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October 16, 2021

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Friday, October 8, 2021

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Saturday, September 25, 2021

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Friday, August 27, 2021

Alaska AG Resigns When Workplace Harassment Uncovered

GOOD RIDDANCE TO BAD RUBBISH

It’s been a very bad week for faux “family values” Christians in positions of power this week.  

First, Jerry Falwell Jr. was outed by the pool boy for an ongoing sexual dalliance with him and his wife that spanned seven years and began when he was barely out of his teens. This revelation prompted Falwell to 1) throw his wife under the bus and disavow his own involvement (new developments on that today) and 2) step down, giving way to his temporary (or maybe not-so-temporary) replacement, Alaska’s own Jerry Prevo of the Anchorage Baptist Temple, who has been the force behind mixing conservative Christianity and the Republican Party in Alaska for decades.

Acting President Jerry Prevo speaks at the convocation of Liberty University

At the recent post-scandal convocation of Liberty University, Jonathan Falwell (the disgraced Jerry Jr.’s brother) had this to say:

“The world doesn’t need another Christian hypocrite,” he said, “The world doesn’t need a hypocrite leading in anything… What the world needs is a body of believers who say one thing and live by the exact same message.” He never mentioned his brother’s name. And he didn’t realize how this would dovetail into the news in Alaska this week.

You’re going to want to get comfortable and snuggle in for this one.

 

 

‘A MAN OF EXCEPTIONAL CHARACTER’

Attorney Kevin Clarkson had a long history of controversial and socially conservative religious advocacy when Mike Dunleavy tapped him to become Alaska’s new Attorney General. Much fuss was made over this controversial history, including his attempt to stop the Troopergate investigation of former Governor Palin (in which she was eventually found to have abused her power as governor).

More recently Clarkson had fought in anti-choice lawsuits, said transgender discriminationshould be legal, and to allow landlords to turn away renters because they were gay. He was also on the side of the Kenai Borough Assembly who wanted to only allow religious groups established in the area to be allowed to deliver invocations before meetings. So much for “religious liberty.” Sorry Jews and Muslims.

Nonetheless, he was confirmed by the legislature where he continued to challenge the Constitution, advocating for controversial cases – losing over and over. And over.

Apparently wasting the state’s money and resources challenging the Constitution for fun wasn’t the worst of his transgressions.Turns out the married “family values” Attorney General was harassing a junior female state employee who had to interact with him as part of her job. And this is no casual flirtation. We’re talking 558 text messages, 18 invitations to come to his house, 56 kissy emojis, a bunch of “pretty lady”s and offers to “sip wine.” And of course, the classic, “You up?”   All this in the span of 27 DAYS.

We’re not exactly sure where Mrs.Clarkson was during all this, but last we knew both AG Clarkson and Gov. Dunleavy had written “personal” letters to Donald Trump (the Governor’s on official letterhead) asking him to grease the wheels and get her and her son moved to the U.S. from Columbia. They married less than four years ago, and she left the U.S. in November of 2018 and now can’t get back.

                                             Kevin and Johanna Clarkson were married in fall, 2016

She had a green card, but was having trouble with her son’s immigration status. Immigration is hard, apparently, when you don’t know people. “Any assistance you could provide would be appreciated,” Dunleavy said to President Trump.

When questions were asked about the unethical nature of asking for favors…

“I have asked for no special favors of anyone,” Clarkson said. “Just that the government please finally bring this unbelievably prolonged Visa application process to an end so that our family can finally be together.”  Right. No favors, just a favor.

Dunleavy gushed to Trump in his letter of advocacy that Clarkson was, ‘a wise and trusted legal advisor, a man of exceptional character, and a devoted husband and father.’

 

 

SIDE BAR

Also revealed in the exceptional reporting by Kyle Hopkins of the Anchorage Daily News and ProPublica:

“Public records show that this is not the first time his interactions with a woman have raised questions about harassing behavior. In two requests for domestic violence protective orders filed in state court in 1996, Clarkson’s ex-wife accused him of harassing and threatening her.

In a request for a protective order filed Aug. 23, 1996, his former wife wrote that Clarkson “threatened me not to tell anyone ‘what happened 10 years ago.’ (He’d paid for sexual favors from a pros),’ short for prostitute.”

His first wife’s lawyer (for those of you who’ve been following Alaska politics for a while) was none other than Wayne Anthony Ross, who was tapped by Sarah Palin for the position of… Attorney General.

L-R Would-be Attorney General, Wayne Anthony Ross, Gov. Sarah Palin, and Lt. Gov. Sean Parnell

Ross himself was a highly-controversial pick for that position, after calling gay people “degenerates,” and more. He became the only such nominee to be voted down by the legislature after getting caught lying. WAR (as he is known) was ultimately replaced by some DC beltway guy from Ohio named Dan Sullivan. (Yes, THAT Dan Sullivan)

But we digress.

 

IF AN ATTORNEY GENERAL GOES ON UNPAID LEAVE, AND NO ONE IS THERE TO SEE IT… DID IT REALLY HAPPEN?

Shockingly, if Dunleavy knew Clarkson’s sordid history when he tapped him for the highest legal post in the state, he kept it under wraps – and Clarkson was confirmed with none of it coming to light, by a vote of 40-19.

Thanks, Dems. You tried.

And the newest smarmy escapades would also have remained in the dark had the Dunleavy administration gotten its way. First, a public records request (the State version of a FIOA) from Kyle Hopkins asking for copies of messages between Clarkson and the state employee who was the target of the harassment came back blank. “No record” of any such communication said Clarkson’s Assistant Attorney General who wrote back.

Well, THAT’s strange, because the communications did exist and copies were already in possession of the reporters.

*you’re

Soon after the employee filed a complaint, and questions started getting asked, Clarkson mysteriously went on an unpaid “leave of absence” for a month. Nobody was quite sure why, or where. The Governor had the head of the Department of Law turn everything over to someone else, without notifying the public, and went >POOF<. But he was all set to resume his official duties on September 1. That is, until the story broke. And it broke in an interesting way.

 

 

THE MORAL OF THE STORY

The Governor’s propagandist at Must Read Alaska had the exclusive “heads up, this is coming” scoop and tried desperately to cushion the fall. She led with “the moral of the story.”

She isn’t talking about not being able to trust the people in power, like the Attorney General not to harass women, or the Governor not to cover it up. Nope, she’s talking about leakers. You just can’t trust anyone to keep your dirty little secrets anymore. I suppose that’s “the moral of the story” if you are utterly devoid of morals.

She went on to describe the texts from Clarkson as “warm and friendly” and “containing emojis,” but the focus remained on the leaker and the leakee and everyone who wasn’t the Governor or the AG. It was going to be an “embarrassment” for the administration she warned, because of that darned leaker. It was much, much more than that.

Clarkson refused to answer inquiries from the actual press, but instead sent the blogger at Must Read Alaska a statement. After reprimanding the press for making the whole thing public he confesses, I have accepted and am completing a period of unpaid leave as a consequence for my error in judgment…” <- Remember this part.


“I engaged in a series of text messages with this employee over approximately one month. The topics of these texts ranged from food, to movies, to books, to family, and all were conversational and positive, were reciprocal, and were, I believed, mutual. I sent her pictures of food that I cooked from time to time. These texts included invitations for this person and her children to come to my home to share a meal, which she politely declined. All of these texts were ‘G’ rated. In our texts we exchanged mutual endearments in words and emojis. On several occasions, this person initiated a friendly hug when I came to her work place, and I reflexively gave her a peck on top of her head.”

How was an older married man in a position of great power and influence who sent an average of more than 20 texts a day to a junior staffer to know that it might not be “mutual.” And the kissing on the head? He couldn’t help himself – he’s just a reflexive pecker.

 

YOU OWE ME

“Haven’t seen you in awhile, so you owe me a number of hugs,” he texted on March 26. On many evenings, the attorney general asked the woman to come to his house to have dinner or to “sip on a glass of wine,” the Anchorage Daily News reported.

After Clarkson finally told the woman he’d stop bothering her, he texted her over 200 more times!

 

UNINTENDED CONSEQUENCES

Note that this whole sordid mess was known to the Governor who made a decision that a secret month off was enough of a consequence for the harassment, and felt no need to elaborate on the AG’s absence. Clarkson was completing the secret spanking when it all got ruined. He admitted it himself.

 

Dermot Cole summed this part up nicely in this Twitter thread.

The day after the revelation, Clarkson submitted his letter of resignation. And Governor Dunleavy accepted it,

“Kevin Clarkson has admitted to conduct in the workplace that did not live up to our high expectations, and this is deeply disappointing. This morning he took responsibility for the unintentional consequences of his actions and tendered his resignation to me.”

“Unintended consequences” are the ones that happen when they get caught.

 

LEAN INTO GOD

And even after the worst was known of Clarkson and his behavior, good ol’ wannabe-pastor and Biblical snake oil salesman Jim Minnery from the Alaska Family Council had this to say. No word of comfort for his wife, nor the victim of the harassment.

Makes you wonder what Jonathan Falwell might have to say about hypocrisy.

 

TO SUM IT UP

It’s the leakers! It’s the media! I thought it was mutual! It was the press! It was unintended consequences!

Was there no one who called it out for what it actually is? Glad you asked.

“Governor Dunleavy called Mr. Clarkson ‘a wise and trusted legal advisor, a man of exceptional character, and a devoted husband and father,’ yet he has proved himself to be none of these things. He has grossly abused his power, and exhibited a lack of professionalism, incredibly poor judgment, and egregious disrespect for a state employee. Sexual harassment must not be tolerated anywhere. When an attorney fails to understand the difference between right and wrong, he has no business in the legal profession, never mind as the top attorney in the state. He must step down immediately.”
– Lindsay Kavanaugh, Executive Director of the Democratic Party.

And less than an hour afterward, he did. Good riddance to bad rubbish.

 

KARMA WITH SUGAR ON TOP

We’d be remiss if we didn’t check in on a former Assistant Attorney General for the State of Alaska, Libby Bakalar. She’s a brilliant and funny woman who DARED to have a personal blog in which she was critical of Donald Trump. And when Mike Dunleavy was elected, it took less than an hour for the new administration to fire her. She’s currently suing them and nobody who’s paying attention gives them good odds. She had a handy checklist for men in the workplace inspired by the now ex-Attorney General.

And hey, we hear there’s a position opening up in the Department of Law…


 

ONE DOWN

Clarkson has slithered away out of the pit of vipers, but Dunleavy has reminded all of us about how he governs, his ethics, and his decision-making ability. Covid threw a wrench in the day-to-day operations of the legislature and government. But peel away the pandemic, and this administration remains tarnished. Dunleavy chose badly, and when things went off the rails he tried to cover it up.

Instead of firing Clarkson on day one, Dunleavy gave him a month off and was ready to welcome him BACK.

If you have not signed round 2 of the Recall Dunleavy petition, you can request a personal booklet to be mailed to you for your household at recalldunleavy.org

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