Sen. Tom Begich wife suing governor over education spending



The wife of an Alaska State senator who sits on the Senate Education Committee has filed a lawsuit against the governor and the commissioner of the Department of Education. It’s over money for education, and it’s supportive of her husband.

The lawsuit is pure political theater, and while every news organization in the state wrote about it, none would acknowledge that Sarah Sledge, married to Tom Begich, is the executive director of the litigant, the Coalition for Education Equity.

[Read the complaint: Sarah Sledge Coalition for Education Equity]

[Editor’s note: KTVA’s story late Wednesday mentioned the conflict of interest]

Although Begich is on the Education Committee, he is a member of the Democrat minority in the Senate. Thus, a lawsuit from his wife is not only good theater, it is a power-move for a wife supporting her husband’s political position and ambition.

Of course, Begich used to be a part of this litigious group, according to this flyer from 2015:

Begich was still listed as the government relations director for CEAAC on the organization’s website in September, 2016.

In Anchorage Superior Court today, Sledge’s lawsuit demanded that a $20 million extra appropriation to schools made by last year’s legislature and governor be released by the current governor — immediately.

Gov. Michael Dunleavy has proposed to the Legislature that the appropriation made last year to add an extra $20 million to schools this year be clawed back. It’s unlikely to go anywhere in the House and Senate, but even the Legislature’s own budget director David Teal says the money doesn’t have to be released until June 30.

The Governor’s Office won’t comment on pending lawsuits, but the Sledge-Begich caper is apparently a case of premature litigation, because in fact the funds could be released at any time, since it seems apparent that neither the House nor Senate want to go along with the governor’s plan.

Indeed, the governor has already indicated that if the House and Senate don’t agree, he’ll release the funds, but that didn’t factor into the mainstream narrative.

Dunleavy also wants to eliminate another $30 million that was added as extra funds for the coming fiscal year. In that instance, he has a constitutional case to be made since the funds were committed by the previous legislature, but were not exactly appropriated. It’s the same constitutional problem he has with the Legislature’s “forward funding” of education when there were no actual funds to appropriate.

[Read: The Donnybrook ahead: Education ‘forward-funding]


  1. No standing to sue. Frivolous suit. She will pay all costs to the defendant. If a Republican citizen sued a Democrat governor, little midgets in the press would be all over it.

  2. This will be fun, attempting to use the courts as a legislature. Sadly, there are enough lefty judges on the bench that the chances of her winning this gambit is more than zero. Cheers –

    • In case you hadn’t noticed agimarc, the Senate passed an amendment yesterday that “would distribute $20 million in one-time state education funding.”
      Who knows how this fares in conference committee but my guess is that it’s a no-brainer.

  3. Another waste of DNA who wants more money for the education industry…
    Remember Alaska’s uniqueness: we do not have “education” as the term is understood among literati, we do have an education industry.
    So, would it be rude to suggest chumming the waters with money anyway just to watch the feeding frenzy of political subspecies eating each other, hopefully beginning with these two?

  4. And guess what, Suzanne? Senator Tom Begich was paid $10,000 by the Coalition for Education Equity for contract work in 2017. Is that an ethics violation by not disclosing? (From 2017 Form 990).

  5. What’s with these old guy Begich brothers? Mark, the washed-out opportunist who played home movies of himself with his deceased father…ad nauseum. Nick Sr., with a PhD from Bangladesh University in paranormal and UFO studies. Tom, he and wife old burnt-out Liberals….struggling to be relevant anywhere outside of Juneau. Frankly….the Alaska public has heard far too much from the Begich losers.

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