Donna Walker brought home cash from China in 2017. The question is: Why cash?

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When presented with what could have been a test by an intelligence arm of one of America’s most challenging international trading partners, the family of former Gov. Bill Walker made an unusual decision: They brought back a pile of U.S. currency from China to Alaska.

A written receipt that is a public document shows that over $24,000 in U.S. cash was deposited in the Alaska treasury shortly after former First Lady Donna Walker returned from China, where she had been invited to speak at a women’s and children’s cultural conference, and where she had brought two of her daughters and a daughter-in-law, all at the expense of the Chinese government.

Must Read Alaska first reported on the junket in 2017. But what MRAK heard, but did not know at the time, is that the State was reimbursed for the cost of the trip with cash to the Walker entourage.

For unexplained reasons, the Chinese government decided to pay the State of Alaska back with cash to cover the cost of the trip. Given the dates in question, the cash was presumably given to Donna Walker and/or her travel companions and brought through U.S. Customs on their way home. The conference Donna Walker spoke at took place on June 21, 2017, and the receipt for cash is dated June 26, 2017.

Madame Peng visited Alaska with her husband, President Xi Jinping on April 7, 2017. In Anchorage, they met Donna, the politically ambitious wife of Gov. Walker. On May 15 the Chinese had extended the invitation to Mrs. Walker to speak at the conference they had set up.

“Meeting President Xi and Madame Peng was a high honor for Governor Walker and me,” First Lady Walker said in her statement at the time she was invited to travel to China with her daughters. “To have that wonderful visit followed up so quickly with this generous invitation is quite remarkable and we do look forward to building and strengthening our relationship with China which has long been Alaska’s largest trading partner. To have the opportunity to extend that economic relationship into social and cultural arenas is exciting and important. I am grateful to play a small role.”

It’s unclear if the conference was specifically designed for Donna Walker and whether the entire trip was a set up to help the Chinese understand more about what kinds of people they were dealing with in the Walker Administration. Another possibility was that the Chinese were testing Alaska’s governor and his influential wife. Walker was eager to work with the Chinese on a gasline.

It’s unusual for governments to pay other governments in cash unless something untoward is happening. Billions of dollars move back and forth between the U.S. and China every day, but moving cash via elected officials or their spouses is a highly unconventional way to transfer funds between governments.

Receipts shows cash into the Alaska treasury about the time Donna Walker returned from China.

In the reconciliation documentation from the State of Alaska that Must Read Alaska has, the paperwork shows “received $24,054 from China.”

The Line description says “3RD PARTY REIMBURSEMENT FOR CHINA TRIP.” That matches the deposit slips.

The trip authorizations for the Walker family show the timeframe for the trip, and the line description details expenses for each member of the entourage.

Travel authorization for former First Lady Donna Walker. There are several other travel authorizations in the tranche of documents.

Although there is no evidence that any money was skimmed off from the cash gift, the Chinese test may be whether a foreign entity is either corrupt or naive enough to take cash that is offered. Perhaps the first family did not understand how the communist Chinese think about these sorts of interactions. Most politicians know better than to receive cash in such a scenario; cash is compromising. But the Walkers didn’t find it problematic.

China has used the coercive “soft power” approach in its in-roads into the countries of the African continent. As reported by the George W. Bush Institute, First Ladies are used by China to soften the target in unsophisticated countries:

“Development aid and trade aren’t the only ways China is gaining ground in Africa. Shifting relationship dynamics through soft power are also helping China gain influence on the continent. The term soft power was first introduced by Joseph Nye in 1990. It refers to getting others to share your objectives through the presentation of one’s own culture, political values, and policy rather than through coercion. From education exchanges to cultural centers and foreign aid to high-level envoys including first ladies, countries have used soft power tactics for broader benefit.”

“During her 1972 visit to China with President Richard Nixon, Mrs. Nixon’s warmness resonated greatly in China. Her appreciation for her visit to Peking and subsequent discussions during one of the trip’s many galas marked the start of “Panda Diplomacy” and the tenure of China’s pandas at the National Zoo in Washington, D.C. Decades later, her vibrant red coat still stands as an icon of the historic visit,” the institute writes.

“But nearly five decades after Mrs. Nixon’s tenure, similar soft power tactics have been embraced by China in its own vigorous engagement across the African continent. Their rapid success stands as yet another warning on the imperative for U.S. leadership and partnership abroad,” the institute writes.

“Stepping outside the limited and often hidden role occupied by her predecessors, Chinese First Lady Peng Liyuan has leveraged her podium in support of key diplomatic interests of the regime. Barely a year into her tenure as first lady, her early influence even earned her a place among TIME Magazine’s 2013 list of ‘Most Influential People.'”

“During their first international trip as President and First Lady in 2013, Xi Jinping and Peng Liyuan visited Russia and three African nations. TIME described the Chinese First Lady’s  presence on the trip as a “one-woman charm offensive…humanizing the communist regime.” Garnering attention for her trendsetting and charismatic presence Ms. Peng has been compared to influential peers, including fellow first ladies and royalty like the Duchess of Cambridge.”

Bribery by the Chinese is documented extensively in international news reports, including this story from Axios.

By November of 2017, Gov. Bill Walker had signed major agreements of understanding with communist Chinese companies to build a gasline from the North Slope to tidewater, aligning Alaska with the Chinese government to finance, design, build, and buy contracts for the natural gas that would flow for decades.

This week, Sinopec, one of the companies that Walker signed an MOU with, was delisted from the New York Stock Exchange for not having transparent accounting practices. The United States is now in the process of unwinding some of its dealings with China, as China aligns more closely with Russia.

Bill Walker is now running for governor again, but in the years since he was removed from office by voters, he has set up a company trying to take over the Alaska gasline project. Walker and former Alaska Gasline Development Corporation President Keith Meyer held a press conference to announce their Alaska Gasline & LNG, LLC, with partners Bernie Karl of Fairbanks and and Laborers Local 341.  

The state’s Alaska Gasline Development Corporation has shown little interest in the Walker offer to take over the gasline project, saying it was looking for investors with more financial heft.

 “State of Alaska policymakers have made it clear that adequately funded third parties will need to fund Alaska LNG construction and lead the project forward. Any party with the appropriate resources and qualifications to help advance the Alaska LNG project is welcome to participate in the strategic path for Alaska LNG that the AGDC board defined this past spring,” AGDC said in 2020, in response to the Walker proposal.

29 COMMENTS

  1. It’s always been my understanding that one cannot travel into or out of the United States with more than $10,000 in cash…..

      • AKJ – so if Bill’s wife did not declare the cash when reentering the United States she would be guilty of a federal misdemeanor or felony?

  2. Just imagine, judgement Day everyone is like why is the line not moving, the list of evil deeds in the book of life are so numerous for walker it will take two days just to read his evil accomplishments. The Gull of oath breakers to come back for more how low can ya go mr. Bill. Shameless corrupt cowards of absolutely no oath integrity of for or by the people.

  3. Cold cash is used as bribe money, or for influence IOU’s. Donna Walker should be ashamed of herself for getting caught up in a scandal with Red Communist Chinese. Now she’s right on track with Hunter Biden, playing the part for kick-backs and under the table influence peddling. Disgusting. This should pose an ethical dilemma for her and someone should register a complaint with the AK Bar Association.

  4. I wonder how much more money she stuffed in her bra and undies? Wonder where old Bill stuffed his cash?

  5. Interesting that Walker also started a company to take on the gasline project. So what was he going to do as governor with this company? And does this explain the ambition of Mrs. Walker to the point that her husband waged a guerilla war on his successor’s term so he could get back the power and make a killing? And isn’t this the real intention of the ranked voting system – that if you need to get rid of a popular adversary, you combine with another “candidate” so that your total votes can carry the day, where a straight mano-a mano match would clearly be lost. This would explain why the law firm that Walker is a member of is partially funding both the Gara campaign and their own. Walker and Gara are in effect, a unity ticket to defeat Dunleavy. If Dunleavy is to survive this election, he will have to recognize this challenge and move against both perpetrators.

    • You can be sure that Walker Gara combo will not rank the red. Let’s hope that the Dunleavy voters don’t rank the blue.

  6. Cheap purchase of Walker from the Chinese money Laundry. Did behave to give them his”tickee”before they handed over the bag??

  7. This should be front page headlines or a leading story in any other media outlet. Crickets. Thanks MRAlaska for bringing us this story (and others). Keep up the good work!

    • No different than when Walker bowed-out of a second run for governor in November 2018, over the Byron Mallott pedophile scandal. No explanation from Walker. No reporting in the Alaska major media. All covered-up, except for fantastic truth journalism by Suzanne at MRAK. That, should have been a national news story.
      Walker is a cheap slimeball, hoping Alaskans will forget his dirty deeds. Now it looks like his wife is the same. Exposure is their demise.

  8. He is no Independent. Independent would imply that he is NOT a member of the chinese communist party.

  9. Once Again(!) … Anomalies in Guv’ment actions // inactions with no credible and legitimate explanation only leads to greater distrust in institutions and a diminished confidence that those elected to Leadership roles are unilaterally untrustworthy. With a very large presence of Guv’ment entities, agencies, and representatives throughout Alaska, these types of events only exacerbate the swell of uneasiness many in the private sector feel towards the Over-Lords and their unaccountable fiefdoms.

  10. Taking thousands in untraceable cash from a foreign power is about as sleazy as it gets. Attorney politicians are the worst type of scum – Manipulating, devious, self-serving, ego-maniacs. See Bill and Donna Walker, Les Gara, Heidi Drygas, Scott Kendall, etc… slime has a way of building upon itself.

    • Dunleavy had the same option as the rest of us – believe the CDC and act accordingly, or do nothing. There might have also been some funding involved, or not. We don’t know. I remember that time very well and followed the gov’s actions. At that time, we had assumed that the CDC was telling the truth; we had no other option. It is only with hind sight that we are now more informed about Fauci and the CDC. As for a “connection” there was none. So no conspiracy theories on this, please. we were all blindsided by the Covid.

  11. Okay, so Donna Walker, First Lady of Alaska, flies coach back and forth to China to engage in some diplomacy with a trading partner of Alaska. The State of Alaska is reimbursed by the Chinese so that this trip comes at no cost to Alaskans. And that’s a bad thing?

    Donna Walker is a devout Christian. She is also smart- and worked her way through college to obtain a law degree. That we had someone so accomplished as a First Lady was good for Alaska.

    Any of you ever fly coach to Asia? Flights (after you’ve flown down to SEA or LAX) are about 15 hours. They are grueling. (Done it more than once.) They you have to deal with the new time zone- and one day ahead. Unlike a vacation you have to get to work when you just want to sleep.

    • Maybe Dunleavy is already anticipating this move by Walker/Gara. Seen yesterday at the Republican Headquarters in Fairbanks:
      .
      Walker’s gasoline partner, Bernie Karl, cutting a check to Dunleavy……..and hand delivering it to him, personally. Either Dunleavy knows how to play the game better than Walker, or Bernie Karl is hedging his bets.

  12. I guess I’m the only one who noticed the name of the person who approved the travel…..it’s right there on the document.

    His name is Scott Kendall….you know, former executive at Black Rock, former walker chief of staff, and the man with the plan for ranked choice voting…..

  13. Geez, Donna Walker a Christian and a lawyer? Let’s see, Jim and Tammy Baker we’re Christians.
    So was Jimmy Swaggart. Bill and Hillary Clinton were lawyers. Does that put Donna Walker in good company?

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