By ANCHORAGE DAILY PLANET
The moribund Recall Dunleavy effort is closing up shop as of today. Or so says the campaign’s chairwoman, Meda DeWitt, in op-ed pieces in the Anchorage Daily News and Cordova Times.
While there was a media frenzy when the effort to unseat Gov. Mike Dunleavy got off the ground on Aug. 1, 2019, there has been little media mention of the fizzling campaign’s long-overdue demise, other than DeWitt’s pieces.
The campaign to get Dunleavy – and that is exactly what it was – got underway within weeks of his being elected. Dunleavy was sworn into office Dec. 3, 2018. The Recall Dunleavy domain was registered Feb. 2, 2019, only 62 days into Dunleavy’s term. The ink on his oath of office barely was dry.
Dunleavy did not release his “austerity budget” until Feb. 13, 2019, and his veto of $444 million from the already-trimmed operating budget approved by the Legislature, which caused big-government advocates to melt down, did not occur until months later, at the end of June.
It appears somebody was engineering the recall effort even before Dunleavy’s budget cut and vetoes — planning it before he had done much of anything.
What never has been revealed to Alaskans is who paid for the two-year effort to recall Dunleavy for offenses mostly imagined. As of this past weekend, a little more than two years after it got underway, the effort had gathered 62,373 of the 71,252 signatures needed to force a special recall election. Who picked up the tab? Unions? Outside billionaires? Other usual leftist suspects? Who knows?
State law inexplicably shielded donors to the Recall Dunleavy, which could collect and spend money from anybody, except foreign interests, and – unlike political campaigns – not reveal where it came from or went, at least until the effort gathered enough signatures to win a spot on the ballot.
Only if any signature-gathering money eventually were plowed into a recall election campaign would backers be forced to report every penny collected and spent since the effort’s start. If none of the signature-gathering money ever ended up in the election campaign, its source would remain secret.
Then, the money gathered from who-knows-where to Recall Dunleavy can go just about anyplace without Alaskans or the Alaska Public Offices Commission having any idea where it went.
There are those who believe that was the real intent of the recall campaign, to gather a treasure trove of information about those who signed petitions and, along the way, gather money from secret sources that can be used later for other leftist causes. If it could destroy Dunleavy along the way, so much the better.
Alaskans likely never will know who paid the bill for this political hit job. The good news is that the campaign is closing up shop – and good riddance.