Leaks from governor's office put Attorney General in hot water over text exchanges - Must Read Alaska
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Leaks from governor’s office put Attorney General in hot water over text exchanges

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The moral of the story is that in politics, you cannot trust anyone.

A leak from inside the Office of the Governor to the leading attorney for the Recall Dunleavy Committee was then funneled to the Anchorage Daily News.

The series of text message exchanges between Attorney General Kevin Clarkson and a female employee in the Office of the Governor will, at the very least, embarrass the Administration when the story comes out tomorrow.

The numerous texts occurred between the woman and Clarkson, and were friendly and warm in nature. There were emojis and affectionate terms. She sent him a picture of herself. He wished her a good night and called her terms of endearment, but nothing salacious occurred in the texts.

The woman eventually got uncomfortable and put a halt to the back and forth, which were not sexual in any way, but were personal comments on personal cell phones.

When she confided about the exchange to a colleague, that information made its way to Scott Kendall, the former chief of staff for Gov. Bill Walker. Kendall heads up the effort to recall Gov. Mike Dunleavy and is the prime mover behind Ballot Measure 2, an effort to upend the Republican Primary.

Kendall was the same person who covered up the tracks of former Lt. Gov. Byron Mallott, after Mallott put the move on a young girl during the Alaska Federation of Natives annual convention in 2018. Mallott resigned, but the Walker Administration never said exactly what happened, and it’s Scott Kendall, former Communications Director Grace Jang, and former Press Secretary Austin Baird who have kept the Walker-Mallott secret all these years.

Kendall started calling the Governor’s Office for information. He called his sources inside the Administration and an inquiry was set up through state human resources officers.

Before all was said and done, Kendall had gotten ahold of the texts and sent them to the Anchorage Daily News, which got right on the trail.

The Dunleavy Administration has been plagued by leaks to liberal political blogs. Must Read Alaska has learned about this from sources close to the situation, not from the Administration itself.

An investigation ensued and the employee who was texting with the attorney general did not want to pursue any action, but the leaks have now forced the matter out into the open. Clarkson was placed on 30-days leave, unpaid, which is close to completing.

It is unclear how the content of the text messages made their way to Kendall. But it’s clear the woman who is involved didn’t want to make her texts public and that Kendall knew he was passing along confidential information that was part of an internal investigation. The woman is not a victim in this case, but is collateral damage for Kendall, who just wants the governor recalled.

Clarkson issued a statement tonight taking full responsibility for his actions:

“I wish to take public responsibility for errors of judgment that led directly, but unintentionally, to my placing a State employee in an uncomfortable environment in her workplace. This employee was not in the department of law, I was not her supervisor, and I did not supervise her; nevertheless, I should never have placed her in this uncomfortable situation. For this, I am truly sorry.

“I engaged in a series of text messages with this employee over approximately one month. The topics of these texts ranged from food, to movies, to books, to family, and all were conversational and positive, were reciprocal, and were, I believed, mutual. I sent her pictures of food that I cooked from time to time. These texts included invitations for this person and her children to come to my home to share a meal, which she politely declined. All of these texts were “G” rated. In our texts we exchanged mutual endearments in words and emojis. On several occasions, this person initiated a friendly hug when I came to her work place, and I reflexively gave her a peck on top of her head.

“In short, I believed we had a positive friendship borne of mutual respect and interests. What I failed to recognize is the impact that these interactions had on this person, due to the disparity in our workplace rank. Of course, I should have recognized this from the start, and should have maintained a more distanced and professional relationship. I am deeply sorry for the discomfort I caused this person, and only wish her well.

“When this person eventually expressed her discomfort to me, I immediately respected her wishes and ceased communicating with her by text. She appropriately reported this situation to her supervisor, and I immediately and fully cooperated in the ensuing process, and have accepted the finding that my actions, however unintentionally, created an uncomfortable workplace environment for this employee. I have accepted and am completing a period of unpaid leave as a consequence for my error in judgment, which I recognize was wholly and only mine.

“This should have ended the matter. The affected employee has not taken the matter further, and has not sought to publicize or exploit it. I understand she expected and desired it to remain confidential, as the law requires. Her wishes should have been respected. Unfortunately, however, someone familiar with this situation broke her confidence (and the law), and has made it known to certain political operatives and a member of the press. These actors, unconcerned with this person’s reasonable expectation of privacy, are now publicizing it for their own political purposes.

“I wish to create no unnecessary distractions for the Governor, who I respect and admire, or for his Administration. I sincerely apologize to him for my lapse of judgment. I am carefully considering my next steps and will respect his wishes.”

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Suzanne Downing had careers in business and journalism before serving as the Director of Faith and Community-based Initiatives for Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and returning to Alaska to serve as speechwriter for Gov. Sean Parnell. Born on the Oregon coast, she moved to Alaska in 1969.

Latest comments

  • I don’t care for the fact that this AG has not used his office to support Alaskans’ right to work, worship or assemble. He has let tyrants like little Berkowitz trample the rights and livelihoods of hundreds of thousands of people. BUT this entire situation reeks. This is as clear of a hit job as there ever was. No one could live up to this standard. We are to believe the bold defenders of infanticide, pedophiles and rapists take issue with this good man being friends with a person of the opposite sex? I thought we were to be gender blind? Not so in this case hey? He invited her whole family over to dinner, with his family? What a joke.

  • Hold the effing phone! You mean the Anchorage Daily News, run by the Binkley family, would stoop that low and run a piece on how our AG got into a little text-trysting with an adult female? That is low-bar journalism. The question that still needs an answer is: Why didn’t the ADN and the Binkleys report on the child-sex abuse of then Lt. Governor Byron Mallott? That should have been a national story, especially since it forced the resignation of Mallott and killed off the the reelection of Governor Bill Walker. Could the ADN apprise we Alaskans about THAT ordeal, please?
    Scott Kendall is a little fry attorney with no place to go professionally. The fake recall was his only game. His brother-in-law, Grier Hopkins, who is running for the State House, will be an unfortunate target caused by Mr. Kendall’s misguided political retributions. And Bill Walker, the snake in the grass who orchestrates all of this from the back swamps, should check the depth of the waters where he slithers around.

    • The ADN is really feeding at the bottom with this story. I agree with the poster above, that the Mallott child-sex abuse story was the story the ADN missed……….possibly for an award in journalism. But crickets? Pure cowardice on ADN’s part. Doesn’t the Binkley family have any journalistic fortitude? Why own Alaska’s largest daily if you won’t give the public the real story? Here, ADN is just printing sensational hogwash. Johne Binkley was appointed by Senator Cathy Giessel to the Redistricting Board. Giessel was shown the door by her own constituents last week. Why would Binkley, a supposed Republican, want to do a smutty hit piece on a Dunleavy cabinet-level officer? Is Binkley part of the recall Dunleavy effort? Is Binkley working behind the scenes with the disgraced Bill Walker? Apparently, working with the Alaska Railroad, the Alaska Cruise Ship Industry, Bush politics, and the family tour business was not enough. He needs to control the reporting narrative for the Democrats too? A supposed Republican doing this? Or, is it yet another sour grapes Republican, turned traitor? The tourism business will be upended for at least a few years here in Alaska. So, if Mr. Binkley wants to actuate some truth in reporting, he should start his new journalism career by balanced reporting and feed the public the true inside story behind Byron Mallott’s forced resignation, Scott Kendall’s cover-up participation to a potential criminal act, and Bill Walker’s role in letting an alleged pedophile escape justice.

    • The old double standard at work. A Republican AG resigns out of respect and it gets reported as an aggregious affair. But a Democrat gets forced out of office for a potentially criminal act with underage children, and it gets no reporting whatsoever. The Anchorage Daily News is now an instrument of the Left, and an unreliable news source. Whoever runs these ADN stories needs to be reported on. Let’s get to the bottom of the ADN.

      • ADN is run by cowards. So glad we have Suzanne.

  • Politics can be a dirty business some times.

  • In these matters, there are always contradictions in the story line made public.

    “The numerous texts occurred between the woman and Clarkson, and were friendly and warm in nature. There were emojis and affectionate terms. She sent him a picture of herself….” “When this person eventually expressed her discomfort to me, I immediately respected her wishes and ceased communicating with her by text.”
    The narrative implies a relationship developed but the woman eventually felt discomfort.

    The narrative would be unnecessary by just publicizing the texts.

  • Is Clarkson married?

  • This was “nipped in the bud”. As much as I respect the Dunleavy administration and in fact respect the AG, it appears that his actions were intended to eventually result in more than a friendly “ hug” or a “peck “ on the head. And this took place during work and in the work place. Clarkson should have known better. And it was not he who ended it. Had she not called it off it certainly would have gone on and likely escalated into more than a friendship. This article does not mention whether either parties are married. If they were that only adds to the stupidity and potential for bad outcomes.
    But the penalty should match the the offense. He has been contrite. And a 30 day suspension without pay will cost him well over $12,000. The public flogging instigated by the recall people adds to the penalty. That should be more than enough for his actions. But in the minds of the recall people it is not enough. They will attack Dunleavy for allowing this behavior to take place. It will be cast as Dunleavy’s fault. I hope readers keep this episode in perspective.

    • Kevin Clarkson is married to Johanita, a 20 something woman in Columbia. Not sure how they met, but mail order bride is most likely. His wife and her son have been unable to obtain an American Visa so Dunleavy sent a request to the President for help. Apparently no help came.
      Since Clarkson became AG, he has gone after multiple small businesses that were owned by people he had a vendetta against. His lackey’s threatened vendors of those businesses with jail time if they said anything about the subpoena they received. He completely abused his power, which ironically he publicly defended Sarah Palin for. This guy was a train wreck and a bad seed. Dunleavy obviously had no idea who and what Kevin Clarkson represented but I’m glad he quickly got rid of him.

    • Clarkson is married – his wife is in South America awaiting a Visa for her minor child’s entry into the US, last I heard. Despicable behavior by a married man. Clarkson’s net worth is probably in excess of 10 million, so I’m sure $12K is nothing more than a few good bottles of wine to him. Questionable behavior by a man who calls himself a Christian, for sure.

  • The principle of the “End Justifying the Means” strikes again, apparently. We are seeing this on the left big time.

    I wrote the following article for Mat-Su’s “Peoples Paper” some months ago.

    makeasceneak.com/midnovember-2018/2018/11/5/does-the-end-justify-the-means?rq=Doug%20Ferguson

    Like it or not, were are in a political/cultural war. In some areas of the country it is also turning into a physical one. We need to wake up to what is going on.

    DKF

  • It’s odd you have access to the texts, and access to the inside workings of when media contacts the administration. Clearly you work for the Dunleavy administration, however unofficial. Sadly, I can’t trust this blog, because I know the motives are not to inform Alaskans but instead to aid the politicians you support. Perhaps in your mind they are the same thing. They are not.

  • Show us the texts so we can decide. Otherwise it’s just your opinion.

  • Why did you delete my comment? Oh well. At least you saw it. Girl, you know it is true. You work for Dunleavy. Don’t be ashamed. Own it. Be transparent.

    • Ava, we know you work on the Dunleavy recall. And for the Democrats. Own it. Be transparent.

  • Also, I’d like to see the texts so I can decide what to think instead of your interpretation. The ADN reports he sent —- like this 😘😘😘😘😘😘😘😘😘😘😘😘😘😘😘😘😘😘😘😘😘😘😘😘😘😘😘😘😘😘😘😘😘
    Def not cool

    • Well the jury has spoken. The AG just resigned. And now it is disclosed he was married during his communications with the woman.
      I think he did the right thing by resigning. It hopefully will eliminate a lot of energy that some people would like to capitalize on.
      The AG made a serious error and has paid a significant price. Time to move on.

  • I understand the sometimes complex issues relating to the initiation of worker relationships within private companies & government entities. But this is ludicrous. This just adds to the politicization of everything. Somebody sees a way to hurt the Governor by taking advantage of a human relationship that was developing. Soon no one will be able to talk to anyone else at work or socialize except if you are exactly equals in the hierarchy.

    I recall when I was working for a government agency (not Alaska) criticism for a supervisor who played golf with subordinates then hit the lounge with them after the game. SHE was brought to task because some people did not like her & saw an opportunity to pick up the knife.

    I was a first line supervisor as well at the time. I decided if I had to cut myself off from my long term friends just to survive the workplace in management it was not worth it. I voluntarily demoted. And my supervisors wondered why. This is where this total equality & equity goal takes us. It is very sad.

    • If you can’t see the difference between appropriate socializing between coworkers and the repeated romantic overtures expressed in these texts, I think it was a good move for you to remove yourself from a management position.

      • Then why didn’t Bill Clinton resign from the presidency, and why didn’t Joe Biden resign from the US Senate?

  • Ok ok. Come on. You know this isn’t cool:

    “Over a 27-day span, the attorney general asked the woman to come to his house at least 18 times, often punctuating the messages with kiss emoji and comments about the much-younger woman’s beauty.

    The attorney general texted the woman at all hours of the day and evening, sometimes from his state office, until she sent him a message in early April asking him to respect professional boundaries and saying she doesn’t accept late-night calls on her personal phone.

    On March 16, Clarkson wrote to the state employee: “You’re beautiful … sweet dreams. 😘 Sorry to bother you.” The day after that he texted, “So what are you doing sweet lady?” And the day after that: “Always nice to see you beautiful lady … You have to find a way to say yes and come over and let me cook for you.”

    • How do you know this unless you have obtained private text messages between two adults. Were these legally obtained? What laws were broken in obtaining these texts. It doesn’t sound like the 2 parties involved released their text messages. I’m sorry but unless these text messages were legally obtained and agreed to be released by the 2 parties involved then you are demonstrating a complete lack of character. JD

      • Former AG TOTAL lack of judgement — so so bad.

        • But…….how about Byron Mallott? No detailed reporting whatsoever. Was that good judgment?

        • Ava, but Byron Mallott had good judgment, and so did Bill Walker for putting Mallott on his designed unity ticket? So so bad!

      • When two employees communicate in writing between each other while on the job then isn’t the communication state property? Anything an employee writes while on duty is state property, right?

  • If I was a young employee and one of the top employees of the state sent me this, which is CLEARLY an invitation for a date, I would be horrified. This behavior is unprofessional at best, and harassment at worse. Either way it shows *bad judgment* and Alaska needs an AG with *good judgement*.

    On March 16, Clarkson wrote to the state employee: “You’re beautiful … sweet dreams. 😘 Sorry to bother you.” The day after that he texted, “So what are you doing sweet lady?” And the day after that: “Always nice to see you beautiful lady … You have to find a way to say yes and come over and let me cook for you.”

    • Lol. Ava doesn’t get hit up on. Guys sort of pass her by………probably on her words alone……but it could be other things too. Envy displays it’s ugly head in many ways.

  • When the Anchorage Daily News does print the story (likely being vetted by their legal this morning) it will not have much credibility with me, no matter how they choose to spin it, because they still refuse to tell us why the Alaska Lt. Governor resigned two weeks before the 2018 election. Now would be a great time for the Daily News to tell us the truth, and the entire truth, about that resignation. With far left municipal assemblies around the state looking at their own and one another’s navel for racism someone might ask: If the Daily News decision to keep us in the dark about that 2018 resignation is in part based upon race, is that racism?

    • Could someone please wake the dead and let’s get to the truth of the matter from Byron Mallott himself.

      • Mav, and while this awakening is taking place, could Gary also be aroused and explain to Alaskans why he was flying his plane without proper medical and registration papers? The families of six dead people would like to know.

  • Why do you erase comments? It shows that you don’t want to engage with any opinion other than your own.

    • I have learned over the past 2 years that some of my posts are edited or deleted based on content and the possibility of libel or slander. If you read deep enough you will see many posts that obviously don’t fall in line with Suzanne’s personal beliefs yet she allows them. Just rewrite it or tone it down and don’t take it personal. I sure don’t.

        • I’m one of Suzanne’s hugest fans and she knows it. I get edited or erased more than anyone here at MRAK. And I only vote Republican. LOL.

  • A much younger female State Employee? Invited her over 18 times? Kiss emojis? Creepy.

    • Sounds like Byron Mallott, doesn’t it?
      Or Bill Clinton? Or, Creepy Joe Biden sniffing hair and digitally penetrating women?

  • Now we know why the AG did nothing while the US Constitution and the Alaska Constitution was trampled on by AWOL Mike and Anne Zink.

    • Bingo.
      What I still want to know is why Dunleavy is AWOL. His initial 180 regarding the wuhan flu and his continuing lack of leadership in defending Alaskan (particularly Anchorage) citizen’s constitutional rights made me think that someone has something on him, too.
      Zink and Crum need to go but there seem to be no real men left in the state or municipal government. Hopefully some real women – from Eagle River, maybe! – can step forward and lead AK.

  • So it’s ok for MRAK to post rumors about Mallot but not ok for ADN to report on the AG? Both are fair game imo.

    • The ADN did not report on Mallott. Get your facts straight.

      • ADN reported on Mallott.

        • BS. They covered it up. Should have been headline news for a week. A sitting governor disgracefully gone. A 75 year-old Lt. Governor trying to hook-up with his young mistresse’s teen daughter. Disgusting! Bill Walker was a piece of garbage for inviting Byron Mallott onboard with his Unity ticket.

    • They are both fair game. The difference is that MRAK has written about both incidents. ADN did not.

  • Lol. One snake in the grass back stabber gone.

  • Wow…talk about much ado about nothing. SMH…what they’ll do for headlines these days…talk about twisting something all out of proportion.

    • Oh karen… time to start paying attention.

  • I find it ironic that you excoriate leaks to “liberal political blogs” but you posted a copy of Clarkson’s resignation letter before his resignation has even been announced to the Department of Law.

    • Why so, Suzanne has friends in high places. Being a good journalist, she has her sources. Don’t blame her for doing a good job.

      • Well, one less friend in high places after today.

        • He’s not a friend obviously.

      • Just pointing out the hypocrisy of her criticizing others for the same behavior she is engaging in!

  • In August 2020, Clarkson was put on a monthlong unpaid leave, with Ed Sniffen being delegated his authority.[3][4] According to investigations by media organizations, a junior state employee had complained about 558 text messages Clarkson had sent to her in May of the same year. In the text messages, he had asked the woman to come to his house at least 18 times. Many of these requests were punctuated with the kiss emoji and comments about the woman’s beauty.

  • I’m told that people pleaded with the Anchorage Mayor to exempt whorehouses from the Chinese flu shut-down(s), as Juneau and Fairbanks did I am led to believe, but he refused. So is this yet one more Berky outcome? I hope Clarkson buys the biggest Indian motorcycle and rides into the sunset.

    • I’m sorry but we don’t call them Indian motorcycles anymore. It would be first peoples motorcycle or first Nations motorcycle.

      • Indigenous-cycle… Jeez…get it right!

        • That is the whites’ terminology. We prefer first Nation.

  • “The moral of the story is that in politics, you cannot trust anyone.” – Suzanne Downing

    Really? That is the moral you take away from this? How about “People in power should wield it carefully and recognize the influence they have on others”? Anything else but “gosh darn you just can’t trust anyone to keep a sext message secret anymore!”

    SMH.

  • The ADN had turned into a smut rag, much like the Fairbanks Newsminer was in the 1990’s when they reported on the very open civil lawsuit against the Binkley family, by a member of the Binkley family. History does tend to repeat itself.

  • There is a line here. If there are two adult, single, willing people developing a relationship, that is one thing. But, when you are the Attorney General you have GOT to know that texting, touching in the workplace, etc. is bad juju. Over-zealous actions when developing a relationship is always in bad form. And texting? Good gawd… those will always come back and stab you in the end. Kevin clearly wasn’t thinking with the correct body part on this one. You could have set a timer to predict the resignation notice – and when I read this last night, I guessed by the end of Tuesday he will have resigned. Yep, he did. And, in my opinion he did the right thing.
    .
    As far as Scott Kendall goes – he’s a punk that clearly has nothing better to do than interject himself into anything that will harm our Governor. Scott is walking a fine line himself. Get a real job, Scott.
    .

    • Yeah, the fool didn’t learn anything from those two lovers in the FBI they got caught with their pants down and I’m probably going to go to jail now. At least Hillary had the common sense smash her phones with a freaking sledgehammer

  • Proof why Mike Pence is 100% correct when he publicly stated he will not dine alone with a woman that is not his wife.

    Everyone has friends, and they text. Easy to take them out of context. Easy for one person to make assumptions about the relationship that are not true. And, in the political world, very easy to take something and make it a scandal.

    • So of course, you text your special friends over 500 times in a month. And this, being a scandal, made Bubby resign. That’s the context. There isn’t any other ‘context’. You suppose he just went on leave because?

  • Ahhh..Let In The Clowns….the best way to describe Juneau and the state government

  • The leaks only revealed the creep for what he is. His behavior is what is totally responsible for his situation, he has since resigned. The conservative base will eat up the argument that the leak was the problem, if it just hadn’t been exposed there wouldn’t be a problem. Let him be known as Creepy Clarkson for the rest of his life.

  • “The moral of the story is that in politics, you cannot trust anyone.” That, to you, is the moral of this story? Zeesh, you’re even more craven than I gave you credit for. What is with you christianists, anyway?

    • Naw. First, MustReadAK scooped all other media with this story, including the Anchorage Daily News, public radio, etc., and we are grateful for it, as we should be. Second, this is a balanced report and no facts that have come out anywhere else have added anything to what came out here first. Third, times have changed and they’re just as MustReadAK says, which is an important part of the story. Fourth, the comprehensive portrayal here doesn’t descend into gossip or sensationalism, which is both welcome and unusual for statewide media today. Finally, the Byron Mallot incident – the even yet unexplained resignation of a Lt. Gov. – sheds a needed light upon how incomplete and partisan most of the Alaska media can be.

      • Well, when the perp calls YOU it’s pretty hard to call that a scoop! There wasn’t any sort of investigative sleuthing at all.

  • This is what they call a “bad take”

  • Haiku attempt #1.

    He: 558 texts only fun
    but skirt stayed down, pants still up
    Resigned today for a dry run

    • Unlike Bill Clinton,
      Who left his stain;
      Or Joe Biden,
      Who sniffed her hair,
      And fingered the dame.

  • Only surprise here is he was texting a women.

  • No, the moral of the story is this kind of tawdry behavior is common among all forms of administrations and legislatures, be they red, blue, red/blue (i.e. the Walkers), and any other type.

    Sexually-charged indiscretion sells a lot of newspapers and feeds some wonderfully snide jokes, but that’s probably where we should leave it. Pointing fingers at the other side, or lamely trying to defend the bad behavior….bah, not worth it, because – let’s face it – the behavior is so commonplace.

  • Mutual communications that we’re non-sexual in nature that ended when the woman requested.
    The woman wasn’t a subordinate or even in the same department.
    No complaints registered by the “victim.”
    And that’s enough to drive an AG out of office? Ridiculous.
    Kendall, the undisclosed leaker in the AG’s office and the ADN ALL need to be prosecuted for violating privacy laws.
    There is nothing that a liberal won’t do no matter how despicable.
    Kendall couldn’t care less about the woman or the AG…he’s just a lowlife Democrat using them to attack Dunleavy.
    Kendall knowingly covered up actual sexual harassment by a fellow Democrat.
    What a POS.

  • Sounds like two adults worked it out.

  • The person that needs to lose their job here is the person working in HR that leaked this confidential information. That person is being paid a good salary with our tax dollars and I would bet you’d also find that person’s name on the recall petition.

    • Bill Stoltze appointed to The matsu office. Kellsie Green was his fling

      Kevin Clarkson now has hi fling

      Dunleavy has a pattern of hanging out with rather slimy folks and then appoints them to $$$$$. Makes me wonder what’s next???

      Why do these slim mongers get to resign?
      Wouldn’t it be more appropriate to fire them and send a message???

  • I should have known better, a song by the Beatles. Where can I send him a copy?

  • If someone received 558 unwelcome texts, I can only wonder why they didn’t block the offender after the first offensive text……….

    • Perhaps because the offender was a man in significant power and they were concerned about their career. That is whole point.

      • With all the protective, work related, laws in place for workers today, if there had been retaliation, she would have been in a superior legal position. Huge monetary lawsuits have been rendered in cases such as You imply…

  • Would the ADN print the text messages between Byron Mallott and the underage girl he was pursuing?

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