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Dan Sullivan: Did Nothing to Address National Guard Scandal


The day before Parnell met with National Guard chaplains who were sounding alarms about problems with sexual assault and fraud in the Alaska Guard, he and Sullivan talked by phone. As the state’s top law enforcement officer, Dan Sullivan did nothing to investigate the scandal. Why did Alaska women get nothing more than lip service and empty promises from Dan Sullivan? An independent federal investigation exposed years of assault, fraud and corruption. Sullivan has still said and done nothing since the scathing investigative report was made public. Its another example of Dan not standing up for Alaska women – just like his opposition to tough enforcement of equal pay, a woman’s right to choose and increasing the minimum wage.


2010: National Guard Victims & Advocates Reported Military Sexual Assaults, Fraud & Corruption to the Parnell-Sullivan Administration.

October 14, 2010: Lt. Col. Rick Koch Sent Outline To Parnell Asserting AK Guard Had A “Culture Of Fear And Corruption” That Had Smothered Guard Morale. “The record shows the first contact was Oct. 14, 2010, when Rick Koch, a lieutenant colonel and the state-command chaplain for the guard, asked a neighbor who knew Parnell for help in getting word to the governor. Koch gave the neighbor a written outline, including an assertion that the ‘culture of fear and corruption are smothering morale in our organization’ — a claim that would surface again in findings years later in the Sept. 4 National Guard Bureau report. ‘The outline was meant to spark discussion, which I was freely and willingly ready to enter,’ the document quotes Koch as saying. ‘Nothing came of the outline.’” [Alaska Dispatch News, 10/1/14]

November 18, 2010: Three Guard Chaplains Teleconferenced Parnell With Details On Sexual Assaults, Thefts, Lack Of Trust, & Misuse Of Government Resources. “On Nov. 18, 2010, Koch and two other chaplains, Ted McGovern and Matt Friese, got a 7:30 a.m. telephone appointment with the governor. They made the conference call from Friese’s office at Anchorage Grace Church, where one of Parnell’s children had attended classes. They spoke for 20 minutes about sexual assaults, thefts, lack of trust, misuse of government resources and money in the guard. In his notes from the meeting, Koch said he didn’t detect a lot of interest from the other end of the phone line. ‘It did not seem that he or his staff desired to drill very deeply into the problems of an organization that reaches into the entire landscape of the Alaska population,’ Koch said.” [Alaska Dispatch News, 10/1/14]

December 3, 2010: Three Guard Chaplains, Col. Robert Doehl, & Two Lt. Colonels Teleconferenced Parnell On Sexual Assaults, Cronyism, Cover-Ups, Unsafe Operations & Reprisals. “On Dec. 3, 2010, the three chaplains were back on the phone with Parnell from Anchorage Grace Church again, this time with three other officers: Col. Robert Doehl of the Air Guardand two lieutenant colonels who were unnamed in the documents. They talked about a range of problems, from sexual assaults to cronyism, cover-ups, unsafe operations and reprisals taken against officers who spoke out. Doehl followed up with a seven-page letter to Parnell filled with details and allegations about safety shortcuts that resulted in loss of aircraft, sexual violence and retaliation against whistleblowers. He told Parnell that Katkus not only failed to stop misconduct, he covered it up. (Doehl was eventually forced from the guard and went to work as an aide to U.S. Sen. Mark Begich.)” [Alaska Dispatch News, 10/1/14]

One Day Before Parnell Met With National Guard Chaplains, He Called His Then-Attorney General, Dan Sullivan

Dec. 2, 2010: Parnell Called Sullivan On His Cell Phone. According to Sullivan’s calendar from the Department of Law, Gov. Parnell called then-Attorney General Sullivan on December 2, 2023 at 12:45PM. The time slot noted “WILL CALL YOU ON YOUR CELL PHONE.” [Department of Law calendar, 12/2/10]

After Years of Inaction, Sexual Assault Victims Came Forward to Tell Their Story and Two Investigations Began Into Assault, Fraud In Guard

Headline: Alaska Dispatch News: “Two investigations underway of sexual assaults in Alaska National Guard.” [Alaska Dispatch News, 5/20/14]

Alaska National Guard Came Under Investigation From Department Of Defense Inspector General And National Guard Bureau. Reported the Alaska Dispatch News in May 2014, “Two investigations are underway of the Alaska National Guard over reports that sexual assault complaints were being mishandled, and one is scheduled to wrap up this week. The Guard is being pressed by political leaders, including both Alaska U.S. senators, to get to the bottom of reports of unresolved sexual assaults and other problems that have festered for years, some of which already have been investigated. Last June, Sen. Lisa Murkowski asked the Department of Defense inspector general to investigate, her office said this week. . . . Separately, in March, a relatively new arm of the Arlington, Virginia-based National Guard Bureau began investigating reports of sexual assault and fraud in Alaska at the request of Gov. Sean Parnell. The governor said he will make that report public.” [Alaska Dispatch News, 5/20/14]

McClatchy: Dozen Members Of Alaska National Guard Faced Charges Of Sexual Misconduct, Including Five In National Guard Recruiting Unit. In February 2014 McClatchy report on National Guard sexual misconduct stated, “A dozen members of the Alaska National Guard face charges of sexual misconduct in what members of the guard call a severe problem in the ranks. Five were members of the guard’s recruiting unit and are alleged to have committed the offenses against potential recruits, new recruits, subordinates and others.” [McClatchy, 2/24/14]

2007-2012: Investigation Of Misconduct Found Member Of Guard Leadership Had Empowered Multiple Guard Recruiters To Sexually Assault & Harass Female Recruits. “A former pornography company owner and co-founder of an “end times” fundamentalist group who joined the Alaska National Guard in 2003 is now the guard’s Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations and Training, despite military investigators finding him directly responsible for empowering Alaska guard recruiters to sexually assault and harass female soldiers, recruits and civilians. . . . The March 3 report finds that [Lt. Col. Joseph R] Lawendowski failed to act on multiple complaints of serious misconduct, including sexual assault, against four senior noncommissioned officers under his command. The report covers the period from November 2007 to May 2012 when Lawendowski was commander of the Alaska Army National Guard Recruiting and Retention Battalion (RRB).” [Anchorage Press, 10/8/14]

National Guard Bureau Issued “Scathing” Report On Problems In Guard

Headline: KTUU: “Alaska National Guard General Resigns After Report On Sexual Assaults.” [KTUU, 9/4/14]

Headline: Associated Press: “Report Finds Lack Of Trust In Alaska Guard Command.” [Associated Press, 9/5/14]

Headline: Los Angeles Times: “Scathing Report On Alaska National Guard Forces Out Commander.” [Los Angeles Times, 9/5/14]

Office Of Complex Investigations: Since 2009, Alaska Guard Mishandled Sexual Assault Cases & Fostered Hostile Work Environment That Cultivated A Culture Of Mistrust. “On September 3rd, the National Guard’s Office of Complex Investigations released a report detailing how the Alaska National Guard handles rape and sexual abuse. It found that since 2009, there were 29 reported sexual assault cases, and in 2012, over 200 incidents of discrimination and sexual harassment. The report also found that the Alaska National Guard fostered a hostile work environment that cultivated mistrust of command. In surveys distributed to guard members, the report found that victims lacked confidence in command’s ability to effectively prosecute heir cases, either because they feared reprisal from their superiors, believed their concerns would not be taken seriously, or worried their testimony would not remain confidential.” [KDLG, 9/5/14]

Gen. Thomas Katkus Resigned After Report Detailed Series Of Sexual Assaults In The Alaska National Guard. “A top Alaska National Guard officer has resigned after a military report on a series of sexual assaults in the Alaska National Guard, which Gov. Sean Parnell released Thursday afternoon. Parnell, speaking at the Atwood Building in Downtown Anchorage, says he requested and received Adjutant Gen. Thomas Katkus’s resignation in response to the report’s findings.” [KTUU, 9/4/14]

National Guard Report Found Fraudulent Activity, Including Embezzlement From Family Programs And Misuse Of Government Equipment For Personal Gain. “A top Alaska National Guard officer has resigned after a military report on a series of sexual assaults in the Alaska National Guard, which Gov. Sean Parnell released Thursday afternoon. […] The report also found evidence of unrelated fraudulent activity, including “embezzlement of money from a (Guard) family programs account and misuse of government equipment for personal gain.” The report says Parnell requested a separate investigation into those matters on Aug. 27.” [KTUU, 9/4/14]

Associated Press: Scathing Report Into Sexual Assault Allegations & Fraud Found Victims “Do Not Trust The System.” “A scathing report into allegations of sexual assault and fraud in the Alaska National Guard finds that victims do not trust the system because of a lack of confidence in the command. The report, released Thursday, was requested by Gov. Sean Parnell, who said he was angry that it had taken several years to get to the bottom of concerns.” [Associated Press, 9/5/14]

While Sexual Assault Cases Built in the Alaska National Guard, Sullivan Did Nothing

Former Governor Knowles: “I Wouldn’t Have Let Those Chaplains Off The Phone Until My Attorney General Had Heard Their Story.” According to a May 2014 column by Shannyn Moore, “I asked former Gov. Tony Knowles what he would have done in Parnell’s place. He said: ‘I wouldn’t have let those chaplains off the phone until my attorney general had heard their story.’” [Shannyn Moore, Anchorage Daily News, 5/3/14]

Former Attorney General John Havelock: I Would Have Immediately Launched Investigation Into National Guard Assault Allegations. According to a May 2014 column by Shannyn Moore, “Former Egan administration Attorney General John Havelock said that if such serious charges, even with few details, had come to his attention, he would have launched an immediate investigation. ‘It’s a report of violation of state law, against someone working for the state — the National Guard — you would have to investigate.’” [Shannyn Moore, Anchorage Daily News, 5/3/14]

National Guard Bureau Refers Questionable Conduct Of Officers To The Attorney General. “The National Guard Bureau has sent a team of specialists to Alaska help implement its recommended reforms and has a separate investigative team further looking into allegation of fraud, uncovered during the first investigation. It’s unclear who is now investigating Katkus. The National Guard Bureau has said it does not investigate general officers and refers questionable conduct it uncovers to the appropriate attorney general for further investigation.” [Alaska Dispatch News, 10/2/14]

Soldotna Resident, On National Guard Scandal: “[Sullivan] Owes Us An Explanation.” “I am deeply concerned and appalled that the Parnell administration chose not to investigate the sexual assaults that he has known about since 2010. Sexual assault rates have risen steadily during his administration. He stayed silent for four long years while women were victimized in the Alaska National Guard. What was Dan Sullivan’s role in the decision to ignore these cases since he was attorney general at that time? He should have known; he was the state’s top law enforcer. He owes us an explanation.” [Sharon Waisanen, Alaska Dispatch News, 9/23/14]

Sullivan Promised to Focus on Sexual Assault Prevention as Attorney General

Sullivan Said Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence Had Been Top Focus Of Criminal Division Since He Became Attorney General. DANIEL SULLIVAN, Attorney General, Alaska Department of Law, thanked the committee for expeditiously hearing SB 222 and for the spirit of cooperation that the members have displayed. He reported that sexual assault and domestic violence has been the number one focus in the criminal division since he was appointed to the office last June. [Alaska Legislature, Senate Judiciary Committee, 1/25/10]

Sullivan Said Protecting Alaskans From Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence Would Be Area Of Focus As Attorney General. MR. SULLIVAN explained that as the attorney general, one area he would be focused on would be on protecting Alaskans from criminal behavior such as sexual assault and domestic violence. [Attorney General Confirmation Hearing, House Judiciary Committee, 2/25/10]

Sullivan Said He Cares “Deeply About The Serious Problem Of Sexual Assault In Our State And Our Nation’s Military.” Sullivan wrote: “I also care deeply about the serious problem of sexual assault in our state and our nation’s military, which has made recent news headlines. As Alaska’s attorney general, I worked closely with Gov. Parnell, numerous Alaska legislators, and countless other dedicated Alaskans on developing and implementing the “Choose Respect” initiative to address this horrendous social problem. As the father of three daughters, this is a personal issue for me. As the current battalion commander of a Marine Corps reserve ANGLICO unit, I am also deeply involved in training and leading America’s warriors, including having trained hundreds of young Alaska men to be U.S. Marines since 1997. These differing experiences provide me with a unique perspective on how we can forcefully and effectively address the urgent challenge of sexual assaults in our military.” [Anchorage Daily News, Sullivan op-ed, 11/9/13]

Sullivan Promised New Sexual Assault Coordinator Would Provide “Guaranteed Follow-Through.” Alaska Department of Law (Attorney General) issued the following news release: “Sullivan noted that the governor’s initiative differs from past efforts to address the problem because of its comprehensive approach, broad-based public education campaign, and guaranteed follow-through with the creation of a coordinator for domestic violence and sexual assault prevention and response.” [Dan Sullivan Press Release, 12/3/09]

Sullivan Doesn’t Stand Up for Women

Sullivan Declined To State If He Would Support Paycheck Fairness Act - “I Don’t Support . . . Bills That Seem To Be More Focused On Benefitting the Trial Bar Than Focusing On The Issue.” During a September 2014 radio interview in Kodiak, Dan Sullivan said, “HOST: I’ll move to the next question. It says why did Lisa vote against the equal pay for women a few weeks ago and would Dan Sullivan vote against the equal pay for women? […]Just to jump in, there are laws on the books that prohibit discrimination in the workplace. I support those. And as a father of three teenage daughters who are going to be going into the workforce here soon- actually two of them are already working part-time- I am 110% focused on making sure we have equal opportunity. What I don’t support though are bills that seem to be more focused on benefitting the trial bar than focusing on the issue.” [Sullivan on Kodiak Radio, 09/30/14]

Sullivan Said He Supported Overturning Roe v. Wade. Sullivan answered yes to the question “Do you support overturning the U.S. Supreme Court’s 1973 ruling in Roe v. Wade, which asserted the existence of a federal constitutional right to abortion?” [Alaska Family Action Senate Candidate Survey, 6/24/14]

Sullivan Opposed Proposal To Raise Minimum Wage To $10.10. “Sullivan told the Wall Street Journal in a story published Monday that he still opposed a proposal backed by President Barack Obama, a Democrat, to raise the federal minimum wage to $10.10 an hour — a measure that’s also backed by Sullivan’s opponent, incumbent Democratic U.S. Sen. Mark Begich. A spokesman for Sullivan told the Journal that the candidate’s position had changed because he ‘had a chance to read the minimum wage initiative.’” [Alaska Dispatch News, 9/15/14]