Questions Raised About Alek Skarlatos’ Campaign Finances 

In 2015, U.S. Army Specialist Alek Skarlatos, having already served with distinction in Afghanistan, was riding aboard a train to Paris when he, two other Americans, a Brit, and a Frenchman foiled an attempted terrorist attack in what has become known as the Thalys Train Incident. Skarlatos not only helped subdue the criminals, but also gave lifesaving care to the man primarily responsible for stopping the attack. Later, Skarlatos downplayed his own role, giving primary credit to the wounded man, who happened to be a childhood friend. 

The three Americans involved played themselves in a feature film of the incident titled The 15:17 to Paris 

When Skarlatos left the Army, he decided to run for Congress from his native 4th Oregon Congressional District, challenging longtime representative, Democrat Peter DeFazio. Skarlatos lost in the 2020 election, and used the $93,000 remaining from his campaign funds to form a nonprofit called the 15:17 Trust. Its declared mission is to advocate for veterans like himself.  

The foundation appears not to have been very active, a search for it yielding no hits at all other than its own Facebook page – which has 12 followers, and two posts, and its own Instagram page – which has two followers and no posts. 

Skarlatos is preparing to run again in 2022, and a cloud seems to have fallen on what had previously looked like a spotless reputation. Skarlatos has borrowed $65,000 from the 15:17 Fund to put into his 2022 campaign fund. Questions are being raised about whether he is allowed to legally do this, and if he can, whether he has filed the correct paperwork to do so. 

At press time, Skarlatos had not yet returned calls for comment.  

By John M. Burt