85% OF AKPIRG STAFF, BOARD SIGNED RECALL PETITION
“Under the Internal Revenue Code, all section 501(c)(3) organizations are absolutely prohibited from directly or indirectly participating in, or intervening in, any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for elective public office.” – Internal Revenue Service
The Alaska Public Interest Research Group (AKPIRG) has the best cover for the partisan work it does on behalf of the Alaska Democratic Party. It simply says it does things in the “public interest.”
This week’s “public interest” is giving Alaskans one more reason to sign the recall petition to remove Gov. Mike Dunleavy. AKPIRG is lighting the fire of a dead movement.
AKPIRG filed a complaint against the governor for allowing the Alaska Republican Party to auction off “breakfast with Gov. Mike Dunleavy” as part of a fundraiser.
The auction came during the winter gala on Dec. 6, and was handsomely bid on — the $6,000 high bid went twice. AKPIRG says the governor violated ethics statutes because the Governor’s Mansion is public property.
Those attending the gala said the breakfast was understood to be at the governor’s discretion at a time and place of his choosing. The Mansion was only one option.
State law allows the Governor’s Mansion to be used for political events because it’s considered the governor’s private residence when he is in office. Whether having breakfast with a donor to the Republican Party is illegal is something that will now be litigated in the court of public opinion. At some point it could be litigated in an actual court room, but that’s not the point of AKPIRG’s complaint. The point is to get the frenzy going just at the time when recall petitions have been mailed to 20,000 Alaska voters.
Alaska Republican Party chairman Glenn Clary said the ethics complaint is just another part of the recall of the governor, and there’s evidence to back that up.
Must Read Alaska cross-checked the names of AKPIRG staff and board members with the list of those who signed the “application” for the petition to recall the governor. MRAK came back with quite the list.
The protestations that this is “not political” from AKPIRG’S executive director Veri di Suvero don’t past the giggle test. di Suvero is a political partisan who cut her teeth on the Bernie Sanders campaign.
From New York and relatively new to Alaska, di Suvero (she goes by the pronoun “they/them”) signed the recall petition, but she is not the only AKPIRGer to do so.
- Alexandra Veritas De Suvero, registered Democrat, signed recall
- Rochelle Adams, undeclared, signed recall
- Benjamin Boettger, nonpartisan, signed recall
- Kelsey Schober, registered Democrat, signed recall
- Erin Willahan, nonpartisan, signed recall
- David Song, registered Democrat, did not sign
- Phil Wright, nonpartisan, did not sign
- Nelta Edwards, registered Democrat, signed recall
- Lois Epstein, registered Democrat, signed recall
- Ira Slomski-Pritz, registered Democrat, signed recall
- Genevieve Mina, registered Democrat, signed recall
- John Kennish, nonpartisan, signed recall
- William Kronick, registered Democrat, signed recall
- Margaret Wilcox, registered Democrat, signed recall
Critics like Glenn Clary at the Alaska Republican Party say AKPIRG is operating as an unregistered agent of the Alaska Democratic Party, and if this is the case, the organization would be in violation of the tax-exempt status granted by the Internal Revenue Service. If it’s working as a stealth recall group, it would also be in violation of Alaska campaign laws, Such coordination would be hard to prove without a full investigation, however, an unlikely event in an era of stretched state resources.
AKPIRG says it “exists independently from national PIRGs, because Alaska is “independent by location, our people, our legislature, and our lifestyles. Our purpose is to watch-out for Alaskans’ best interest in matters of comsumer awareness and protection, legislation, and corporate interests.” The organization has strayed from its mission of consumer protection, however, and is now dedicated to researching and executing coordinated attacks on Republicans. It’s annual report says “AKPIRG works closely with the Anchorage Mayor’s Office.”