Eastman wants hearing, clarity on ethics allegations
House Rep. David Eastman (R) said he wants a hearing so he can better understand allegations the ethics committee brought against him.
On Wednesday, Eastman’s colleagues voted 31-6 to have him removed from the Select Committee on Legislative Ethics.
Two weeks ago the same committee ruled the Wasilla Republican lawmaker violated its policies. The committee issued a probable cause report that said Eastman told someone about a confidential ethics complaint last year.
“I’d like to know specifics of what the allegation is,” Eastman said. “I’m told the earliest I can learn that is March.”
According to the probable cause report, the violation coincides with the time Eastman made national news over controversial comments about Alaska native women. At the time, Eastman implied some rural Alaska women get pregnant to earn a free trip to Anchorage for abortions.
So he said Thursday the vote came as no surprise.
“I don’t think there is a question as to whether I’m popular or not in Juneau,” he said. "I think other legislators chose to let me know that I’m not. I didn’t come down here o be popular. I understand that so I’m not surprised.”
Colleagues from the same minority Republican caucus said regardless of the vote, Eastman deserves due process.
“I voted yes; I originally wasn’t going to because I wanted to make sure he got due process, got [a] chance to have his side of the story told and the facts that he has brought forward,” said Steve Thompson (R-Fairbanks). “But we were to the point where okay, he will get his due process, his hearing.”
Less than one month into the session, the Legislature finds itself beset with series of controversies unrelated to policymaking.
On Wednesday, the Senate Rules Committee released a report that found Sen. David Wilson (R-Wasilla) committed a “serious case of retaliation against a legislative employee who was part of a sexual harassment complaint.
The House is also awaiting word on whether Rep. Zach Fansler (D-Bethel) will heed colleague’s request to resign following sexual assault allegations.
“I don’t want to see any more distractions at this time,” Thompson said. “Let’s get on with our job and let’s make sure we can move forward.”
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