Word is out that Gov. Bill Walker’s Chief of Staff Scott Kendall is working on getting his former boss, Mike Dubke, a contract with Alaska Gasline Development Corporation — AGDC, which has a spend rate of $3 million a month to try to build Walker’s gasline.
Dubke is a known political operative who owns the Black Rock Group. Kendall worked for Black Rock as an assigned operative on the Sen. Lisa Murkowski re-election campaign in 2016, and Dubke worked on the election of Sen. Dan Sullivan.
Earlier this year, Dubke briefly served as White House Communications Director for President Donald Trump, but resigned after three months. He is known to have several contracts, so would not need the $50,000 or so that the AGDC contract may be worth. AGDC is an independent, state-owned corporation that has recently been awarded nonprofit status by the IRS.
Why would Kendall want to tie up Dubke with an AGDC contract? Politicos surmise it’s to keep him from taking on any Republican candidates for the 2018 Alaska governor’s race.
What skill set does Dubke bring to AGDC? He’s a political expert, especially on campaign related subjects. It’s a head-scratcher as to how his skill set would apply to a project that does not have a communication problem, but rather a market problem. As capable as we know Dubke to be in politics and communications, his specialties do not include gas lines, global natural gas markets, and regulations.
Black Rock Group is a communications and public affairs consultancy. In 2001, Dubke founded a group of media services firms (Main Street Media Group, Crossroads Media and Herd Media) that have collectively placed almost $1 billion dollars of media for clients. According to his web site, “The firms specialize in advertising strategy and placement for political candidates, issue advocacy organizations and trade associations. The media group has established itself as one of the go-to firms on the national scene for both political candidates and corporations.”
Dubke’s career dates back to the Bush/Quayle ’92 presidential campaign, when he served as assistant to the political director.
News of the contract with Dubke didn’t come up during the AGDC report to the Alaska Legislature this week. Several legislators in attendance were critical of the AGDC presentation and its lack of financial transparency that provided no significant financial data to lawmakers.
Perhaps AGDC’s lack of financial transparency has more explanations than one. Knowing that AGDC is likely to shut down in the 2nd quarter of next year, Governor Walker may be looking to use its dwindling financial resources to benefit his reelection efforts.