Politics & Government

State senator on Trump transition team making equivalent of $160k a year while drawing state salary

Sen. Doug Ericksen, R-Ferndale, talks to reporters last month at the Capitol in Olympia. Ericksen, who is serving as both a state senator and a member of President Donald Trump’s transition team, said the Republican majority in the state Senate can rely on him, and that he’s able to do both jobs.
Sen. Doug Ericksen, R-Ferndale, talks to reporters last month at the Capitol in Olympia. Ericksen, who is serving as both a state senator and a member of President Donald Trump’s transition team, said the Republican majority in the state Senate can rely on him, and that he’s able to do both jobs. The Associated Press file

GOP state Sen. Doug Ericksen is making an hourly salary of $77.58 — the equivalent of $161,900 annually — for his temporary job at the Environmental Protection Agency, according to public records obtained by the state Democratic Party.

The Republican from Ferndale is one of 10 people on President Donald Trump’s transition team at the agency and serves as the group’s communications director in Washington, D.C.

Ericksen said in February that the gig was expected to last about 120 days. He took the job after Trump’s inauguration.

Records for the first month of the job show Ericksen was working full time or nearly full time for the EPA. He was paid for 72 hours of work between the two-week period of Feb. 4-18, and 80 hours during the prior pay period — all while splitting time at the state Capitol.

Records show the federal government had paid Ericksen $11,792 for his work through Feb. 18.

While Ericksen has pledged to be present often in Olympia, the EPA job has caused him to miss chunks of time at the Capitol this year. Ericksen still is taking his $46,839 legislative salary but says he’s forgoing a $120 day per diem when not in Olympia.

That time away has drawn criticism from lawmakers and constituents who have said he’s holding up Senate work and not adequately representing his district.

A group of voters tried to recall Ericksen, but the petition was dismissed in Whatcom County Court.

Ericksen, who chairs the Senate’s Environment, Technology and Communications Committee, has said his committee is passing legislation, and he is doing his job. He couldn’t be immediately reached for comment Thursday about the pay records.

Trump’s proposed federal budget, released Thursday, would slash more than a third of the EPA’s funding if passed by Congress.

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