my positions on gun control and our outspoken criticism of Attorney General Ferguson, our only recourse is to take legal action.

The lawsuit notes that Gottlieb is “a vulnerable target,” as a 76-year-old man “with a history of cardiac arrest.”

“CPD’s treatment of Mr. Gottlieb is designed to destroy his health, make his and his family’s lives miserable, and to chill the activities of SAF and the other entities or force them out of business as punishment for their politics and opposition to Mr. Ferguson and his agenda,” the complaint alleges.

“The Office of the Attorney General is one which inherently possesses significant power and comes with the expectation that its holder will not abuse that power for a political agenda or personal crusade,” said SAF Executive Director Adam Kraut. “Unfortunately, for the people of Washington, Attorney General Bob Ferguson has placed his political preferences above impartiality. For the past two years, his office has inquired into the activities of the Second Amendment Foundation in a highly intrusive manner.

“From the very beginning,” Kraut continued, “the Foundation has cooperated with the Attorney General’s Office and supplied all of the requested information, made employees available for depositions, spending hundreds of man hours and tens of thousands of dollars in attorney’s fees to do so, all while pursuing its mission. Yet, the Attorney General’s Office has not once clearly articulated the basis for the investigation or any wrongdoing of the Foundation. What is clear is that this investigation stems from the Attorney General’s abuse of office in an effort to silence and cause harm to his political enemies. Regrettably, and despite the Foundation’s efforts to resolve this amicably, the Attorney General has elected to continue to waste the taxpayer’s money due to his failure to recognize that his two-year fishing expedition has rendered nothing useful to his political ambitions and forced the Foundation to bring this action to vindicate its rights in an effort to stop this unjust harassment.”

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  2. Time to replace “protect and defend the Constitution” with “The Constitution: Learn it. Live it. Love it. Or Leave” as the oath for public office.

  3. Expect anything and everything from sneaky, lowlife Gun Control zealots like ferguson.

    Along with Slavery Gun Control has always been a Civil Rights matter…That said, I’m sure fergurson is very worried about Gottlieb et al turning the table on him.

    • Debbie what state are you in? I have a feeling you’re not gonna divulge that but just curious, when you said you were emailing state representatives. Over.

    • “The lawsuit notes that Gottlieb is “a vulnerable target,” as a 76-year-old man “with a history of cardiac arrest.””

      God Bless you Alan Gottlieb. I pray that you prevail.
      And thank’s for all that you do.

  4. I wish they could be removed and barred from public office when found to be abusing their current office. But slime like this will move from swamp to swamp.

    • I wish they’d be tarred & feathered! Evil prevails when good men do nothing…

      • Wishing for something to happen is what people with a lack of will and determination do. Just like hoping something will happen. Had the Founding Patriots spent all their time wishing and hoping. Where would our nation would be today.

    • How true. But Inslee will probably end up heading to an office in Washington DC sometime, and that snake, Ferguson probably aspires to be governor.

  5. Glad to see this and I hope they win.
    It’s past time for the progun organizations and citizens that can afford it to go on the offense against these aholes.
    How about a class action against the atf?
    probably not possible but sure sounds good

    • Unfortunately, a class action against ATF isn’t gonna work (at least in terms of getting money from ATF or ATF bigwigs). Fortunately, all it takes is one favorable decision against an ATF reg (e.g., the Fifth Circuit’s en banc decision in the bump stock case) to be completely final, and the reg should be invalidated nationwide.

      As far as *state* officials, where their actions are contrary to “clearly settled law,” this is the way.

      As I’ve said before, when you have politicians (especially state attorney generals) explicitly saying “we need to pass this to resist / push back on the Bruen decision,” they are admittedly acting contrary to clearly settled law (i.e., contra Bruen, because they just don’t like it). That ought to toast any claim of qualified immunity, and thus open then up for personal liability.

      Make them bear personal economic liability for their virtue signaling, and watch how fast they find some other cause they want to spend their time on.

      • “Make them bear personal economic liability for their virtue signaling,…”

        How expensive could it get for them?

        Bankruptcy? Take their house?

        • Force them to sell their daughters to sex traffickers broke?

          (I’m kidding. Well, just a little… 🙂 )

        • Geoff they’ve probably already done that.
          Well not sold but more likely rented

      • LKB
        Monetary would be nice but I’m thinking more like a class action with a few million signatories. Deprivation of civil rights, failure to uphold oaths, that kind of thing.
        Where all defendants are never again able to have any government job.

        • “should be invalid nation wide”
          we all see how that has worked with Heller, Mcdonald and Bruen
          lawyers always seem to get rulings that have loopholes just to keep themselves in business. or judges just ignore them with no repercussions

  6. When it’s Democrats complaining of Desantis “retaliating” against Disney, that’s not cool for them. But when they do it, it’s perfectly ok. This type of abuse against political opponents (SAF, not Disney… screw Disney and their shenanigans). Can you say deprivation of civil rights under color of law?

  7. Ferguson did the same thing to kill the only voice in Washington state that was organized enough to churn out initiatives and petitions for the people. Tim Eyman.

  8. And now “Sideshow Bob” is deciding to run for governor! Make sure to send this article to your local newspaper/tv news channel…maybe if enough people do that, the MSM will have to address it.

  9. It’s about time that those in office, specifically state officials, are held accountable for their despicable lawfare.
    I wish the SAF every success in this endeavor and hope that this sends legal ripples to all those who wish to twist and distort our rights to their own nefarious purposes.

  10. About bloody time. Gun control is a civil rights issue. With the fascist left firmly in the camp of the historic bad guys.

    Time to start talking about reparations from the dems for their human and civil rights violations.

  11. I’m in Eastern Washington and I have to say, Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson is nothing but a political hack and a weasel. Now he wants to be governor. It could happen if some money-bags billionaire pours advertising money into the population saturated west side counties. Those folks on the west side of the state are blithering idiots.

    • Not all of us are blithering idiots! We’re outnumbered on this side. It’s absolutely frustrating!

      • I recognize not everyone on the west side are blithering idiots, clearly that isn’t the case but that huge population of ignorant voters overwhelms the rest of the state. I was up in Mt Vernon last year and the peoples house I was at were ass-backwards anti-gun KNOW NOTHING retards.

        They were totally clueless, indoctrinated to the lefts anti-gun talking points. Things that I had to take exception to was the notion that a .223 is this ungodly super powerful round that’s used to take elephants. Although I don’t have anything in .223, only .300 AAC, I know better.

        Since I was a guest, I tried to be gracious and not slam their idiotic retarded blind babble. I did correct them but there are things at times one should avoid in conversation and that’s politics, religion and now gun control.

        I can come off like a major opinionated douche and gun rights is an area where I don’t back down nano-inch.

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