After document leak reveals concerns about trustee behavior, Permanent Fund board sets special meeting to review records security

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Michael J. Burns Office Building in Juneau.

After an Alaska Permanent Fund Corporation trustee’s emails were leaked to the Alaska Landmine political blog, the corporation’s Board of Trustees scheduled a virtual special meeting at 8 a.m. on Wednesday, May 8, to discuss the security of APFC’s records systems and document management procedures for confidential information. It’s clear the corporation is unhappy that the documents have made it into the public sphere, because it raises questions about what other documents could be leaked.

Although the meeting is public, the trustees may take the entire topic into a closed-door session to discuss “vulnerabilities of procedures and systems that could cause immediate harm to the Fund.”

Last week, the Landmine revealed a series of emails between Board of Trustee Vice Chair Gabrielle “Ellie” Rubenstein and staff members that raised concerns about whether she was stepping beyond her role as a board member and getting involved in directing the day-to-day operational and investment decisions of the staff of Alaska’s sovereign wealth fund, which was established by voters of Alaska in 1976.

Rubenstein was appointed by Gov. Mike Dunleavy in 2022 and has a term of service until 2026. Among concerns in the emails revealed is that she said in one of them that Board Chairman Ethan Schutt was not going to be reappointed by Dunleavy. Such a move would put her in a good position to be elected as board chair, a powerful position for an $80 billion fund.

Because of her strong connections to the Carlyle Group, which was founded by her father, David Rubenstein, and because she runs her own global private equity firm, Manna Tree Partners, which has a value of some $563 million, some have expressed concern that Rubenstein and her father may may be trying to direct investments to companies that align with their family interests. Emails revealed that members of the staff are concerned about her pushing staff to have more meetings with Carlyle.

On Thursday, the Permanent Fund issued a statement about the concerns, saying the fund “acknowledges recent media reports concerning internal communications regarding potential conflicts of interest. We take these concerns seriously and were addressing the issue through established protocols prior to coverage by the media.”

But this aspect of the conflict-of-interest concern is not on the agenda for Wednesday’s meeting. Only the security of documents is on the agenda.

In response to the leaked document report, Ellie Rubenstein issued a statement saying she follows all ethics rules and disclosure requirements:

“Serving on the Board of Trustees for the Alaska Permanent Fund Corporation is a great honor. This position has allowed me to serve my home state by bringing private sector investment expertise and perspectives to the Permanent Fund Corporation. Introducing and connecting Permanent Fund Staff to investment firms so that they can explore opportunities is an appropriate and valuable role and is common practice among state pension boards, endowments, and sovereign wealth funds. In this role, I have always followed the Permanent Fund Board’s ethics rules and disclosure requirements, and I was unaware of these concerns about my service on the Board. That someone leaked internal messages containing confidential information to the media is disturbing; it is a breach of policy and trust, and it distracts from the important work the Permanent Fund Trustees and Staff are doing for the State of Alaska.”

In 2007, a conflict-of-interest matter involving then-board Chairman Carl Brady was addressed in a memo from then-Assistant Attorney General Judy Bockman, who stated, “Each trustee must identify actual and potential conflicts orally at the board’s public meetings in advance of participating in deliberations or taking any official action on a matter. Violations of the Ethics Act may occur when a public officer takes official action that may affect the officer’s own personal or financial interests or those of an immediate family member. The definition of ‘official action’ means more than ‘vote.’ Under the recently passed amendments to the Ethics Act, the new definition reads: ‘[A]dvice, participation, or assistance, including, for example, a recommendation, decision, approval, disapproval, vote, or other similar action, including inaction.”

That advisory opinion can be read in full here:

The public may attend the non-executive session portion of the Wednesday meeting via webinar or telephonically:

Webinar Access:

https://apfc.org/bot-special-meeting

Event Password: APFCMtg

Teleconference Option

Phone: 415-655-0003
Access Code: 2632 588 9083
Numeric Password: 2732684 (only needed if using a phone)

May 8, 2024 APFC Board of Trustees Special Meeting Agenda_x

8 COMMENTS

  1. Years ago on the Bethel City Planning Commission we had a yearly training session. One thing that sticks in my memory from the State issued training packet was, I’ll paraphrase….even the appearance of a conflict of interest is too be avoided… Damn good advise… Now get rid of her. She’s been a controversial nomination from day one…. Just like Lyman Hoffman and Rural Broadband, of course there’s a huge financial conflict of interest and yes family members are stuffing their pockets… Or… Is it just the appearance? 😎

  2. We have the best politicians in the world. Just look at the results.
    Lying stealing hidden meetings theft of public’s money.
    We have winners thanks to uneducated voters and bought and paid for law departments.

  3. Rogoff’s corrupt daughter, steering our PF investments to her BILLIONAIRE family & their Carlyle Group.
    How much money is enough Ms. Rogoff?

    And WHY (WHY? WHY? WHY?) would Dunleavy appoint this East Coast grifter to our PF board?
    What’s in it for you Mike?

    Rubenstein is SO bad even the ADN is attacking her, & rightly so.

  4. They are more concerned with ferreting out the leaker instead of discussing the potential conflict of interest. In other words, shoot the messenger, and ignore the message.

  5. “Although the meeting is public, the trustees may take the entire topic into a closed-door session to discuss “vulnerabilities of procedures and systems that could cause immediate harm to the Fund.”” The Alaska Permanent Fund was harmed the day that management of the fund money was turned over to the management group that was infiltrated by globalist minions who have, throughout the years, made sure that Alaskans were not getting their dividend as originally set up. Is this the real reason for Hammond’s death? Did he know something?

  6. make her a state senator. cutting deals with east coast elites at money centers has worked before

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