Retaliation: Targeting Conservative Legislators for Communicating with Alaskans

(Rep. David Eastman speaking with a Mat-Su resident in Wasilla)

Shortly before COVID, I filed legislation to protect the right of Alaskans to communicate with the legislature at any time. At the time, I was focused on the threat of those in the executive and judicial branches of government retaliating against state whistleblowers. Little did I know, some of the most outrageous examples of retaliation would come from within the legislature itself.

Let’s be clear. As an Alaskan, being able to communicate with your government is fundamental, as fundamental as the Constitution itself. The thought that someone, anyone, would be retaliated against for communicating with legislators, or that legislators would be retaliated against for communicating with Alaskans, is anathema to a republican form of government. Unfortunately, it is the sad reality that conservative legislators are faced with in Juneau today.

In the months before the last election, allegations were lodged with the state ethics committee against Rep. Christopher Kurka and me, that we had somehow acted illegally in meeting with the representative from Alaska Right to Life during their annual visit to the state capitol to deliver petitions opposing taxpayer funding for abortions.

Another Republican legislator was so offended by Right to Life’s visit to the capitol, and our welcoming of it, that they swore out a false affidavit accusing us of violating state ethics rules in meeting with them.

Another legislator’s office refused straight up to accept the 5,000 petitions. They even called security twice, and falsely accused Pat Martin (who works for Alaska Right to Life) of carrying a firearm in the capitol. There was no gun. It was simply another legislator’s office communicating their displeasure that Alaska Right to Life was in the Capitol Building.

Time and again, Juneau has called upon the misnamed Alaska Legislative Ethics Committee to shut down conservative legislators and limit their ability to communicate with Alaskans. Unfortunately, the committee has been only too happy to oblige.

The affidavit was demonstrably false, and was written by a legislator who was more than a thousand miles away when Alaska Right to Life visited the capitol. Even so, the Ethics Committee chose to use the complaint as an excuse to harass Rep. Christopher Kurka and me, as well as the legislative staffers that worked in each of our offices at the capitol. The investigation was 20 months long, involved several hearings before the committee, and cost Representative Kurka and I more than $6,000 in legal fees.

You can read all about it here:

Must Read Alaska: Malicious Prosecution and Persecution of Conservatives