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Arkansas Congressional candidate suspected of theft in Alaska

Eric Christopher Adams

A former Alaska Democratic politico suspected of stealing money from a nonprofit charity for military veterans, and who's been on the run for a couple of months, has turned up in Arkansas. Running for Congress.

Andrew Caleb Pritt, who managed Diane Benson's 2010 campaign for lieutenant governor, has been accused of raising $3,000 at an Anchorage drag show and auction, pocketing the money and heading south, according to a story first reported by the progressive blog Bent Alaska, and then further investigated by the Anchorage Daily News.

What's known is that Pritt organized a "Home for an Alaskan Hero" fundraiser for Benson's son, Latseen Benson, who lost both his legs in Iraq. Bent Alaska reported in September that the Mad Myrna's benefit raised $3,170 toward a new home for Latseen Benson. The money was then to be provided to the national nonprofit "Homes for Our Troops."

But the money never got there. Pritt disappeared. A Daily News reporter followed Pritt's trail south and spoke with the man's father, a preacher, who said he wanted nothing to do with the situation or his son, who had "gone into the gay lifestyle, female impersonations and all that stuff," according to the story.

Bent Alaska reports that Pritt turned up in Little Rock, at a drag show, using the stage names Diedra Richards Ho Jenkins and Diedra Richards Harrison.

But even more bizarrely, the website Arkansas News reports that when he's not in drag, Pritt has been campaigning for U.S. Congress.

Pritt -- going by the name Drew -- wants to represent Arkansas' 2nd District and has mounted a challenge to incumbent Rep. Tim Griffin, R-Little Rock. An Arkansas reporter confronted Pritt about his alleged financial crimes in Alaska -- crimes still under investigation by Anchorage Police Department -- and the candidate said he was "sorry" that the money was unaccounted for but that "the issues in this congressional race are not dealing with things in my personal life."

Trace Pritt's story backwards: Read the Arkansas News story, the Anchorage Daily News story, and Bent Alaska's ongoing reporting.

Contact Eric Christopher Adams at eric(at)alaskadispatch.com