Alaska Attorney General Kevin Clarkson resigned Tuesday after it was found out he had continuously sent inappropriate text messages to a junior state employee.
Alaska Governor Responds to AG Situation
“Kevin Clarkson has admitted to conduct in the workplace that did not live up to our high expectations, and this is deeply disappointing,” Gov. Mike Dunleavy, who delegated Clarkson to the position, said. “This morning he took responsibility for the unintentional consequences of his actions and tendered his resignation to me. I have accepted it.”
ProPublica and the Anchorage Daily News published a report on Tuesday telling of how the Republican AG sent a publicly unidentified junior state employee close to 600 text messages on her personal phone. In the texts, he invited her to his house 18 times and used suggestively inappropriate emojis.
Clarkson called her “sweet lady” and “beautiful” in March and asked her to come to his home. He used the kiss emoji multiple times in the exchanges.
“Haven’t seen you in awhile, so you owe me a number of hugs,” the Republican texted.
Did He Cross the Line?
While the Alaska AG was not the woman’s supervisor, their separate jobs did requite interaction between both of them.
It appeared the woman tried to push back and on April 4 said “please remember this is my personal phone,” and asked Clarkson to have respect for personal boundaries.
Initially, reports told that the AG was placed on administrative leave for a month without pay.
The Alaska governor’s office just announced that Clarkson resigned.
STORY; Alaska Attorney General Kevin Clarkson resigns after disclosure of "uncomfortable" text messages to state employee https://t.co/7doYqsDYH8
— Anchorage Daily News (@adndotcom) August 25, 2020
In the letter obtained by NBC News, the Republican said he regrets his “errors in judgment … have become a distraction to the good work and good people working in the state’s and your service.”
“I believed we had a positive friendship borne of mutual respect and interests. What I failed to recognize is the impact that these interactions had on this person, due to the disparity in our workplace rank,” Clarkson said. “Of course, I should have recognized this from the start, and should have maintained a more distanced and professional relationship. I am deeply sorry for the discomfort I caused this person, and only wish her well.”
AG Position Up for Grabs
The AG does not believe he crossed the line with inappropriateness but did acknowledge there was an impact to his actions.
“All of these texts were ‘G’ rated. There is nothing remotely salacious about the texts. In our texts we exchanged innocent mutual endearments between us in words and emojis,” he continued. “When this person eventually expressed her discomfort to me, I immediately respected her wishes and ceased communicating with her by text.”
In Alaska, the governor appoints the attorney general instead of having the people vote one in.