Has Santa Claus Been Trespassing?

Has Santa Claus Been Trespassing?

Has Santa Claus Been Trespassing?

For years, Santa has been wandering in and out of homes all over the world, bringing gifts and taking cookies and milk. And not once in all that time has he run afoul of the law.

Until now.

On Dec. 15, the designated Freedom Foundation Santa and one of his elves were making their rounds in Olympia, informing state employees of their right to stop paying the political portion of their union dues, when Department of Enterprise Services (DES) building manager Tawny Rainwater informed Santa and his helper they had to vacate the premises and cease taking photos.

Santa, however, knows his rights and informed Ms. Rainwater they had a right to be in a public lobby and that if she insisted on pressing the matter, she’d wind up on his naughty list.

What happened next is astonishing.   She actually called 911.

Who calls the police on Santa Claus?

Olympia police initially responded and wanted to know why Santa was ignoring a reasonable request to surrender his First Amendment rights. Luckily, the State Patrol showed up to straighten things out, leaving a very unhappy bureaucrat Grinch.

It turns out that bureaucrats and union bosses who oppose free speech and informed employees will stop at nothing to interfere with freedom of information.

In addition to DES, Santa was asked to leave from two other  Washington state agencies last week.. They included:

  • the Department of Natural Resources (DNR);
  • the Department of Ecology (DOE); and,

At DNR, Santa was escorted away from the public cafeteria to the building’s lobby, but he refused to leave the building entirely. When Washington State Patrol troopers showed up, they agreed Santa could stay.

The DOE was by far the most interesting incident. Upon arrival, Santa was informed at the front desk that he could distribute his handout in the lobby, and a security guard named Ken went on to say that if he signed in, he could have full access to the building.

Once the guard realized Santa was not promoting union membership and was, in fact, informing members about their right to request a reduced fee, his tune changed and he transformed into a Grinch.

Ken walked Santa out of the building through the entrance, telling Santa, “We have a good relationship with our union and they don’t want you here.”

A comment was made to the security guard about the building being a public place, and the wishes of the union not making a difference to that point, but Ken shooed Santa out into the cold, where he called David Dewhirst and Nick Dagostino, two Freedom Foundation attorneys, who jumped in their sled and made haste.

Upon arrival of Santa’s legal team, Ken promptly reversed his position and allowed Santa back in the building where he was greeted with cheers from employees.

Santa was even invited into a lunch party where, after explaining to all their rights to opt out, they exclaimed with glee, “Please include me.”

  • When should you call 911?

Call 911 when it is an emergency and a prompt response is needed. Emergencies requiring 911 are life-threatening or a crime in progress. Examples include a fight or assault occurring at the time, a burning fire or a possibly life-threatening medical problem.

  • When to call the non-emergency number?

When Santa and his helper are in your lobby and you are delusional enough to think you have the right to force them to leave.


National Outreach Director
Before joining the Freedom Foundation, Matthew worked as supervisor at the Washington State Department of Agriculture, where he coordinated efforts between federal and state agencies, tribes, and volunteer organizations in the Puget Sound. Grassroots politics has provided Matthew with many unique and sometimes controversial experiences. These experiences range from successfully building coalitions between different factions to training and organizing volunteers to maximize their effectiveness. Matthew’s passion for freedom to educate citizens about their Constitutional rights is strong and unwavering. “I not only measure success by results, bu t by the integrity of the action taken to achieve the result.” —Matthew H.