Two state representatives are saying that a third has acted improperly on the House floor, threatening to withhold campaign cash if a member didn’t vote the right way on a measure.
Rep. David Eastman of Wasilla sent a letter to Rep. Gabrielle LeDoux of East Anchorage on April 14. The letter describes an incident that could only have involved LeDoux and Rep. Lora Reinbold of Eagle River, according to those who spoke on the condition of anonymity.
In the incident, LeDoux is alleged to have made a threat while on the House Floor of the Capitol to withhold money from Reinbold.
The letter dated April 14 doesn’t refer to LeDoux by name but said that “a member” who has a political action committee threatened another representative who sits next to him by saying she would withhold political action committee campaign funds during the next election cycle.
LeDoux has a political action committee, “Gabby’s Tuesday PAC.” Rep. Paul Seaton also has a political action committee, and so does Eastman, for that matter, although his has no significant money.
Here’s how we are told it happened by those who were there: While on the House floor on April 13, LeDoux was putting pressure on Reinbold to vote against an amendment offered by Chris Birch of South Anchorage.
Reinbold stood her ground and refused, at which point LeDoux got increasingly upset and told her that her “next campaign will not be receiving any donations from the other House member’s PAC,” according to Eastman’s account, which was distributed by mail to legislators’ mailboxes in the Capitol.
“While this situation is unfortunate for many reasons, it occurred to me that there may need to be some rules put out that speak to disseminating information on the House Floor that helps legislators adjust their campaign fundraising expectations. Though candidates will not be able to file for office until next month, providing such information could be construed as helping a candidate plan their fundraising efforts,” Eastman wrote.
LeDoux is the House Rules chair and has enforced such rules as disallowing Republican members to refer to unallocated funds as “slush funds,” or to government workers as “bureaucrats.” It would be within her power to create such a rule as suggested by Eastman.
The Muldoon member was a Democrat before she was a Republican, and has now joined with Democrats in ruling the House of Representatives. Her fellow Republicans are in the minority for the first time in decades.
What was the Birch amendment that got LeDoux so agitated at Reinbold, enough to threaten her over political action committee cash? It was an amendment that would have prohibited legislators from having political action committees like the one that LeDoux started last year.
Reinbold has stated to others that such PACS are nothing more than redistributing lobbyists’ money and she believes them to be unethical.
Speaker Bryce Edgmon was the recipient of $1,000 of “Gabby’s Tuesday PAC” money.
LeDoux was taking it personally, sending notes to Reinbold on the House Floor to no avail, and then finally walking over to her during an at-ease and making what could be construed as a political threat involving the exchange of money.
Or, as some might refer to such actions, trying to trade votes for cash. That could be a matter for the Alaska Public Offices Commission, or at least the Legislative Ethics Committee.
Eastman is a minority member and Reinbold is a minority alternate of the Legislative Ethics Committee. It is likely both would have to recuse themselves should the matter be brought before the committee.