Richards distressed over ‘leak’ of agenda

Craig Richards, former AG and law partner to Gov. Bill Walker, presents the governor’s plan to have the Permanent Fund buy up the state’s distressed tax credits, at Commonwealth North. 


Comes now the word from several quarters  that former Attorney General Craig Richards is upset that someone leaked the agenda of the Permanent Fund Board of Directors to Must Read Alaska.

We can assure Richards that try as we might, we could not get the agenda from the Permanent Fund Corporation, which is more than a little irritating since it is a corporation of the people. Alaskans are the shareholders.

The agenda was not posted at the Permanent Fund Corporation’s web site. Nor were calls returned. Messages requesting the agenda were ignored.

For people wanting to know if their Permanent Fund should invest in distressed state tax credits, how would one find the agenda for the board — or for any other board, for that matter?

As a public service, below is the link to the state notices page where all such meetings must be posted.

You might have to sort through the notices, but it’s the law that they be posted, and if you cannot find it on the agency web site, you’ll probably find it here.

As we did. No, Mr. Richards, the Permanent Fund Corporation was not leaking the agenda. The corporation was as quiet as a tomb.


Craig Richards was the featured speaker at the Commonwealth North fiscal committee on Friday, Sept 9.

He gave a pared-down presentation of the case he laid out to the Permanent Fund Board of Directors at their meeting earlier this month, as referenced in the aforementioned agenda.

The governor’s case for the Permanent Fund buying up the state’s distressed tax credits , reminded one participant “about the kid who kills his mom and dad and then throws himself at the mercy of the court because he’s an orphan.”

Richards has a habit of trying to blame the tax credits on “the state” or “the legislature” when it was the governor who vetoed the tax credits, leaving smaller companies high and dry. The tax credits are how Alaska attracted companies back to Alaska to fill up the pipeline and keep the natural gas flowing out of Cook Inlet to warm up homes across the Railbelt.

Richards is Gov. Bill Walker’s law partner back in the private sector. He and Walker together have chased investment out of the state, reneging on the tax credits and now hoping the Permanent Fund will pay for something that is owed by the state’s general fund.

In essence, explained Rep. Dan Saddler, to sell the credits at fire sale prices, after having set the fire. Others view it as a raid.

“This raises many serious questions, including whether this was the governor’s plan all along. Why anyone would trust he won’t veto the Permanent Fund purchase of credits (since he’s already vetoed half of the Permanent Fund dividend), and whether Permanent Fund should be ever be used to backstop a governor’s budget vetoes. I and many other Alaskans are awaiting more clarity on these and other questions,” Saddler said.

Sen. Anna MacKinnon wondered aloud if some producers might see the governor’s move as extortion.

Richards countered that that was political rhetoric.

But even economist Gunnar Knapp was leery: “The investment for the Permanent Fund may be risky. It sets a bad precedent, a tendency to sell other ‘good deals’ to the Permanent Fund.”

If the Permanent Fund board decides the credits are not a good investment will that distress them even further?

Richards dodged that question, but the answer seemed self-evident.