Speaker Louise Stutes says, of the beer party in the Capitol complex last week, there’s nothing to see … move along … no news.
But she is passing out punishment, regardless, and threatening to fire anyone who talks about the party.
- It’s reported that two Majority legislative aides were sent home on leave without pay for attending the party, in violation of the Capitol campus Covid policy.
- One of the aides put on leave is said to be attached to the office of Rep. Zack Fields, who is one of the most forceful supporters of extending the statewide emergency orders for Covid — HB 76.
- The other is said to be associated with the House Majority Press Office.
- Fields did not apologize on Wednesday for breaking the Legislature’s Covid rules by allowing select members of the public, including a Hilcorp executive, inside the building, while Rep. Kelly Merrick and Rep. Sara Rasmussen did apologize for allowing members of the public to attend the party, which they characterized as benign.
- One of the partiers gave a key card to a member of the public, who should not have been in the building, to go and get more beer.
- The blogger who attended the party has been making threats against elected officials and aides, warning them not to talk about the party. His attendance at the party was in violation of the Capitol Covid rules.
- The legislators involved in the party will not be punished because Speaker Stutes rules over a fragile caucus and needs the votes of Rep. Fields and Rep. Merrick, and to a lesser extent Rep. Rasmussen. Legislative aides are dispensable, so are getting thrown under the bus and taking the punishment for the speakeasy party.
- Minority caucus staff members pitched in and bought a $250 gift certificate for pizza for the janitorial staff who had to clean up after the Majority party last week.
- During a community council meeting in Rep. Kelly Merrick’s Eagle River district on Thursday, she was questioned by people who asked how they could ever trust her again.
- Must Read Alaska has put in a public records request to the Legislative Council and Legislative Affairs Agency for the video of that party, but we’re not optimistic.
- Rep. David Eastman and Rep. Chris Kurka have sent a letter to Speaker Stutes, asking her to release the video of the party: