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Watchdog group files ethics complaint against Eldon Mulder

Posted: Sunday, May 06, 2001

JUNEAU (AP) -- A public interest watchdog group has accused Rep. Eldon Mulder of misusing his position for his personal benefit.

The Alaska Public Interest Research Group filed an ethics complaint Friday against Mulder, the House Finance Committee co-chair.

The complaint was filed with the state's Select Committee on Legislative Ethics. It charges that Mulder tried to enhance his lawful salary to reward his wife's employer and its client, the cruise ship industry, with legislation that would exempt the industry from state regulations.

Mulder introduced a cruise ship bill in late April that was significantly weaker than two similar measures being considered by lawmakers. The measure was referred to one committee, the one he co-chairs, and quickly passed.

Mulder's wife, Wendy, works for lobbyist Joe Hayes, who has a contract with the North West CruiseShip Association. The group represents the nine cruise lines that operate in Alaska.

Steve Conn, director AkPIRG, said the timing of the legislation shows a course of action by Mulder aimed at using his job for his personal benefit.

Mulder has said that his wife does not lobby and that her relationship with Hayes was irrelevant to his work on the bill.

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