The Wasilla political activist who challenged the right of Rep. David Eastman to represent his district in the Alaska House of Representatives will not appeal the ruling made against his attempt to overthrow a legally elected legislator.
Judge Jack McKenna said Dec. 23 that the lawsuit that claimed that by belonging to the Oath Keepers, Eastman intended overthrow the government did not hold water. Randall Kowalke, who brought the lawsuit, will not appeal the ruling.
McKenna says that while the Oath Keepers are an organization he believes took concrete action to overthrow by violence the United States government, Rep. Eastman took no such action and “does not and did not possess a specific intent to further the Oath Keeper’s [sic] words or actions aimed at overthrowing the United States government. The court therefore finds that he is not disqualified from holding public office…”
Kowalke was asking that the court to force the Division of Elections to make Eastman ineligible to serve because of his membership in an association that has up to 38,000 members, mostly former military and police officers. The Oath Keepers leadership was involved in events on Jan. 6, 2021 at the U.S. Capitol, when a few hundred citizens disrupted the certification of the Electoral College vote that made Joe Biden president. The group’s founder, Stewart Rhodes, and at least one other member have been convicted of seditious conspiracy.
“The right of voters in Wasilla to elect their own representatives has been preserved, but the price they were asked to pay to defend that right demonstrates the extent to which Alaska courts have been weaponized against conservative candidates and voters. It is unconscionable that the Constitution was retooled to allow this type of lawfare to take place in Alaska,” Eastman said in a statement to Must Read Alaska, after Kowalke and the partisan Northern Justice Project filed their intent to not appeal the ruling.
Eastman said the lawsuit itself is an attack on his district, and an attempt to deprive voters of the representation they voted for. He won his most recent election by more than 51% on the first ballot.
“My constituents are putting together fundraisers right now, and several are putting off paying bills, just to get us through the expense of this political inquisition. Lawfare is a weaponization of the courts against the innocent, in this case my family and my constituents,” Eastman said. And this doesn’t even factor in the costs the taxpayers had to pay for the inquisition!”
Eastman called it attack by some in Anchorage on the right of those in Wasilla to choose their own elected representatives.
“Today I happen to be the one on the front lines of the battle over whether Wasilla will get to choose for itself on Election Day or be forced in future election cycles to settle for candidates that political activists in Anchorage or some well off person in New York City is ‘OK’ with,” he said.
The Democrat-led majority in the House last year attempted to also deprive his district of representation by trying to eject him from the House due to his visit to the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, when he went to support President Donald Trump. And the House Committee on Committees attempted to strip him of all of his committee memberships.
The lawyer for the Northern Justice Project who spoke to the Associated Press said that there are so few cases filed nationally, and he and his legal group didn’t want to end up creating case law that would prevent others from being successfully challenged in the future in other places in the country.