By FRITZ PETTYJOHN
Ballot Measure 1 isn’t just about calling a constitutional convention to propose amendments to the Alaska Constitution. It’s also about the power of dark money, special interest money.
“Defend Our Constitution”, the group opposing Ballot Measure 1, is telling voters to fear a convention, because it would be controlled by dark money, special interest money, from the Lower 48.
This is a blatant lie.
There is no dark money pushing Ballot Measure 1. All the dark money being spent in this referendum is opposing it. Specifically, the notorious leftists at the Sixteen Thirty Fund have contributed $1,851,500. This is two-thirds of the money “Defend Our Constitution” has raised. They got another $500,000 from the NEA, the outside special interest group.
In contrast ConventionYES has raised $21,395, all in small donations. Not a dime of dark money.
So is it “game over” for Ballot Measure 1? Normally a campaign being outspent over 100-1 doesn’t have a chance.
Not so in this case. Look at the APOC report for evidence. The Sixteen Thirty Fund contributed $500,000 on July 29. This was enough to enable Defend our Constitution to outspend its opponents 30-1. But that wasn’t enough of an edge. They needed more money, because not enough Alaskans were being fooled by their campaign of fear and disinformation.
So at the end of September the NEA and the Sixteen Thirty Fund kicked in an additional $1.8 million.
The great irony of the campaign for Ballot Measure 1 is that if it succeeds, and a convention is called, the power of dark money will be defeated. If you don’t like outside dark money corrupting Alaska politics, vote yes on Ballot Measure 1. By doing so you’re telling the Sixteen Thirty Fund to stay out of our politics.
Ballot Measure 1 will pass if enough voters understand that it’s the only way to protect the Permanent Fund dividend from the legislature. Put the dividend in the Constitution. Take all the politics out of it. Over the last six years Alaskans have witnessed the sorry spectacle of endless legislative squabbling over the dividend. A lot of politicians in Juneau hate the dividend. They think they should spend the money, not the people. The large PFD of 2022 was the result of an unusual alignment in the legislature, one which is not likely to be repeated. If the people want more such dividends in the future they need to pass Ballot Measure 1.
The campaign for Ballot Measure 1, and a Permanent Permanent Fund Dividend, is in its final stages. ConventionYES doesn’t have, and will not have, the resources to effectively counter the lies and distortions of “Defend Our Constitution.” They’ve got millions of dollars of outside dark money at their disposal.
What ConventionYES does have is the truth, so it has a chance. Its message is compelling, and simple. Vote for your dividend, vote yes on Ballot Measure 1.
It’s up to individual Alaskans to spread this message among their family, friends, co-workers and neighbors. It has to be a classic grass roots movement. It’s the people vs. the powerful, the truth vs. a campaign of lies, the grass roots vs. dark money.
In other words, it’s up to you.
Fritz Pettyjohn served in the Alaska Legislature in the 1980’s.