Updated: 13 minutes ago Posted: 3 hours ago
Republican Senate candidate Kelly Tshibaka has been cited and fined $ 270 for commercial fishing without a commercial fishing crew license, the Alaska Department of Public Safety said Friday.
Tshibaka, running in next year’s race for the United States Senate for the seat currently held by Republican Senator Lisa Murkowski, used commercial fishing gear in a July campaign ad partially filmed on a setnet site owned by former Lieutenant Governor Loren Leman.
Tshibaka did not hold a commercial fishing crew license at the time, according to public records.
Officials from the Department of Public Safety opened an investigation and “after a thorough investigation and in consultation with the Special Prosecutions Office of the Alaska Department of Justice”, rangers cited Tshibaka.
In a written statement, Tshibaka said she “will comply” with the quote, but believes authorities are misapplying the licensing law, which “clearly and expressly exempts a” visitor or guest “on board a ship. commercial fishing, which is obviously what I was. “
âIn no case could I have been defined as being in commercial fishing. I was not paid, I did not materially help with the operation and the fish that I touched were not sold, âthe statement read.
In 2004, when the Alaska Legislature considered legislation allowing tourists to purchase a one-day commercial crew’s license, officials from the Alaska Department of Fish and Game testified that the tourists are allowed to board commercial fishing boats but cannot touch a fish or a net without a crew license.
In addition to the commercial fishing citation, investigators examined whether Tshibaka illegally purchased a resident-only sport fishing license in 2019.
Last week, Murkowski highlighted the accusation in an interview with CNN, saying, “She has a problem with her fishing license and her residency problem.”
Knowingly violating the fishing license law is an offense punishable by a fine of up to $ 300, but in this case prosecutors could not prove that Tshibaka knew she was doing something illegal. .
âWe have declined all criminal charges due to insufficient evidence to establish his mental state. That left the strict liability quote, and we think that’s a good fit, âsaid lawyer and law department spokesperson Grace Lee.
In his written statement, Tshibaka said Murkowski: âHis campaign team, his henchmen in the media and his political friends have unfairly tarnished my name by falsely accusing me of having obtained the wrong sport fishing license. It was all a lie. The Alaska Wildlife Troopers and the Office of Special Prosecutions have not determined any wrongdoing on my part, as I have argued from the beginning.