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Alaska Legislature

North Pole lawmaker reprimanded by ethics subcommittee

A subcommittee of the Alaska Legislature reprimanded North Pole Republican Rep. Tammie Wilson on Tuesday for using state money to send a mailer to people outside her legislative district — a move it said provided Wilson with a “private benefit.”

FILE – North Pole Republican Rep. Tammie Wilson (Nathaniel Herz / Alaska Dispatch News)

The House Subcommittee on Legislative Ethics found that there was "probable cause" to believe Wilson broke Alaska ethics laws barring legislators from using state money for campaigning or private benefit.

It didn't suggest a formal penalty but, in a decision dated Aug. 16, it "strongly recommends" that Wilson read the state ethics newsletter "more judiciously."

The complaint against Wilson dates back to January 2014. That's when the subcommittee said she used state money to send a mailer related to North Pole's poor wintertime air quality that went to an unspecified number of people outside of her district, the subcommittee's report said.

In addition to providing a "private benefit" to Wilson, the mailer could also be seen as a campaign effort targeting voters outside her district, the decision said.

In a phone interview Wednesday, Wilson said she'd sent a postcard advertising a public meeting with state air quality regulators to people who had signed up for her mailing list.

"I didn't see that as being anything to do with campaigning or anything else," she said.

She also questioned why it took so long to resolve the complaint, and why she hadn't been given an opportunity to respond to the decision against her.

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