Four members of the Alaska House of Representatives have sent a public records request asking for records from the Alaska Human Rights Commission, following a Department of Law inquiry into the behavior of the agency’s executive director Marti Buscaglia.
Buscaglia was recently investigated because she put her business card on a vehicle parked in the agency’s parking lot, instructing the owner of the vehicle to remove it due to what she felt was an offensive decal. She then mocked the owner of the vehicle by posting her comments about the truck decal on the agency’s Facebook page.
The commission of the agency is taking up the matter in executive session today, and Buscaglia’s job hangs in the balance as the commission must decide if she has irreparably damaged the reputation of the agency.
The records request is for all electronic and written communications between Buscaglia and her staff from Jan. 1, 2019 to March 31, 2019.
Signing the letter were Rep. Lance Pruitt (R-Anchorage), House Minority Leader; Rep. Dave Talerico (R-Healy); Rep. Josh Revak (R-Anchorage); and Rep. Ben Carpenter (R-Nikiski). All are members of the Republican minority caucus.
The four want to know if this is a one-off situation or a pattern of behavior at the agency.
“Obviously, we’ve seen the details of the story play out a little bit in the press, but I’m more interested in seeing if this is a consistent pattern of behavior inside the agency,” said Pruitt. “We simply cannot have government agencies and officials clearly and intentionally violating the rights of Alaskans in order to promote a political ideology.”
“If a state agency is found to have intentionally violated the civil rights of Alaskans, they have no business continuing to receive state funding, no matter how pure their mission may appear,” Talerico said. “Free speech is guaranteed by the constitution, and to see a public official using her official state business card and social media accounts to make a statement suppressing free speech is, I would argue, at minimum, grounds for dismissal.”
“Whether we agree with someone’s speech is irrelevant. Free speech is a guaranteed right that has been paid for time and again by our honorable veterans and active duty service members and their families,” Revak said. “To see an unelected government bureaucrat with the audacity to tell a private citizen what he can or cannot say is so deeply offensive to me. I’m not going to stand for it.”
The letter can be read here.
The Agency has 10 business days to respond to the legislators’ request.
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