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Panel: Ex-Alaska legislator violated ethics rules

Posted: September 11, 2013 - 11:26pm  |  Updated: September 12, 2013 - 12:11am
In this Monday, Dec. 20, 2010 photo, Republican Alan Dick, newly elected to the Alaska State House, talks about his legislative goals during an interview in Anchorage, Alaska. The retired educator ran as a fiscal conservative in a district heavily dependent on federal funding and defeated the Democratic incumbent. (AP Photo/Rachel D'Oro)  Rachel D'Oro
Rachel D'Oro
In this Monday, Dec. 20, 2010 photo, Republican Alan Dick, newly elected to the Alaska State House, talks about his legislative goals during an interview in Anchorage, Alaska. The retired educator ran as a fiscal conservative in a district heavily dependent on federal funding and defeated the Democratic incumbent. (AP Photo/Rachel D'Oro)

JUNEAU — Former state Rep. Alan Dick has been ordered to pay nearly $18,000 related to violations of state ethics rules, including living in his office.

A legislative ethics committee announced Wednesday that it had found Dick in violation of five allegations, including using state resources for his personal benefit by living in his Fairbanks legislative office with his wife and sometimes his son, off and on in August 2012 and for about a month between mid-October and mid-November of 2012.

The panel found that Dick performed campaign activities out of his legislative office in the lead-up to last fall’s general election and required a legislative staffer on government time to prepare materials for a chamber debate. It also found what it called numerous violations related to Dick’s 2012 legislative travel, saying that he “routinely” combined legislative travel with campaign activities, which is prohibited.

The panel said Dick received about $2,500 in reimbursement for eight different expenses from the Legislature while receiving reimbursements for similar expenses from his campaign account. The panel also found seven different expenses totaling about $980 that it said were reimbursed by the Legislature but not authorized or allowed under legislative travel guidelines.

The House Subcommittee of the Select Committee on Legislative Ethics said in the release that it dismissed three other allegations.

A message left at the number Dick used for last year’s campaign went to voicemail Wednesday.

Dick, R-Nenana, served one term in the state House, after winning election in 2010. He lost re-election last year to Rep. David Guttenberg, D-Fairbanks, after the two were forced into the same district under a new redistricting map.

Dick was known for his plain speaking and off-the-cuff remarks during his short term in the Legislature. One led to an apology after he suggested in March 2012 during a committee meeting that was considering abortion funding after he said a woman should get a signed permission slip from the father of the fetus before undergoing the procedure, the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reported at the time.

Many people upset with the comment called his office and posted messages on his “Alan for Alaska” Facebook page.

According to the ethics committee, Dick said he was “overall remiss and negligent” in providing staff oversight when travel reimbursement claims were processed and submitted to the Legislative Affairs Agency. He said he would take responsibility for all errors on his travel claims.

“The committee was adamant that a legislator be accountable for ensuring the accuracy of travel reimbursement requests even if staff completes and signs the form,” the release states. “The committee concluded he seemed to operate under the premise that rules and regulations regarding legislative travel did not apply to him.”

The committee also said Dick had a “cavalier mindset when it came to conducting the public’s business in a manner that preserved the integrity of the legislative process and avoided conflicts of interest or even appearances of conflicts of interest.”

The panel recommended Dick pay $17,995.03, which includes the cost associated with investigating and handling the complaint and the reimbursements the committee found that he improperly received.

Ethics Committee Administrator Joyce Anderson said the panel is giving Dick a year to pay because it is a large amount of money.

___

Online:

Ethics complaint decisions: http://ethics.legis.state.ak.us/decisions.php

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