Is Bill Walker in violation of state Executive Ethics Act? - Must Read Alaska
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Tuesday, November 12, 2019
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Is Bill Walker in violation of state Executive Ethics Act?

Former Gov. Bill Walker and his partners at Brena, Bell, and Walker have a contract with the City of Valdez to provide legal services that include: “Represent the City before FERC in the Alaska LNG permitting process to ensure objective analysis of the Valdez Alternative.”

This is a version of the previous contract Walker used to have to be the city attorney for the Prince William Sound municipality before he became governor. Since leaving office, he has returned to the law firm that he sold to Robin Brena for an undisclosed amount of money in 2015.

The problem for Walker is that as recently as 11 months ago, he was directing that Alaska Gasline Development Agency from his post in the Governor’s Office. That was well-known, in spite of the firewall that the AGDC board was supposed to be. It was Walker directing the gasline and it was Walker making the deals with China.

Now, Brena, Bell, and Walker is defending Valdez as a potential terminus for the Alaska Gasline, by making arguments to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on behalf of Valdez that Nikiski is an inappropriate terminus. Their reasons include that Anchorage and the MatSu don’t need natural gas.

[Read: He’s back: Former governor says Anchorage, MatSu don’t need natural gas]

The relevant section of Alaska law that applies to Walker is in Section II of the Executive Ethics Act:

II. Post-State Employment Restrictions

A. Two-Year Restriction on Participation in Certain Matters

“Under AS 39.52.180(a), a two-year prohibition applies to certain post-state employment activities. For two years after leaving state service, a former state officer may not “represent, advise, or assist a person for compensation regarding a matter that was under consideration by the administrative unit served by that public officer, and in which the officer participated personally and substantially through the exercise of official action.” The Department of Law reads this provision consistent with the legislature’s intent that AS 39.52.180 be narrowly applied.10 Thus, subsection 180(a) prohibits an activity during the two-year post-state employment period only if the activity meets each of the elements of that subsection.

The Ethics Act and related regulations define most of the terms used in AS 39.52.180(a). A “public officer” includes any public employee in the classified, partially exempt, or exempt service.11 “Person” includes a business or organization.12 “Compensation” means money or other economic benefit received in return for services rendered to another.13 “Administrative unit” means “a branch, bureau, center, committee, division, fund, office, program, section, or any other subdivision of an agency.”14 “Agency” includes an executive branch department.15

“Matter” includes “a case, proceeding, application, contract, or determination, proposal or consideration of a legislative bill, a resolution, a constitutional amendment, or other legislative measure, or proposal, consideration, or adoption of an administrative regulation.”16 General formulation of policy also does not constitute a “matter” for purposes of post-state employment restrictions.17

“Official action” means “advice, participation, or assistance, including, for example, a recommendation, decision, approval, disapproval, vote, or other similar action, including inaction, by a public officer.”18 Whether participation in a matter is “personal and substantial” depends on the circumstances of each case. Routine processing of documents, general supervision of employees without direct involvement in a matter, and ministerial functions not involving the merits of a matter do not constitute “personal and substantial” participation.19 As a former public officer, you are precluded for two years from further involvement in matters in which you had substantial actual involvement and took official action.”

Walker may have figured out a workaround by having one of his partners serve as proxy for him in his dealings on the gasline matter, but he can’t pretend to not be involved through the back door. And that would be prohibited by law.

The remedy? Nikiski, if it were so inclined, could file a complaint with the Attorney General, since it is being targeted by Brena, Bell, and Walker.

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Suzanne Downing had careers in business and journalism before serving as the Director of Faith and Community-based Initiatives for Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and returning to Alaska to serve as speechwriter for Gov. Sean Parnell. Born on the Oregon coast, she moved to Alaska in 1969.

Latest comments

  • Well there you go. Lock him up. The drafter in Chief of our PFD theft.

  • So what’s new?
    Here’s two examples with rural legisators.
    Gov. Palin….Rep Mary Sattler…. Donlin Mine… Bethel City Council…. still Donlin Mine

    Gov. Walker…Sen. Lyman Hoffman… Family…Board of Directors Ak Gas Line

    It’s a never ending problem.

    • TLP: White
      Proving running through the bar is the way not leaping over it.
      Hire a contract specialist not an attorney certainly not a politician.
      Check the firm’s standing on ex parte orders.

  • Keep in mind….Former Gov. Walker took responsibility from BP, CONOCO and another local company because they were too slow?

  • Love that photo! Governor Walker and former UAF Chancellor Brian Rogers cheering on disgraced Lt. Governor and child –……Byron Mallott.
    Great role models for Alaska’s youth.

    • Where are those three now?
      Walker:. In Valdez, still trying to shake down the money tree whenever he can. Disgraced former governor and LOSER. Thief.
      .
      ROGERS:. Not in good health but enjoying $160K/yr in state pension.
      .
      Mallott:. Hiding on Douglas Island. Still beating the drum to see who might answer the call. Bill Walker’s former best friend.

  • The Ethics Act only applies to Republicans.

    • Sure Art…that is why the majority of Republican Legislators voted this year to repeal the ethics bill.
      Ethics gets tossed around a lot in discussions yet no one ever seems to face consequences for their “unethical practices”….
      Remember VECO?

      • I too would vote to repeal the piece of crap in a heartbeat; any lefty jackass with access to a pen and paper can file an ethics complaint and then run to the media where the object of the complaint is vilified by both the media and the other lefty jackasses for weeks or months. When the accused wins or the complaint gets dismissed it is in six point on page 20 and if the accused is an official elected under the Republican party and the Rs are in power, the left just keeps the complaint going screaming “no justice, no peace” or some such nonsense,

    • Thank you Art for explaining the issue. Laws are only enforced when progressives want them to be and never against fellow betters. Republicans are evil and why laws are needed. HUG!

      • Patrick,
        I fail to see where I singled out Republicans as “evil”…
        My point was:
        “Ethics gets tossed around a lot in discussions yet no one ever seems to face consequences for their “unethical practices”….”
        The ethics bill that was just voted out last session was introduced by an Independent…both Dems and Republicans voted to repeal it?
        What does that tell you about Alaska’s tethering to special interests (on both sides of the Aisle)?
        “This is probably not a year we’ll be doing a lot of ethics reform,” Coghill said.
        (KTVA.com)

  • Attorney General can initiate a law suit or “cease and desist” on Walker.

    • But that would be mean . Republicans only may be guilty of laws and never may enforce those laws on progressives , who are pure and kind.

  • Bill Walker and his allies seem to think they are a law unto themselves, and they are correct to the extent that those of us who believe in ‘equal justice under the law’ as opposed to ‘survival of the fittest’ let them ‘get away with it’.

    As Lord Acton observed: “Power corrupts”. It doesn’t matter what one is trying to do, if they seek power to accomplish their goal – no matter how well intentioned – their zeal for power will corrupt their thinking. We must all be aware of this potential and guard ourselves and our friends against this evil influence by being wary of anyone who seeks to use the power of government to achieve any purpose other than defending individual natural rights.

    We shouldn’t even trust government to perform that function. The essential required of ‘self governing’ is to govern one’s self before attempting to govern one’s neighbor.

    • Thanks, Mike. Sounds praxeological.

  • Now we’re covering news! You’re an investigator of sorts, even if your reporting includes negative GOP information. Keep following the corruption.

    Good job today!

    Victims of crime and curruption thank you!

    Private Agent 007

  • Will be a waste of time to get into the weeds on this one. What are the consequences or “penalties “ that could be assessed against Walker? Is it a crime or just subject to a fine?
    Who cares what he does now days. He has lost most of his credibility and no one reat cares. The gas pipeline dream is over. Not in our lifetime will it happen.

    • A.F.
      Well said…
      “The gas pipeline dream is over.
      Not in our lifetime will it happen.”
      Please tell the current administration this so they can stop wasting state money on the continuous “planning” of this pet project which has occurred as a complete farce since Frank Murkowski was in the office of Governor.

  • How about it that Karen S. McGahan?

  • Billy Walker, like all Demoncrats……………is severely Morally Challenged.

  • And……….Mongo……..they play in “poopy” sandboxes.

    • …..in the sewer. He is pure scum. And will be remembered that way.

  • Bill Walker did not have a State of Alaska business license for around 30 years until 11 months before he ran for Gov. Bill his wife and his partner owe thousands to the state.
    Today I checked Walker’s business license through the State of Alaska division of corporation, business and professional licensing under 541110 lawyers offices and under 922130 legal counsel and prosecution, and no license came up.
    But that’s OK because his buddy lawyer Attorney General of Alaska Kevin Clarkson won’t go after Walker, just like he won’t go after the other 427 law offices that have no State business licenses.
    According to the same state agency web site Attorney General Kevin Clarkson and his Chief Assistant Attorney General Rebecca Cain also never held a state of Alaska business license.
    The AG and assistant AG have a conflict of interest when dealing with no state business licensed lawyers.

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