June 15, 2015

CONTACT: Travis Smith (907) 258-3077

Republican Senators took per diem while working and sleeping at home

ANCHORAGE:  Late last week, APRN released a report detailing “per diem” paid out to legislators during the extended and special sessions. Three Anchorage area Republican Senators took over $5,000 dollars during the Anchorage special session. Senators Cathy Giessel, Lesil McGuire, and Charlie Huggins raked in a combined total of $19,028 dollars.

Perhaps most astounding is that none of these Senators are on the Finance committee. House and Senate Finance were the only committees to consistently meet throughout the Anchorage special session. Thus, these Senators collected thousands of dollars in “per diem” while working minimally from their own home and sleeping in their own beds.

The Senate Republican Majority was asking for state employees to be “part of Alaska,” and sacrifice their negotiated cost of living increases. They were also calling on the public to better understand the deep cuts. During the budget negotiations One headline read, “Republican senators plead for public understanding of proposed budget cuts.”

While Senate Republicans pleaded with Alaskans to understand the recent budgetary constraints, they padded their own pockets to the tune of $59,410 during the special sessions.

Rep. Chris Tuck, who spear headed budget negotiations for the House Independent-Democratic Coalition, along with every other Anchorage Democrat requested no per diem during the special sessions and received $0 in per diem compensation for special sessions occurring near their home district.

“The fact that these senators took thousands of tax payer dollars while minimally working from home shows that they’ve lost touch with real Alaskans,” said Mike Wenstrup chair of the Alaska Democratic Party. “It’s disrespectful to ask kids, seniors, state employees, and schools to take cuts, while you request thousands of extra dollars to work and sleep at home.”