FEBRUARY 1, 2018
Senator Berta Gardner Responds to Discipline of Senator David Wilson for Retaliation against a House Employee
JUNEAU - On January 31, 2018, the Senate Rules Committee released a Human Resources report confirming that Senator David Wilson's (R-Wasilla) conduct at his December 7, 2017, press conference was a serious case of retaliation and that he had revealed confidential information.

"Sen. Wilson's actions during a press conference on December 7, 2017, were found to be a serious case of retaliation against a legislative employee, and it was determined that he released confidential information regarding an ongoing investigation - both very disturbing transgressions," said Senator Berta Gardner (D-Anchorage). "After reading the letter that Senator Wilson was required to send to the employee taking responsibility for his actions, it is clear that he refused to fulfill the spirit of the request to acknowledge his wrongdoings, apologize, and take responsibility. Sen. Wilson also used the letter to protest that "proper mediation" had not been available, implying that the employee was part of the problem when she clearly was not."

Just yesterday, Senator Wilson spoke to the Anchorage Daily News-- after being disciplined and after the public release of the report-- saying, "I stand by my press conference and I would not change anything about my press conference."

"Senator Wilson continues to clearly demonstrate that he cannot or will not understand Human Resource's policy, legislative decorum, respect for a legislative staffs' responsibilities and shows no remorse for his wrongdoings. Because of this, I believe further discipline is required," said Sen. Gardner.

Not only did Senator Wilson reveal confidential information, but he also claimed at the press conference that the report exonerated him and that the incident never happened. While the report determined Senator Wilson's actions did not fit the definition of sexual harassment, it did find that he put the employee in a "stressful, no-win predicament." Sen. Wilson is not the only legislator in recent weeks to be found to reveal confidential information to the press. The Legislative ethics committee recently recommended that a house member be removed from the committee and censured for revealing confidential information and the House confirmed that removal.

"Travel restriction, retali ation training, and a letter that did not hold up to the spirit of its intent is clearly not an adequate response to the offenses committed because he continues to not acknowledge the inappropriateness of his actions or understand that his conduct has impugned the employee's veracity. Not only do Senator Wilson's actions make it more difficult for legislative employees to come forward to report incidents such as this, but they have specifically infringed on this employee's ability to focus on her legislative responsibilities, and impacted her personal life," Sen. Gardner added. "As lawmakers, we must hold ourselves to a higher standard. We must regain the trust and confidence of the public and our own employees."

Members of the press with questions may contact Alaska Senate Democratic Press Secretary, Noah Hanson at 465-5319.