Judge Jack McKenna, in an order released on Friday, says that while the Oath Keepers are an organization the judge believes took concrete action to overthrow by violence the United States government, Rep. David Eastman has taken no such action and “does not and did not possess a specific intent to further the Oath Keeper’s [sic] words or actions aimed at overthrowing the United States government. The court therefore finds that he is not disqualified from holding public office…”
The lawsuit brought by Wasilla partisan activist Randall Kowalke was asking that the court force the Division of Elections to make Eastman ineligible to serve because of his membership in an association that has up to 38,000 members, mostly former military and police officers. The Oath Keepers leadership was involved in events on Jan. 6, 2021 at the U.S. Capitol, when a few hundred citizens disrupted the certification of the Electoral College vote that made Joe Biden president. The group’s founder, Stewart Rhodes, has been convicted of seditious conspiracy.
Eastman, a Republican who just won his fourth term to represent Wasilla, was accused of violating the Alaska Constitution’s “disloyalty clause” for his membership in Oath Keepers. He once sent in dues that gave him a lifetime membership in the group. According to the Alaska Constitution, anyone advocating for the overthrow of the U.S. government cannot hold a public office.
Kowalke and the Northern Justice Project are not the first who have tried to prevent Eastman from serving. Democrats in the Alaska House tried to have him removed from office due to his attendance at a speech by President Donald Trump on Jan. 6, 2021, in Washington, D.C.
The matter may be appealed to the Alaska Supreme Court.