Document drop: Peltola abused state law during North Pole campaign stop at school, and illegally coordinated election activity with school staff

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Documents obtained through a public records request show that Rep. Mary Peltola, in the capacity of a candidate and not as a U.S. representative, not only used North Pole High School for a campaign stop, but her campaign was trying to put together a fundraiser on campus while she was there, during school hours.

The fundraising portion of her event evidently fizzled, but the school administration actively helped her with the rest of her campaign stop as she was hitting various venues in the Fairbanks area.

It’s a serious offense, according to state law:

“Sec. 14.03.090. Partisan, sectarian, or denominational doctrines prohibited.
Partisan, sectarian, or denominational doctrines may not be advocated in a public school during the hours the school is in session. A teacher or school board violating this section may not receive public money.”

In other words, schools that use their facilities during school hours to advocate for a candidate for partisan political office may not receive funding from the State of Alaska.

The trail of documents obtained by citizen activist Jay McDonald shows public employees in the school district continuously coordinating in advance with Peltola’s campaign staff, and eager to help get pictures and promote her campaign activity on the district’s social media pages. The back and forth emails make it clear the public employees knew they were coordinating with campaign staff.

Peltola came through Fairbanks in January. On Jan. 18, she scheduled a campaign stop at North Pole High School for 11 am to 1 pm, while students were in school. Normally, campaigns could rent school space after hours, but it’s against the law to use public facilities during business hours for campaign events.

Along with her, Peltola had a gaggle of campaign staff, including Chris Whitschy, who was Sen. Bernie Sanders’ senior field film producer on the Bernie 2020 presidential campaign and the Friends of Bernie Sanders political committee, from March 2019-September 2021. Peltola also had with her Anton McPaland, her campaign manager who also serves as her chief of staff.

Even the principal of the high school got involved in helping the campaign event, by writing to campaign coordinator Maggie Calico multiple times to maximize publicity before and after the event.

Must Read Alaska wrote about the illegal activity in January, and immediately Peltola’s campaign staff removed all traces of the event on social media. That’s when Jay McDonald dug deeper to see just how much coordination with the school staff had occurred.

The Democrat member of Congress was accompanied by another Democrat candidate — Fairbanks North Star Borough mayoral candidate Grier Hopkins, who posted a photo to his campaign Facebook page of the two candidates, side by side, unabashedly campaigning during school hours.

Although it was not his campaign event, Hopkins was piggybacking on the representative and may have also been breaking the law, since he used the photo in his social media post.

The event was advertised for the school library, but the two politicians toured the school, popped into classrooms to talk to students and visited the automotive class, where Hopkins took the selfie.

In the narrative of that post on Facebook, Hopkins used the moment to promote more funding for schools from the Legislature and the governor:

“In the CTE Automotive Classroom at North Pole High School with Mary Peltola seeing the fantastic work they do here! Education is so much more than just the 3 R’s (reading, ‘righting, ‘rithmatic)! It’s about creating thinking, curious, caring students who are engaged! As the #akleg debates our Fnsbsd and all of Alaska’s schools’ needs, you can see the impacts right here in the classrooms.  #RaisetheAKBSA — at North Pole High School.” he wrote.

Hopkins, who is running for a nonpartisan seat (mayor) has left his photo memorializing his campaign tour of the school with the candidate for Congress, but the school itself and the North Star Borough School District erased all evidence of the event on their Facebook pages.

28 COMMENTS

  1. Where’s Kendal? He should be all over this and take her to court.
    Come on do what you do best and get in the middle of politics. If this was a Republican they would already have a fake dossier on her.
    Where’s the feds they should be after her just like the NYFD and the baker in Colorado.
    Bunch of one sided laws we have right now.

    • If memory serves, Grier Hopkins is his brother in law….it would make for awkward family holidays.
      The law isn’t one-sided, it is the application of said law, that seem slanted to prosecute only some and not others.

  2. GenX and millennials make poor leaders
    They should had stayed in their pre-college day employment without supervision. As a waiter, bartender, sales clerk, intern, office help they did less damage to America than they do today from management positions.

    Boomers please return back in the workforce to correct your adult kids.

      • Chuck: I will bet a halibut hook to a coho spoon that NOTHING will be said or action as would against a Republican. Bet me!

    • I am glad to see that someone is bringing this out in the open. Considering how she and Hopkins have no shame in being open about the entire “visit,” I am betting that nothing will happen to her or him.

    • Staff for the Alaska Public Offices Commission have recommended a $16,450 fine against Preserve Democracy, a group led by former U.S. Senate candidate Kelly Tshibaka.

      • Good thinking!
        I agree that’s a good start, the fine should be at least that much for Peltola and Hopkins!
        On top of that you need to add the potential FERPA violations (is that a student I see in the background? Does the school have a permission on file to display his photo??)!
        Maybe $16450 isn’t adequate. What do you think Earth 1?

  3. This is a test …
    … there is a law on the books to prevent influence on public property when minors are present, with penalty clearly indicated;
    … the law was willingly broken by law makers, keepers and other public servants in government;
    … the offense was observed and reported;
    … the offenders acted to tamper with evidence, indicating they understood they were breaking the law;
    … will blind justice be applied? That would mean pulling funds from the school for violation of the law; or
    … will there be grace extended, a religious concept only wanted when it benefits the guilty?
    AND … what penalties and fines will be applied to the campaigners and candidates for breaking the law, whether they were aware or not (“ignorance is no defense’)?
    Thanks, Suzanne and Jay, for providing the opportunity to see how justice will be served … likely cookies on a silver platter for the offenders 😛

  4. Another democrat that thinks she’s above the law. The shameless corruption never ends with the left.

  5. And, it is getting memory holed in three… two….
    .
    Seriously, even if any kind of formal charges are filed, they will be dismissed almost immediately. Waste of good electrons publishing this article.

  6. Grier is NOT a nonpartisan candidate. That’s all a bunch of bunk that Democrats like to float at election time. Hopkins is a radical Left-wing Democrat who got pounded good in the 2022 House race in Fairbanks. Grier is from a radical Democrat family. And his brother in law, Scott Kendall, is the biggest election cheater in Alaska.
    We’ll be working hard against Grier Hopkins this fall. Count on it.

  7. This again proves that schools cater to the whims and desires of teachers and administrators with students simply being a necessary annoyance to put up with.
    Any principal worth his/her exalted position, would have considered the disruption for students learning time, students being used as involuntary props (still don’t know what the media and public image policy is for NPHS), the security issue of allowing unknown numbers of adults to roam the building and denied the event.
    From the emails it is clear that none of that was important.

  8. Didn’t Andre MacLeod wage her war against Sarah Palin almost completely through “ethics complaints”? I believe there were several she filed, but I don’t know how they’re filed, and how one goes about enforcing such complaints in order to ruin a state government.
    It appears to me that somebody needs to find an avenue to drive this stake through somebody’s political heart.

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