March Madness: Rep. Kawasaki runs gambling ring out of office - Must Read Alaska
Connect with:
Saturday, March 28, 2020
HomePoliticsMarch Madness: Rep. Kawasaki runs gambling ring out of office

March Madness: Rep. Kawasaki runs gambling ring out of office

March Madness has swept the Capitol, and with nothing better to do, gambling is in full swing on state time.

Democrat Rep. Scott Kawasaki’s aide sent out the March Madness basketball brackets and explanation of rules to over 100 legislators and aides in the Capitol, and used state equipment and state time (the message was sent at 11:15 am) to craft the instructions and attach the brackets. It is costing each participating state employee $5 to play.

Here are Kawasaki’s instructions for gambling in this tournament, and clearly not for the benefit of a charity:

Hello All!

If you haven’t heard yet, there are March Madness brackets in Rep. Kawasaki’s office! The price per bracket is $5, and the winner takes the entire pot. We have printed brackets in room 502, with the scoring guide on them. I will collect your bracket and send out scores and standings after each round. Only those who have paid will receive their scores and standings.


The rules are simple. There are 6 rounds to the NCAA tournament, for each correct winner picked, a player is awarded points based on what round the winner is picked in. The person at the end of the tournament with the highest point total is the winner.

Some people prefer to place a great deal of weight on picking the championship game correctly and prefer to use the 1, 2, 4, 8, 16, 32 point system. This means in most cases means the winner of the office pool must correctly pick the winner of the championship game. Others think that picking the most games correctly should weigh more on the outcome they might use a system of 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6.

I definitely don’t like the idea of putting all of the weight on the championship game, you are basically eliminating everyone that does not correctly guess the winner of the tournament. I do however feel that picking the winner in a field of 64 does have importance, so I prefer to use a 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21 type point system. This gives the people that pick the winner of the tournament correctly an advantage, but does not completely eliminate the people that didn’t correctly guess the champion.

Official Scoring System:

First Round (Of 64) = 2 Points

Second Round (Of 32) = 3 Points

Third Round (Sweet Sixteen) = 5 Points

Fourth Round (Elite Eight) = 8 Points

Fifth Round (Final Four) = 13 Points

Sixth Round (Championship) = 21 Points

If you want to track your own progression, I suggest making a copy of your own bracket. Good luck!

* * *


The message was followed hours later by a similar message that stated, “This email was sent in error.”

But as some in the Capitol have pointed out, it was certainly not sent in error. Not everyone was included in the message, which meant that Kawasaki’s office had to pick through the hundreds of workers in the Legislature and find the ones they wanted to include and exclude from notification.

Rather than an error, was this bad judgment, or has the Legislature just found a place where cuts can be made?

Concerned citizens may wish to send a note to Rules Chair Rep. Gabrielle LeDoux for an answer. Her address is

Donations Welcome


Written by

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

  • Sounds like high school. Bunch of clowns.

  • Shame on that group of Charlatans.. they could do a better job of hiding the fraud & bunco booking!

  • The situation with our House Lobbyist-Legislator Team seems to be out of control.

    It’s up to us to figure out what to do about it.

  • Juneau gambling ? I’m shocked !

  • Yeah, let’s arrest and lock up everyone who plays a March madness bracket. Great idea.

    Let me guess … Kawasaki’s opponent isn’t polling too well, so it’s time to crank up the fake outrage machine. Right?

    • You got it…
      Gambling on government time while daring to talk about stiffing non-gamblers with an income tax…
      The outrage is very real, my friend.

  • If you think about it .. participating in Kawasaki’s game will likely be the least destructive thing the legi-losers do this year. Of course they will need a Special session or three to get their monkey business wrapped up again.

  • Seems like a non-issue. I’m not into the sports team gambling, but we all know it happens ubiquitously. Let’s focus on more important things.

  • Big deal. There are lots of more important issues to report on which you are missing.

  • This is a totally ridiculous article. Many workplaces do brackets with zero loss of productivity. In fact, the camaraderie and team-building that comes out of this kind of activity has been shown to increase productivity! It’s not state dollars being used! And it takes less time to check scores than it does to tweet. I can think of someone who spends a considerable part of his work day tweeting. This is the reporting that keeps the mainstream media on its toes?! Ha! This is the silliest article I’ve ever read.

    • FYI
      This is not “many workplaces”!
      This is a “workplace” full of parasites who want to tax you out of existence!
      This is a “workplace” full of fools who want to give your Permanent Fund to …
      the Communist Chinese!
      This is a “workplace” at least partially full of drunks and misogynists!
      This is a “workplace” full of SOB’s who can’t even pass a credible crime law!
      This is a “workplace” that can’t figure how much it costs, or should cost, to run State government!
      This is a “silly” article only if you’re one of the too damned many who benefit from the efforts of this “workplace”!

  • So let’s divide this into the two separate possible issues, 1. Use of state time and equipment for personal use and, 2. Gambling.
    The first is a problem. On the second note, an Alaska Assistant Attorney General once told me that gambling in Alaska is legal, with two main caveats. 1. All funds must go back to the participants (i.e. no take for the house) and 2. An establishment with a liqour license cannot be involved.
    So your bracket pool (not done on state time) is legal, as well as your super squares game (but not in a bar) and your neighborhood poker game. Granted I have not had the opportunity to take this to the Alaska Supreme Court.

  • I propose a $1 per bracket tax, Statewide. That should solve our budget problem.

  • Note all commenters who think that public servants are the same as private employees: they do not stand in the same shoes. Public servants are paid by our funds and are held to a standard by which their work time and equipment is to be used for the public ‘s benefit. Rep Kawasaki consistently shows a lack of respect for his position as a public servant. Perhaps his misunderstanding of his job and position stems from the fact that he has very little private sector experience. Perhaps the Alaska voters in his district can arrange for him, finally, to get the private sector experience he so desperately needs.

  • Basketball sucks and so do the tax and spend legislators and that worthless Governor.

  • Every single one of these people took required ethics training which specifically addressed this kind of stuff as being prohibited. Whether it is a Westlake, a Fansler, or a Kawasaki, it is blatant disrespect and disregard for the people they serve and work for. This joker needs to hand in his resignation as well. He can go make a living as a bookie

%d bloggers like this: