Legislator Dahlstrom admonishes Guard member for blowing the whistle in 2009

UPDATED: Below is 2009 email correspondence between then Rep. Nancy Dahlstrom and the wife of retired Lt. Col. Kenneth Blaylock, regarding allegations made by Blaylock of corruption and abuse in the National Guard. Blaylock, the husband, is a 30-year National Guard veteran before he retired in 2012, has recently come forward to multiple media outlets about the Guard scandal, saying that he’s been trying for years to get people’s attention. His wife, whose name is redacted, is also a retired National Guard member.

The allegations that she sent to Dahlstrom involved then Brigadier General Thomas Katkus, and Colonels Catherine Jorgenson and Timothy DeHass. Katkus, promoted to adjutant general in 2009 shortly after Blaylock’s correspondence, was recently fired by Gov. Sean Parnell, followed by Jorgenson. Questions have arisen about DeHass.

After Dahlstrom left the Legislature, she served for a little more than a year as a special assistant for Gov. Sean Parnell for veterans affairs beginning in February 2012. During that year, she received numerous complaints about the National Guard, but handed them all off to either Mike Nizich, and in one case the FBI, she said. 

Dahlstrom was recently interviewed by the Alaska Dispatch about the actions she took while working for Parnell. However, the story didn’t mention that she herself had received at least one complaint about the National Guard while she was in the Legislature, a complaint that at the time in 2009 she called “baseless” and “reckless.”

Blaylcock says that Katkus is being investigated, and says that questions should be asked related to National Guard finances. The National Guard Bureau Office of Complex Investigations, an investigation called on by Parnell, uncovered numerous instances of fraud and abuse in the National Guard.

Dahlstrom asked the Inspector General of Alaska’s Army National Guard about Blaylock’s complaints, and was assured that there was nothing to them.

In the 2009 email response, she admonishes Blaylock, and calls her allegations “mean spirited, unsubstantiated and malicious.” She said that she’s been watching the National Guard closely for seven years, and has never seen it function better. She wrote that Katkus has provided “outstanding leadership” and that his record is “impeccable.” Further, she wrote that she personally knows Jorgenson and DeHass, and that mentioning the two further erodes Blaylock’s  credibility because “they carry an outstanding reputation and are well respected.”

“No one deserves such public defamation, especially our senior leadership,” Dahlstrom wrote to Blaylock.

Her reaction to Blaylock’s allegations are emblematic of how confusing the situation was. “Had I known then what I know now, I would have handled it much differently,” Dahlstrom said. “We all would have.”

Here’s Blaylock’s email:

blaycock 1

blaycock 2

Here’s Dahlstrom’s response:


Dahlstrom II

UPDATE AND CORRECTION: This story has been updated to include the email that Dahlstrom was responding to. The original story also said that Dahlstrom’s email was sent to Lt. Col. Kenneth Blaylock. It was in fact sent to his wife, who is also retired Coast Guard. However, she is not a colonel as Dahlstrom’s salutation indicates. (Hence the confusion.)


42 thoughts on “Legislator Dahlstrom admonishes Guard member for blowing the whistle in 2009

  1. AH HA

    Perhaps one might better spend his time closely watching how APD covers up here?

    You do understand that once the report has been referred to a law enforcement agency any continued involvement by an outside agency (in this case the Guard) is usually viewed as bordering on obstruction of justice?

    APD is supposed to be the most capable police department in the state. All responsibility for investigating a reported crime is in their hands once they have the report.

    Yet, they have not been able to find any criminal activity?

  2. Anonymous

    Actually, Hollis French knew as early as the fall of 2012, but he did take action on it eventually….

    I reminded him again probably in 2013 some time, he got around to it….

  3. Lynn Willis

    Governor Parnell chose the people and he alone is responsible for that. That he made a simple hiring error just doesn’t wash because he limited himself to qualifications probably much more related to party membership and personal loyalty to him.

    Ronald Regan use to often refer to the warning: “Trust but verify” which is exactly what Parnell should have done and every future Governor, even Parnell if he does win, had better remember.

  4. Lynn Willis

    That pretty much says it all taken in the context of the Katkus report that states there had been, as of October 2013, 29 reported cases of sexual abuse since 2009. Those spread sheet numbers make no sense and would be statistically very improbable given the courage it takes to report such action especially by military personnel. I concur that the Parnell Administration co-operated; however, I suspect no so much in a spirit of seeking truth and justice regardless of who was involved, but with a more direct purpose of deflection and damage control. I will be watching the confirmation hearing for the new Adjutant General/Commissioner to replace Katkus. Perhaps the legislators will want to sit behind a screen and have their voices altered so we cannot identify them or maybe they will try the “executive session” ruse.

  5. AH HA

    Yes lets have a look at that spreadsheet.
    It shows:
    Number of arrests: 0
    Number of pending arrests: 2 (AST)
    Number of criminal charges filed: 0
    Number of open cases APD: 2
    Number of open cases AST: 4

  6. Garand Fellow

    I believe Governor Parnell will be successful on Tuesday, and Alaska will be in trouble if I am wrong. However, if he loses most everyone will be convinced that he hired many people who let him down.

  7. Truth Teller

    Thanks for your diligence and honesty in reporting. Alice Rogoff and her team of paid propagandas are unbelievably biased and seem to work overtime advancing theiir political agenda. The Alaska Dispatch, after this election, will forever be known as one of the most unethical publications in the nation. I think that the supermarket tabloids touting aliens from outer space are more based in fact than the Dispatch. I find it amazing that the Dispatch gave Nancy Dahlstrom so much ink when she was trashing the administration on their handling of the Guard issue; however, when it became apparent that she knew even before them and admonished the whistle blower there was no correction, retraction or anything! Why? Probably because it didn’t fit into their agenda. The Dispatch will forever be known as one of the most unethical journalism operations in the country, certainly the worst Alaska has ever seen.

  8. AH HA

    In that document dump, there is an “Open Letter to the Alaska Legislature” that came from whistle blowers at the guard. It appears to me that this came to the Governors Office as a CC. The clear implication here (see the title of the letter) is that the writer intended that the members of the legislature have this information. One has to assume that the writer had also sent this to the Legislature and that can be easily substantiated.

    Then the questions:

    Who in the legislature received it?

    And finally, what were the actions they took?

  9. AH HA

    Lynn, the Governors office cooperated fully with four or five different investigations and initiated one by the FBI and one by National Guard Bureau OCI. Giving them some credit for not being complete fools, they knew that if any of the allegations that they had been hearing were true senior people were going to be guilty and the thing was going to be a big mess. Yet… they went ahead. That clearly does not show an intent to keep this hidden.

  10. Jon K

    Why do you think it was the intent of the administration to cover things up? If so, why did Parnell call for a fifth investigation, this time from the Office of Complex Investigations, and disclose the results in the middle of campaign season? How is calling for this investigation consistent with wanting to cover it up Lynn? Why did Parnell insist that OCI keep Katkus out of the loop?

    You are the type of guy to shoot and ask questions later. I would rather form judgements based on the facts. And right now there is way too much that is still unknown. What we do know is that many cases of sexual assault were referred to law enforcement and that between 2010 and 2014 at least give investigations looked at the ANG’s dysfunction.

  11. Lynn Willis

    You are correct, nothing was uncovered until recently and that was arguably the intent of the Parnell Administration. Thankfully notes on a spreadsheet based on no due-process for the accused or the victim resolved the apparent sexual assault crimes so that now is settled. Yes, now let us withhold judgement for as long as possible – (or certainly until Tuesday).

  12. Freda Miller

    And isn’t it disingenuous to fire Katkus at the eleventh hour of the election? They are all “Sargent Schultz’s”…I see nothing!!!

  13. Jon K

    I also think it is worth separating the sexual assault cases and criminal allegations from the more systemic problems. After reading the emails it is very apparent that many cases involving sexual assault were referred to law enforcement. see pages 323-329. Regarding the more systemic issues- the lack of trust, fear, demoralized members, etc. – the emails also show that there were several investigations from various entities that looked into many of the allegations. Nothing was uncovered until recently. We also have the awkward fact that the chaplains also went to state legislators and our delegation and they too found nothing.

    As to the AG’s involvement, it looks like AG Burns was consulted in 2011 and the AG has been involved ever since.

    Finally, the Governor’s Office is at a disadvantage because state law prohibits them from disclosing personnel files or releasing details related to investigations. In fact Guard members under investigation are already suing because of the wrongful disclosure of information related to their investigations.

    Bottom line: we need to withhold judgment until we have a better handle on all of the facts.

  14. Joe Barnard

    Anyone wondering why this has been allowed to go on so long only has to read the comments section. There are people who will excuse any kind of evil if they are clueless or morally corrupt enough.

  15. Jon K

    Lynn – see pages 323-328 or so of the released documents. This spreadsheet identifies cases that were investigated, some by civil authorities and others by criminal ones, those that were prosecuted, and the disposition of those cases.

  16. Anonymous

    They did file charges. Look at pages 323-329 of the documents released. It catalogues all of the cases referred to law enforcement and prosecuted. For whatever reason the ADN doesn’t think it is worth discussing.

  17. Lynn Willis

    You don’t see injustice in this for both the purported rape victims, taxpayers or the wrongly accused who may now include those in Governor’s staff? You apparently are among those who want this effort parsed so as to never bring resolution. For example, you want me to only speak of Nancy Dahlstrom and make no reference to her history as a chosen agent of Sean Parnell. Sorry, but there is linkage all over this mess. How many other agencies can you drag into this to make sure the scandal is under perpetual investigation (or at least until Tuesday after which I fear it will be forgotten if Sean Parnell wins and Katkus will become the scape goat for all sins).
    After now seeing the volumes of emails going back several years I don’t agree at all with your definition of “swift justice”. Arguably the most powerful Governor in the United States who appoints his own Attorney General had to rely on the FBI? Now we know Dahlstrom claims she also passed this to the FBI as that became the agency of choice for the Administration perhaps because it presented the best opportunity for “distance”. For a Governor who hates “federal overreach” and “can’t trust big government” he sure seemed to like the FBI in this situation.
    I wonder if anybody in the Parnell administration knows exactly how many cases of sexual assault and other crimes have been reported. I trust you are aware that the FBI was not the only law enforcment agency involved. Tom Katkus (another one-time trusted agent of Governor Parnell as was Nancy Dahlstrom) in his October 29, 2013 ADN article states: “Local law enforcement, including the Anchorage Police Department and the Alaska State Troopers was contacted…”
    I can understand your motive for only wanting to look at one tree at a time to avoid seeing the forest. You might want to focus on the contribution of this additional evidence to a ever growing larger picture. I also wonder when the next trusted agent of Sean Parnell will turn out to be not so trustworthy.

  18. Anonymous

    Lynn – what injustices are you talking about ? Initially, the FBI was made aware of the accusations, and they found no wrong-doing. That doesn’t mean there wasn’t any wrong-doing, however, when the nation’s lead investigation agency finds no foul, one would believe there isn’t a problem. The governor took it upon himself to order an independent investigation which revealed ANG leadership was involved in a coverup. The Governor took swift action and dismissed those involved, and has acted further to right the wrongs. How can you fault the governor for believing the initial findings of the FBI? That said, what does the FBI have to gain by covering up any accusations?

    However, this article isn’t about the national guard issue, it’s about Nancy Dahlstrom wanting it both ways; either blasting the whistleblower or calling out the administration. Please stay on topic.

  19. Missy

    This shows you the ADN will only print negative stories about the Governor. They had people working around the clock trying to find a news story in the emails and then they ask the public to determine their views. Uhhhhhh I thought that was their job.

    I applaud your work in setting the record straight; look at how fast you found the truth and a team full of ADN employees failed. They have sold out.

    I cannot believe what Alaska has turned into. All of the information under the elections tab is horrible things about the Governor.

    Ted Stevens all over again.

    The owner of the ADN was at the Walker/ Mallott negotiations – A sad day for the State of Alaska – A sad day for sell out’s

  20. Lynn Willis

    “Referred to” can be code for “displaced to”. Katkus reported 29 instances of sexual assault in his ADN Article of 29 Oct 2013, and to date not a single criminal conviction or acquittal that I am aware has occurred. That simply doesn’t add up. The emails however heavily censured are very telling just in the volume of them and persistence of some of some attempting to bring this situation to the attention of the Governor’s Office. Now evidence of the apparent duplicity of Nancy Dahlstrom who Governor Parnell had chosen as an appointee into his administration as a “senior military affairs advisor” doesn’t assuage my doubts and suspicions.
    After all my years on active duty with both the Navy (and attached to the Marines in Vietnam) and the Alaska National Guard I would place a great deal of faith (no pun intended) in the character of a military Chaplain. I understand they are not all without flaw but when three of them are attempting to bring some help to the soldiers and airmen they serve, the Governor should have paid attention.
    I will not tolerate the excuse that the Governor was incapable of learning the gravity of this situation nor am I impressed with his parsing of this effort into multiple non-judicial inquiries and political gestures such as that meeting with the soldiers or his attempting to cast himself as a victim of a bias press. If Governor Parnell isolated himself from the citizens of Alaska by allowing his Chief of Staff to be the defacto Governor, then both of them need to pay for that wrongful delegation and the wrongful assumption, of responsibility on both their parts.
    I feel that the reason conspiracy is such a deplorable crime is that you had to have known what to do and purposefully avoided doing just that. I grant you that plain stupidity and incompetence can appear to be a conspiracy; however, I sense that either is equally probable in this case. Lastly to futher my doubt about motive to get to the truth; during the hearing regarding the emails, for me to have to watch those state lawyers (and appointees?) representing the Governor huddling in the corner of the courtroom to apparently plot strategy to further delay the release of the emails was disturbing to me as I remember the promise given to have an “open government” in Alaska under Governor Parnell.
    Bottom line is that I believe that with the re-election of Governor Parnell ,who appoints his own Attorney General ,and whose party controls the legislature this injustice will stand.

  21. Jon K

    Lynn – I agree that Parnell deserves criticism. But some seem to think that there was collusion, cover up, indifference and even support for abusive and criminal conduct. From what i have seen there is little evidence to support these charges.

    Unfortunately this is the narrative that the ADN seems to be running with. I haven’t seen any stories that talk about all of the criminal cases referred to law enforcement. Why? Nor have we seen any articles that discuss in detail the number of investigations conducted between 2010 and 2014 and what these investigations uncovered. Again why?

    I’m not trying to suggest that Parnell is innocent or is being persecuted. I do, however, wonder why the press hasn’t discussed what seem to be pretty important issues and instead have decided to write story after story that suggests Parnell didn’t care about crimes and abuse and that he even tried to cover things up. It’s a bit like Fox with Benghazi.

  22. DB

    Superintendent Graff should immediately ban Anchorage Police Department officers from the schools. To think that one of their members is now embroiled in the sexual abuse scandal is appalling. I guess officer Rollins wasn’t the only one of very questionable character.

  23. AH HA

    Really? He beat the stuffing out of a staffer?

    Juneau is a smallish sort of place….funny I never heard that. Have any details?

  24. Mormon mom

    Dennis W. – I totally disagree with you.
    Bill Walker has admitted he cheated on his wife.
    Byron Mallott beat the stuffing out of a staffer when he was Mayor of Juneau.
    The “unity ticket” has no morale compass. Rep. Dalhstrom will fit in nicely.

  25. Lynn Willis

    Oh please people; spare me another chapter of “Parnell the Innocent” who is being persecuted unfairly by the mean guys and girls in the press and is, in fact, the hero in all this.
    Representative Nancy Dahlstrom apparently was so appealing, as a potential member of his administration, that Governor Sean Parnell created a position for her in his Administration in 2010 while she was still a sitting legislator. Here is what the Alaska Constitution (Article 2 Section 5) states concerning what Governor Parnell did by creating this job for Dahlstrom.

    “During the term for which elected and for one year thereafter, no legislator may be nominated, elected, or appointed to any other office or position of profit which has been created , or the salary or emoluments of which have been increased, while he was a member.”

    The constitutional language apparently wasn’t understandable by Governor Parnell or he thought he could just jigger the dates of her resignation and her acceptance of her new job to allow him to pull this off. Unfortunately for the Governor, Nancy Dahlstrom announced in a report published on May 8, 2010 that she would be leaving her seat in the Alaska Legislature to join the Parnell Administration as a senior military affairs advisor. Governor Parnell’s own appointed Attorney General (Dan Sullivan) warned him about his actions after Parnell’s creation of the job for Dahlstrom before she resigned came to light. Instead of challenging the opinion of his Attorney General, Governor Parnell simply threw Dahlstrom under the bus from which she later emerged, apparently none the worse for wear, to hold the job anyway.
    So again please stop casting Sean Parnell as the victim or the hero because he simply is neither.

  26. AH HA

    @Amanda, Nice article. Sure is odd, this barely resembles what she was claiming the other day…It’s appreciated that you were unwilling to let Dahlstrom off the hook. I’m sure you realize what anyone who is really looking at this is probably starting to see; She is far from alone over there in the legislature? lots of them were made well aware…on both sides of he isle. Individually and Collectively they did nothing.

    I little bird tells me that a certain former Senator on the left had also received a similar communication…. and that it elicited a similar response.

  27. Sam P.

    Agree with Stripes. Pretty alarming stuff from Dahlstrom. And none of this reported over at ADN? Did they not have this? Or did they just hand her the microphone and let her loose on the governor and his chief of staff? Just wow.

  28. AH HA

    Sassy, You would be well served to wait a bit longer before deciding ANYONE is ‘exonerated’ in this mess. In case you missed it, the more we find out the bigger the thing gets.

    All of the allegations we have seen so far are the result of a poor leadership climate. (Poor is being nice, toxic is probably closer), that I have personal first hand knowledge has existed in the guard since at least 1994. In fact you can find public documents showing that the Knowles administration was well aware of the problems and had made a show of fixing the problem in 1995. However, other than some pro forma hand wringing they never actually accomplished anything and nothing really changed from then to now.

  29. Stripes

    Confusing for sure. Public officials have absolutely no right to admonish members of the public for what in essence was whistel blowing. Former Rep. Dahlstrom is in no position to criticize Goverrnor Parnell or anyone else for their handling or mishandling of this situation.

  30. Sassy Sister

    I am sick of this issue. The victims deserve better. I started to be angry at Parnell. Now I’m changing my mind based on the evloving information. The Anc Daily News owes the community an apology for their biased coverage of the AK National Gaurd scandel. I don’t know this woman Nancy Dalstrom but am perplexed with her lack of common sense and sense of ethics. The reality is beginning to look like there were mistakes by legislators (Dalstrom), his staff (Nizich) and a bunch of the Gaurd’s command. Parnell looks clean and appears to be doing something about it.

  31. anc anon

    Geez, why would Dahlstrom criticize the administration for their handling of the Natl. Guard issue? She handled it, obviously, as a two-faced politician. Where do these people come from?
    Parnell should get kudos compared to Dahlstrom. It sickens me that politicians think they are powerful and almighty enough that they have the right to admonish members of the public. One thing is clear from this to me – – Dahlstrom may have collected a govt paycheck but was NEVER A PUBLIC SERVANT.

  32. Dennis W.

    Those who know Rep. Dahlstrom can vouch that she is lazy – just ask any of her former leg staffers, the folks at Providence or the Department of Labor. Thank you for posting this Amanda – Alaskans can see she is gunning for a cabinet position in the Walker camp. Too bad that won’t happen because:
    A) Walker won’t win
    B) There isn’t a Department of Ruthless Gossip
    C) Most state jobs require you to work more than 2 hours a day

  33. Jon K

    This entire situation is just sad. We have what, at times, looks like a witch hunt with the ADN apparently (?) providing very incomplete and selective coverage of what happened, a Governor’s Office that appears to be non-responsive to media inquiries, multiple investigations between 2010-2013 revealing nothing, multiple state legislators getting complaints for years but failing to hold a hearing, and worst of all a culture of fear and intimidation demoralizing the ANG and preventing victims from coming forward.

  34. Shelley

    Amazing. This woman is one of the most disingenuous people II have ever encountered. Is this the sam Nancy Dahlstrom that thre the administration under the bus just days ago? Even beefore this revelation, I wondered why Dahlstrom hadn’t been more forthcoming. Why she waited until the 12th hour of an election is reprehensible. Amanda Coyne is right. This has been a very difficult and confusing issue that has spanned administrations. Rather than tearing down Parnell, we should be applauding his efforts. He’s the only guy who has ever serioisly attempted to clean up the mess. I don’t fault Dahlstrom for her response as a legislator. That was understandable. Just her latest response was disingenuous, sleezy and full of political manipulation. Dahlstrom should be banned from government for such deception of the public trust.

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