Kelly Tshibaka speaks to reporters in Anchorage in this Sept. 26, 2019, photo, Law enforcement officials have completed their investigation whether Tshibaka, a U.S. Senate candidate and former State of Alaska official, illegally obtained a fishing license for a sportfishing event two years ago, and turned it over to a special prosecutorial branch of the Department of Law, an official said Thursday, Aug. 19. (AP Photo / Mark Thiessen)

Kelly Tshibaka speaks to reporters in Anchorage in this Sept. 26, 2019, photo, Law enforcement officials have completed their investigation whether Tshibaka, a U.S. Senate candidate and former State of Alaska official, illegally obtained a fishing license for a sportfishing event two years ago, and turned it over to a special prosecutorial branch of the Department of Law, an official said Thursday, Aug. 19. (AP Photo / Mark Thiessen)

Prosecutors vet US Senate candidate’s fishing license case

It’s been turned over to a special prosecutorial branch of the Department of Law

By Mark Thiessen

Associated Press

ANCHORAGE — Law enforcement officials have completed their investigation into whether a U.S. Senate candidate and former State of Alaska official illegally obtained a fishing license for a sportfishing event two years ago and turned it over to a special prosecutorial branch of the Department of Law, an official said Thursday.

Kelly Tshibaka, a former commissioner in the state Department of Administration and a Republican candidate for Senate, received the license during an event on the Kenai River in 2019.

Records show she received the permit in August 2019, eight months after she moved to Alaska to take the commissioner’s job, the Anchorage Daily News has reported. To obtain a resident fishing license, state law says the person must have lived in the state for 12 consecutive months before applying for a license.

Tshibaka signed the license application, acknowledging she had read the rules for residency. She also indicated on the license that she was a resident for 15 years, 8 months.

A person could be fined up to $300 for knowingly violating the law on fishing licenses, a misdemeanor.

“After a thorough investigation by the Alaska Wildlife Troopers into the media reports regarding Mrs. Tshibaka the investigation has been completed and will now be reviewed by the Alaska Department of Law’s Office of Special Prosecutions,” Department of Public Safety spokesperson Austin McDaniel said in an email to The Associated Press.

When asked if it were unusual to involve the special office, he said in a follow-up email that law enforcement regularly works with prosecutors when building cases.

“Due to the circumstances involved with this investigation, the Alaska Wildlife Troopers requested an independent review of the case by the legal experts at the Alaska Department of Law,” McDaniel said.

Tim Murtaugh, a senior adviser to Tshibaka’s campaign, said she attended the 2019 Kenai River Classic in her capacity as commissioner.

He said her confirmation hearings were public and it was well-known she had just returned to the state.

“The event organizers asked if she had a current fishing license, and when she said she didn’t, they issued her one,” Murtaugh said in an email to the AP.

“The form was filled in for a license that expired after one day, going from August 22nd to the 23rd, which is only available to non-residents. This shows clear intent to purchase a non-resident license, not a resident license,” he said.

Tshibaka announced her resignation from the state on March 29, the same day she said she would challenge Republican U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski.

Murkowski, who was critical of former President Donald Trump, was censured by the Alaska Republican Party, which later endorsed Tshibaka in the race. Trump also has endorsed Tshibaka.

Murkowski has not announced whether she will seek reelection next year. However, last month Kevin Sweeney, a consultant to Murkowski’s campaign, said she had raised about $1.15 million in the second quarter of this year and had $2.3 million on hand.

That, Sweeney said, “strongly positions” Murkowski for a reelection bid.

Murkowski on Monday declined to discuss reelection plans.

More in News

A Princess Cruise Line ship is docked in Juneau on Aug. 25, 2021. (Michael Lockett / Juneau Empire File)
Ships in Port for the week of Aug. 7

Here’s what to expect this week.

(Juneau Empire File / Michael Penn)
Police calls for Saturday, Aug. 6, 2022

This report contains public information from law enforcement and public safety agencies.

Ice fog, a phrase in Russell Tabbert’s Dictionary of Alaskan English, is not uttered in many other places because to form it takes a sustained temperature of minus 35 F. (Courtesy Photo / Ned Rozell)
Alaska Science Forum: Alaska lexicon sinks in over the years

When my little Ford pickup chugged into Alaska 36 years ago this… Continue reading

Mimi Israelah, center, cheers for Donald Trump inside the Alaska Airlines Center in Anchorage, Alaska, during a rally Saturday July 9, 2022. Two Anchorage police officers violated department policy during a traffic stop last month when Israelah, in town for a rally by former President Donald Trump showed a "white privilege card" instead of a driver's license and was not ticketed. (Bill Roth / Anchorage Daily News)
Alaska officers violated policy in ‘white privilege’ stop

It’s unclear what policy was violated or what disciplinary actions the two officers faced.

(Juneau Empire File / Michael Penn)
Police calls for Wednesday, Aug. 5, 2022

This report contains public information from law enforcement and public safety agencies.

Capital City Fire/Rescue vehicles form a line at Juneau International Airport for a drill. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire File)
Women arrested after Monday morning structure fire

Arrest does not appear related to two other recent fires, per fire marshal.

(Juneau Empire File / Michael Penn)
Police calls for Wednesday, Aug. 4, 2022

This report contains public information from law enforcement and public safety agencies.

Keke Tian Ke is the featured artist for the month of August at the Juneau Artists Gallery. Her new works on display are an exploration of the landscapes and natural wonders Juneau has to offer. She’ll be at the First Friday event on Aug. 5 from 4:30 to 8 p.m. on the ground floor of the Senate Building, 175 South Franklin.
Here’s what’s happening for First Friday

Keke Tian Ke featured artist for August at Juneau Artists Gallery

Select North Douglas residents are expected to experience an emergency water line shut down Thursday.
Some North Douglas residents set to experience emergency water line shutdown Thursday

The line shut down will occur between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. Thursday.

Most Read