Governor threatens candidates on official stationery



Gov. Bill Walker
Gov. Bill Walker, BBC screen grab

Alaska Gov. Bill Walker today issued a press release threatening both sitting legislators and candidates if they do not answer his questions about which fiscal plan they support.

From the look of it, unless they give him the answer he wants, he’ll work to make sure they are not elected.

In his press release,  Walker said:

“There are currently three fiscal plans in play. There’s the Governor’s New Sustainable Alaska Plan, which will continue to force government efficiency while maintaining most current state services. But there are also two alternate plans: The No Action Plan (NAP) and the SB128-Only (Permanent Fund Restructure) Plan. 

I will ask every legislator and every candidate for the legislature to choose which of these three plans they support.  Failure to choose a plan will constitute support for the No Action Plan (NAP).  After Alaskans become familiar with the type of Alaska each of these three plans represents, voters will be much better informed about who should represent them in Juneau.”

The governor may have violated ethics laws that cover the use of state resources for campaigning. His threats against legislators would have been fair play, but threats against candidates is electioneering on government time and worthy of an ethics complaint.

“I will ask every legislator and every candidate…” is code language for using the governor’s bully pulpit as a campaign stump to fight the very citizens who have stepped up to run for office.

The Alaska Legislature is engaged in its fifth special session over two years. One of those sessions involved the governor’s request purchase of TransCanada’s interest in the Alaska Gas Line, AK-LNG. The others involved fiscal decisions needed to patch the state’s budget.

The specific section of the Executive Ethics Act that the governor is in violation is:

(6) use or authorize the use of state funds, facilities, equipment, services, or another government asset or resource for partisan political purposes; this paragraph does not prohibit use of the governor’s residence for meetings to discuss political strategy and does not prohibit use of state aircraft or the communications equipment in the governor’s residence so long as there is no charge to the state for the use; in this paragraph, “for partisan political purposes”

(A) means having the intent to differentially benefit or harm a

(i) candidate or potential candidate for elective office; or

(ii) political party or group;


The governor has a hit list and is vetting candidates, supporting those who are with him and working against those who oppose him. Darwin Peterson, the governor’s legislative director, has strongly implied to at least one legislator that that person was on the governor’s hit list. The governor is particularly angry with one conservative Republican legislator, but others report the same conversation has been had with them.

The governor, through his legislative director, has also told legislators he will not do bill signings with legislators who are not being helpful to him.