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Alaska Legislature

Alaska legislative committee finds lawmaker violated ethics law

  • Author: Becky Bohrer, Associated Press
  • Updated: July 19, 2018
  • Published July 19, 2018

JUNEAU — A legislative ethics panel said it found by "clear and convincing evidence" that an Alaska lawmaker violated ethics law by disclosing the existence of a complaint that was considered confidential.

Wasilla Republican Rep. David Eastman on the House floor Wednesday, May 10, 2017. (Nathaniel Herz / Alaska Dispatch News)

At a public hearing Tuesday, Rep. David Eastman of Wasilla denied the allegation.

A subcommittee of the Select Committee on Legislative Ethics deliberated at the close of Tuesday's hourslong hearing but adjourned without announcing its decision. A written decision, instead, was released Thursday.

In it, the subcommittee said the hearing marked the first time that Eastman had made a "definitive complete denial" of disclosing the existence of a confidential complaint to reporter Naomi Klouda of the Alaska Journal of Commerce. It was inconsistent with statements Eastman previously made to an investigator, the decision states.

No additional sanctions were recommended against Eastman, who in January was removed from his seat on the ethics committee by the state House after the ethics subcommittee found probably cause of an ethics violation and recommended that action.

Messages seeking comment were left with Eastman and his attorney, Tim Petumenos.

In January, the Alaska Journal of Commerce reported that Eastman told Klouda during an April 2017 interview that a complaint had been filed against Rep. Gabrielle LeDoux and suggested she check with the ethics office. Klouda did.

Petumenos disputed that characterization of events and said Klouda lacked notes to back it up.

The ethics decision excerpts an exchange between the investigator and Eastman in which the investigator asks if it was possible that Eastman could have said to call about an alleged complaint.

"I suppose it's possible, but I guess, yeah, I'm trying to figure out why I would have said something like that. I can't make any sense out of that," Eastman responded.

The ethics subcommittee said Klouda appeared to have no reason to give false information.

LeDoux has said that a complaint against her was dismissed because it was meritless.

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