Anchorage Assemblywoman Meg Zaletel was forced by ethics laws to recuse herself from a whole host of activities the midtown representative would normally involve herself in. Her recusal is because in November she was named the executive director of the Anchorage Coalition to End Homelessness, a job for which she is paid well over six figures. The previous executive director Jasmine Boyle, received $116,000 a year for salary, plus benefits. Zaletel’s salary, which Must Read Alaska could not determine, is said by municipal insiders to be substantially more.
The ACEH, underwritten by millions in federal HUD funds, is the beneficiary of over $1.2 million in Anchorage grants, both direct and indirect, that are awarded through Assembly appropriations. Zaletel also coordinates grants for other organizations, such as the United Way. Thus, she is has become the gorilla of the Anchorage homeless industrial complex.
Zaletel’s conflict of interest also means she cannot serve on the Assembly’s Committee on Homelessness. The committee is comprised of Chairman Felix Rivera and Vice Chairman Chris Constant, along with members Jamie Allard, Kevin Cross, Kameron Perez-Verdia, Austin Quinn-Davidson, and Randy Sulte.
But Zaletel pedals her influence in other ways. She has found a solid voting surrogate in Assemblyman Chris Constant, who is running for Congress.
In the Federal Election Commissions campaign finance reports for donations made to congressional candidates, Zaletel is credited with making two large donations in April to Constant’s campaign war chest for his congressional bid: $2,700 and $2,900. That’s within a hair of the maximum allowed by law.
In fact, Zaletel is one of Constant’s biggest donors, giving him $1 out of every $27 he has received, as of the most recent report.
That means Zaletel is funding the political career of Constant, who not only votes on appropriations, but holds tremendous power on the Assembly, steering the meetings through his control of Assembly Chairwoman Suzanne LaFrance, and in his role as vice chair of the homelessness committee. The favor will surely not be forgotten by Constant, whether he stays on the Assembly or goes to Congress.
On the Constant for Congress FEC report, Zaletel refers to her employer as “self employed,” even though she has worked as the CEO of ACEH since November. The FEC report can be viewed at this link.
Constant makes $79,000 a year working for the government-funded drug addiction treatment center Akeela, and another $56,000 a year as a member of the Assembly. He has a real estate gig on the side that provided him $13,000 in business last year. That means nearly all of Constant’s income comes from government directly or indirectly.