Alaska’s House Subcommittee Of The Select Committee on Legislative Ethics announced on Friday its ruling that a legislative aide for a Republican state representative “violated the Legislative Ethics Act” in her promotion of the anti-Islam group known as Stop Islamization of America (SIOA). The group, founded by noted Islamophobes Robert Spencer and Pamela Geller, reportedly had an “operative” work inside a state office for “months.” The legislative aide, a woman named Karen Sawyer, gave David Heckert, the SIOA “operative,” significant access to state resources. Here’s a rundown as described by the Anchorage Daily News:
Sawyer let Heckert use her personal laptop and Internet card, and provided him a cellphone number under her family plan. She herself used state equipment to plan events for the group. She even gave Heckert her key to the Wasilla LIO so he could get in while she was out of town, the report said.
In 2011, Sawyer’s boss at the time, Alaskan state Rep. Carl Gatto (R), sponsored an “anti-Sharia” bill. Apparently, Sawyer’s preoccupation with Sharia became so intense that she reportedly said “my co-workers wonder if I’m getting obsessed with Sharia.” Indeed, she was obsessed. Beyond setting up events for the group, she also created a SIOA checking account and joined the group’s Alaska board. What’s more, the SIOA “operative” held a meeting at a state office.
While it may seem shocking that an anti-Islam group could gain such prominence inside a state office, it shouldn’t be. In 2011, CAP documented the troubling rise of anti-Islam groups like Stop Islamization of America.