In a politically charged move announced at the onset of the legislative session, the Joint Legislative Ethics Committee decided to remove one of its members.
Rep. David Eastman may be kicked out of the Legislative Ethics Committee for the remainder of the year because he divulged the content of a complaint to someone outside the committee — a reporter.
Eastman says he’s not quite sure what he divulged and the committee is also not telling him. The complaint itself also doesn’t say.
But sometime last spring, an Alaska Journal of Commerce reporter interviewed Eastman and he made known that there was an ethics complaint filed against Rep. Gabrielle LeDoux.
The complaint may have been related to LeDoux telling Rep. Lora Reinbold on the floor of the House that if she didn’t vote the right way on a bill, LeDoux would not give her any money from her political action committee, Gabby’s Tuesday PAC. That would be considered a form of quid pro quo, or even extortion. By any name, an unsavory act.
But the Ethics Act prohibits disclosure of complaints filed with the committee.
If Eastman is removed from the committee, then Rep. Reinbold would step into his place as an alternate. He does have an avenue for appeal, although with the committee stacked with Democrats, it’s not likely to succeed.
Last year, the committee slapped at Rep. Tammie Wilson for sending out a postcard relating to wood stove usage in her community.
Republican Party Chairman Tuckerman Babcock was not impressed:
“It’s pure politics. The timing, the secrecy and the big announcement at the start of the session. They could have counseled him in private, but this is all about tearing someone down,” said Babcock. “Their response is, after one year, to wait until the next legislative session to announce he is kicked off a committee.”