One of the charges made by the Recall Dunleavy Committee is that the governor used state funds for partisan political purposes. That matter has now been put to rest.
The complaint concerned social media posts and mailed flyers by the Governor’s Office to get the public engaged to push to put the Permanent Fund dividend in the Alaska Constitution.
Seven categories of problematic communications were alleged in the one complaint made. But only one category of communication was found to be possibly problematic by the special counsel to the Personnel Board, who thought it crossed the line to partisan political purpose: A mailer.
Some of the language in the mailer landed in the districts of two legislators who had filed their notices that they intended to run for reelection. Because in the communications, the Governor’s Office had referred to those legislators, this could be seen as partisan politicking.
Gov. Mike Dunleavy had no role in the drafting, design, publishing, or approving the communications that went out from his office, and did not intend for State resources to be used for partisan purposes. The media campaign was done by staff at the broad direction of the governor to do outreach to the public, according to the settlement.
However, rather than fight it, the governor has decided to resolve it by reimbursing the State $2,800 for the communications. He has not admitted guilt and expresses concern that governors in the future may be held financially liable for the actions of their staffs.
“I don’t believe I violated the Alaska Executive Ethics Act. Nevertheless, I believe it is in the best interests of the State to resolve these complaints, and, for this reason, I am reimbursing the State for the cost of these advertisements and ensuring that my staff undergoes all appropriate ethics training. I am also taking this opportunity to remind the devoted public servants in my office of the very high ethical standards that Alaskans rightly demand,” Dunleavy wrote.
The matter never was heard by The Alaska Personnel Board but was resolved by Dunleavy and the Board’s special counsel John J. Tiemessen.
Read the settlement statement here: