Cambodians who fled to Seattle ‘shocked’ as details emerge of state senator’s $500K deal with regime

In late March, before they revealed a $500,000 contract from the government of Cambodia, state Sen. Doug Ericksen and former state Rep. Jay Rodne traveled to Phnom Penh and met with Prime Minister Hun Sen at the country’s Peace Palace.

They posed with Hun Sen for photos and Ericksen, R-Ferndale, reportedly praised the country’s widely condemned 2018 elections, which took place amid a crackdown that included shuttering independent media outlets and dissolving the main opposition party.

Ericksen called the vote “free, just, and nonviolent, expressing the wills of the Cambodian people,” according to a March 22 report by Fresh News, a pro-government Cambodian news site, which said the comments were relayed through a government spokesman. The comments echoed earlier remarks Ericksen had made about the elections, which he observed at the invitation of the Hun Sen government.

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