Attorney General Kevin Clarkson resigns after inappropriate text messages

 Attorney General Kevin Clarkson (KTUU)
Attorney General Kevin Clarkson (KTUU) (KTUU)
Published: Aug. 25, 2020 at 11:38 AM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - Alaska Attorney General Kevin Clarkson has sent a resignation letter to Governor Mike Dunleavy.

“I wish to create no unnecessary distractions for you or your administration. I respect and admire you and regard you as a friend. I sincerely apologize to you for my lapse of judgment. I am carefully considering my next steps. I hereby tender my resignation to you in order to alleviate this situation and allow you to continue your good work for the state undistracted,” wrote Clarkson in a letter to Gov. Dunleavy.

The governor accepted Clarkson’s resignation and issued the following statement Tuesday morning that reads in part:

This administration has and always will expect the highest level of professional conduct in the workplace. There is nothing more important than the protection of our state employees, and that includes feeling safe when an employee is at work. Kevin Clarkson has admitted to conduct in the workplace that did not live up to our high expectations, and this is deeply disappointing. This morning he took responsibility for the unintentional consequences of his actions and tendered his resignation to me. I have accepted it.”

According to an in-depth report by Anchorage Daily New’s Kyle Hopkins and ProPublica, Alaska Attorney General Kevin Clarkson is on unpaid leave for a month after hundreds of inappropriate text messages were sent to a young female colleague.

“I wish to take public responsibility for errors of judgment that led directly, but unintentionally, to my placing a State employee in an uncomfortable environment in her workplace. This employee was not in the department of law, I was not her supervisor, and I did not supervise her; nevertheless, I should never have placed her in this uncomfortable situation. For this, I am truly sorry,” wrote Attorney General Kevin Clarkson in a statement sent to Channel 2.

In his statement, Clarkson acknowledges he “engaged in a series of text messages with this employee over approximately one month,” and that “What I failed to recognize is the impact that these interactions had on this person, due to the disparity in our workplace rank. Of course, I should have recognized this from the start, and should have maintained a more distanced and professional relationship.”

According to a paragraph in the report from ProPublica, “Records obtained by the Anchorage Daily News and ProPublica show the abrupt and unusual absence came after a junior state employee raised concerns about 558 text messages that Clarkson sent to her personal phone in March.” The report goes on to say Clarkson asked the woman to visit him at his home more than a dozen times.

In his resignation letter to Dunleavy, Clarkson wrote “I regret that my actions and errors in judgment in interacting with a state employee have become a distraction to the good work and good people working in the state’s and your service.”

Clarkson does point out in both the resignation letter to the governor and his statement, that he felt the communication between him and the state employee was mutual.

The governor has accepted his resignation.

The Department of Law says Ed Sniffen will be the Acting Attorney General until a replacement is appointed by the Governor.

This is a developing story. Check back for details.

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