The Guardian released a report this morning identifying Alaska Assistant Attorney General Matthias Cicotte as the person behind Twitter account that’s a “supporter of the Mormon-derived extremist group the Deseret nationalists who has posted a series of racist, antisemitic and homophobic messages.”
The report, which can be found here, outlines how “evidence from his Twitter output allowed Cicotte to be identified by anti-fascist researchers, whose evidence was confirmed and augmented by a Guardian investigation.” The report details how personal details shared by the twitter account @JReubenCIark, whose profile includes the line “I was exposing the #HelenKellerHoax before it was cool,” mirror much of the personal details Cicotte and his wife shared on Facebook. A post showing pictures of his home was also confirmed as authentic by a former owner of the property, according to the Guardian.
The tweets featured in the report cover a litany of racist, antisemitic, homophobic and transphobic topics. It also, notably, expresses support for Deseret nationalism, a loose organization of extreme-right Mormons who harass opponents, such as progressive and LGBTQ Mormons, with some members supporting the formation of secessionist Mormon state.
Some of the other tweets, as highlighted by the Guardian:
- On 15 June last year, he riffed on a catchphrase of the so-called Unabomber, Ted Kaczynski, tweeting: “The Civil Rights Act of 1964 and its Consequences Have Been a Disaster for the Human Race.”
- The account also repeated familiar white nationalist talking points about the relationships between race, crime and IQ. He tweeted: “Is it ‘white supremacy’ to note that some racial groups have higher IQs than others based on IQ tests? I believe that and I am only a Deseret supremacist.”
- On 30 June, as the protests in the wake of George Floyd’s murder were in full swing, the account told a Utah BLM supporter he was arguing with on Twitter: “You and all of your lying violent criminal friends belong in prison.” He later added: “#BlackLivesMatter is a criminal enterprise that murders people and destroys property. In a sane world you would all be in prison or worse.”
- On 17 October 2017, responding to news of a Drag Time Story Hour event in Long Beach, California, Cicotte wrote: “This demon should be burned to death and everyone responsible for that library event should be in prison.”
- On 16 August 2019, he tweeted: “People who encourage a kid to think he’s a different sex than what he is (including parents) go to jail for child abuse”, adding that “people who perform or abet sex change operations on kids get the death penalty.”
According to his LinkedIn page, Cicotte first began working for the State of Alaska in 2012. He didn’t respond to the Guardian’s attempts to get comment, but a spokeswoman for the Department of Law told the outlet that “Having just learned about this late last week, we are gathering information and conducting a review. Since this involves personnel issues, we are very limited in our ability to comment further.”
It’s not the first time that the Alaska Department of Law has generated controversy under Republican Gov. Mike Dunleavy. His first attorney general, Kevin Clarkson, resigned after reports that he had routinely harassed a junior state employee over the course of hundreds of kissy-face-filled texts. Dunleavy’s pick to serve as his replacement, Ed Sniffen, ultimately withdrew his name just 11 days after his appointment after allegations about sexual misconduct he had three decades ago with a 17-year-old student on a team he coached.
Current Attorney General Treg Taylor, who is Mormon, said Clarkson was an “honorable man” during his confirmation hearings earlier this year and that “good people sometimes do bad things,” but when pressed ultimately said that nothing Clarkson had done in the situation was honorable and said the state should be tougher on sex crimes.
The Dunleavy administration made headlines for its loyalty pledge firings when the governor took office. That included the firings of two Jewish attorneys in the Department of Law who had, in their own time, been critical of former President Donald Trump. One of those attorneys, Libby Bakalar, is currently suing the administration over the firing but weighed in on the issue on Twitter today (edited for readability):
“There are many key distinctions between my open political speech advocating social justice and an assistant attorney general tweeting white hate under a pseudonym. Which is fireable? Tough for the government to draw such lines. For what it’s worth, I don’t think ANY government employee should be fired for their personal social media,” she tweeted. “That being said, it’s awkward for Dunleavy to keep this guy when he fired two top assistant attorney general Jewish women solely for dragging alt-right loons and Trump on their own time vs. secretly advocating hate and genocide. Government paints itself into a corner interfering with people’s personal speech.”