The remarkable story
of a man destined for
political greatness until
an FBI sting killed his career...
and then he picked himself back up.
For more than half a century, Gordon Walgren, lawyer, legislator and
lobbyist, has been a major player in Kitsap County politics. At 25, he won election as county
prosecutor. It looked as though his political future was dead after he lost a notorious case. It
didn’t help that he was romantically involved with the accused’s mistress. Then opportunity
knocked and Walgren quickly re-climbed the political ladder. By 1975 he was Senate majority
leader. Five years later, he was clearly ticketed for statewide office, attorney general
and then, who knows?
It all came undone as a result of Gamscam, an FBI sting that ensnared
Walgren, the speaker of the house and a lobbyist. Charged with
racketeering, the three were accused of conspiring with men they believed
were mobsters to loosen state gambling laws. They did it for a piece of the
profits, the government said.
The case against Walgren was the thinnest, but a jury convicted
him along with the others. He spent two years in a federal prison.
He never admitted guilt and never stopped fighting to clear his name.
On his release, he successfully petitioned to win back his law license,
to overturn all but one conviction and to rebuild his reputation.
“For the first time, former state Senate majority leader Gordon Walgren details the
extraordinary FBI zeal in fabricating the “sting” that sent him to prison and ended his
promising political career. It is a tale of conviction, courage and redemption.”
—Ronald Bright, retired special agent, US Naval Criminal Investigative Service