The Alaska Federation of Natives, using Recall Dunleavy attorneys Scott Kendall and Jahna Lindemuth, have sued the Dunleavy Administration over the status of the Power Cost Equalization Fund, which provides financial relief to rural communities to help with high cost of power.
Kendall and Lindemuth worked for the administration of Gov. Bill Walker; Kendall was his chief of staff and Lindemuth was Attorney General. They have collaborated to oppose the Dunleavy Administration in court at several turns during the past three years after they were removed from office by voters. Kendall, who was Lisa Murkowski’s campaign manager and who generally attacks Republicans, is especially active in trying to get a recall of Dunleavy on the ballot, an effort that has apparently lost steam.
The lawsuit challenges the governor’s decision to transfer more than $1 billion in the Power Cost Equalization Endowment Fund, a fund located in the Alaska Energy Authority, to the Constitutional Budget Reserve. The lawyers say this sweep violates the Alaska Constitution and upsets the Legislature’s power of appropriation.
“I have authorized my administration to pursue an expedited judgement on the future of the Power Cost Equalization Endowment Fund,” said Gov. Mike Dunleavy. “This issue is too important to delay any further. A decision by the court will help clarify what is in the General Fund and what is not to determine what gets swept into the Constitutional Budget Reserve to repay it. In order for us to fulfill our constitutional duties, both the executive and legislative branches need to know if the PCE is subject to the sweep.”
Dunleavy has proposed protecting the Alaska Permanent Fund, the Permanent Fund Dividend, and Power Cost Equalization in the Alaska Constitution through his Constitutional Amendments, SJR 6 and HJR 7. The next opportunity for the legislature to meet is on Aug. 2, in a special session called by the governor.
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