Investigator blames haste, lack of supervision for alleged Dunleavy ethics violations

Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy speaks at a news conference at his Anchorage office last year. (Nat Herz/Alaska Public Media)

An independent investigator found that a social media campaign from Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy broke state ethics laws because of “quick decisions” and “lack of appropriate staff ethics awareness and supervision,” according to a 22-page report released in response to a public records request.

The report adds new detail to a spare, three-page settlement resolving the violations that Dunleavy, a Republican, quietly posted to his state website earlier this month.

Read the full report here

Under the settlement, Dunleavy personally paid $2,800 to reimburse the state for social media and mailed advertisements from his office that praised his allies in the Legislature — and which the investigator, Fairbanks attorney John Tiemessen, said broke a law against spending state money for partisan political purposes.

Alaska Gov. Dunleavy will pay $2,800 to settle ethics complaints over publicly-funded political ads

Tiemessen, in his report, said that consulting with state ethics officials and seeking advice from the attorney general could have identified possible illegal actions beforehand, and immunized the governor against subsequent complaints.

Dunleavy’s attorney, Brewster Jamieson, noted in an email Tuesday that, according to the settlement, the governor “gave direction that his staff should proceed in conformance with all laws, seeking guidance from the Department of Law as may be required.”

Dunleavy disputed that his actions were illegal and said state ethics laws didn’t hold him strictly accountable for actions taken by his staff, according to the settlement.