Governor's no-show at NCAI conference spurs ethics complaint

Cultural night at the recent National Congress of American Indians mid-year session in Anchorage, Alaska. June 10, 2014. Photo from Facebook

Alaska Gov. Sean Parnell (R) didn't attend the National Congress of American Indians as expected earlier this month and that's stirred a minor political storm in the state.

Parnell was supposed to provide a welcome at NCAI's mid-year conference in Anchorage. But he had to cancel due to a family engagement out of state, his office said in a press release.

Parnell said he told NCAI in advance that he wouldn't be attending. The message apparently didn't get through to everyone, though, and independent lieutenant governor candidate Craig Fleener, who is Gwich'in Athabascan, blasted the governor for ignoring Alaska Natives.

"His non-engagement with tribal government is one of many reasons the divide between the administration and the tribes persists and even widens," Fleener said in an opinion that was published by The Anchorage Daily News.

Fleener eventually apologized for calling Parnell a no-show. But his running mate, independent gubernatorial candidate Bill Walker, says the governor violated ethics laws by sending the June 19 press release from his official state office.

An Alaska Democratic Party officer is also making the same accusation in an official complaint that was filed on Friday. Lynda Zaugg says Parnell is using state resources for political gain.

Get the Story:
Ethics Complaint Made Against Parnell (AP 6/24)
Fleener apologizes for accusation, but Parnell won't say sorry back (The Alaska Dispatch 6/23)
Called a liar by Gov. Parnell, Fleener refuses to back down (The Alaska Dispatch 6/20)

Join the Conversation