An internal flap over spending for travel by legislators and staff is now boiling over into the campaign season.
On Saturday, the Alaska Dispatch News reported that legislators and staff spent just over $91,000 traveling to a National Conference of State Legislatures annual summit last month. Among those traveling were Genevieve Wojtusik and Amy Saltzman, staff to Anchorage Senator Lesil McGuire.
In the ADN story McGuire claimed she never authorized the travel, but rather Senate President Kevin Meyer had. However, McGuire’s primary opponent Jeff Landfield is claiming that isn’t true. He says the authorization came from within McGuire’s office itself. His understanding is that Wojtusik, who he says has spending authority for Administrative Regulation Review Committee (ARRC) budget, authorized the trip for herself and Saltzman.
A document posted by the ADN indicates that cost totaled over $6500 for the two to attend the conference. That document also indicates the expenditure came from the ARRC and not a source Meyer controls.
When asked, Landfield said he doesn’t know if McGuire knew the authorization came from her own staff when she claimed it came from Meyer, but he isn’t giving her any slack if she didn’t, saying “if she did not know, then what the hell is she doing. (It is) inmates running the asylum.”
Landfield went on to say “Senator McGuire is either checked out or unwilling to take responsibility for her staff’s actions. This behavior is in line with much of her career in the legislature. Things like this, and taking per diem during the special session in Anchorage, demonstrate she is totally out of touch with regular Alaskans.”
The offices of Senator Meyer and Senator McGuire did not immediately have a comment on this story.
***This story will be updated if we receive comment from those mentioned.***