Robin Brena’s dirty little secret


Why would a single Alaskan cough up $1 million of his own cash to push a ballot initiative?

That’s what Anchorage trial lawyer Robin Brena has done. What’s in it for Brena? Even a fat cat, wealthy, and serial predator-lawyer like Brena, who’s been stuffing his bank account with loads of cash for years by suing oil companies, must feel the sting of losing $1 million. 

You would think the Leftists running the Anchorage Daily News might be interested in such a thing. Doesn’t the paper’s liberal editor, David Hulen, care about the wealthy throwing their money around trying to manipulate policy and elections?  

The Daily News ran a story Saturday focusing on the money the oil industry is spending fighting Proposition One on the ballot Nov. 3. The industry has spent $15 million. We know why. Ballot Measure 1 would increase the oil company’s cost in a field by 150 to 300% overnight depending on the price of oil. 

At the current $40 per barrel price of Alaska North Slope Crude, oil companies keep 5% of their profits for each barrel produced. The other 95% goes to the government in taxes and royalties.

If Ballot Measure 1 passes, at the current price, oil companies will lose money on every barrel produced. As the price of oil rises the oil company’s profits increase. But there’s no guarantee the price of oil will rise anytime soon considering the drain on demand and the abundance of supply thanks to COVID-19.  

The ADN also didn’t tell you in 2019, Conoco Phillips reinvested its profits back into Alaska in hopes of producing even more oil in the future. The more we tax them, the less they’ll have for future investment.

Don’t expect Hulen to let that fact slip out from any of his reporters working at the paper.

So, we know what’s in it for the oil companies. Their future in Alaska. Ballot Measure 1 would shift oil companies to cease investing their profits for future development in Alaska and instead transition into harvest mode. They will focus on getting the oil out of the ground already accessible and then cut and run. 

You say the oil companies will never leave Alaska. Really? Have we already forgotten the harsh and devastating lesson of BP’s exit? Ask a few nonprofits around town if they’re feeling the sting of no more BP in Alaska. 

Back to the story the ADN, Hulen, and the paper’s owner, Ryan Binkley, refuse to cover. What’s in it for Robin Brena if Ballot Measure 1 passes? Why would he spend $1 million of his own money on Ballot Measure 1? 

There’s a small section at the very bottom of the ballot measure no one is talking about. It reads: 

“The act would also make all filings and supporting information relating to the calculation and payment of the new tax a matter of public record.”  

And therein lies the gold mine for Brena.

Brena has spent his life suing oil companies. He’s become very wealthy doing so. 

Prop One would open the books of the oil companies to Brena. Every contract, every dollar spent, from construction work to buying flowers. Industry analysts describe the clause as unprecedented in its invasiveness. It would put oil companies doing business in Alaska at a great disadvantage competitively with other global companies. 

It’s a dream scenario for a serial litigator targeting the oil companies. That’s why Brena is willing to cough up $1 million of his own cash for Ballot Measure 1. If the measure passes, he’ll see a huge return on investment. Brena will be laughing all the way to the bank.

Some may argue Brena really believes oil companies should pay Alaska “its fair share” and that’s why he’s spending $1 million to convince voters to support Ballot Measure 1.

Impossible! The man can’t possibly be that stupid. 

How could Brena possibly believe forcing oil companies to lose money producing a barrel of oil in Alaska is fair. Especially during a time when the industry is reeling thanks to COVID-19. The Wall Street Journal reported last week the oil industry is expected to layoff 100,000 workers in America this year alone. 

Ballot Measure 1 will destroy Alaska’s economy now and for years to come. Alaskans will be forced to leave the state they love. The ramifications of a wounded and diminished oil sector will impact all other segments of Alaska’s economy. 

The worst part of it is we will have done this to ourselves. This will not be a case of the feds shutting us down. 

A wealthy lawyer is spending $1 million trying to convince enough Alaskans that an industry currently keeping only 5% of its profits and covering 85% of the state’s bills is not paying its fair share.

Brena’s ridiculous argument may just work if enough Alaskans are so consumed with greed, they’d be willing to shut down the industry that is the economic lifeline of the state. What a tragedy if Brena succeeds. 

Dan Fagan hosts the number one rated morning drive radio show in Alaska. It airs on Newsradio 650 KENI. He splits his time between New Orleans and Anchorage. 


  1. Oh come on Dan. We have VIRGIN oil fields!!! You think if I opened a strip club featuring virgins that guys are going to want to go anywhere else? It seems like you’re advocating that Alaska be a cheap street walker charging a few bucks to support an addiction. I think that if Alaska is going to sell herself then she should at least charge enough to maintain herself with some dignity and class. Also, I would suggest that scare tactics are counter-productive in the current political environment.

  2. Big OIL just received over $72 Million dollars in federal PPP while local economies were decimated by fascist “lock-downs”.
    These companies are literally rolling in cash which explains why they would toss nearly $17 Million at fighting this citizen led democratic ballot initiatives.
    Global oil companies pay less here (in taxes) than anywhere on earth including countries like Russia and Saudi Arabia.
    If the current rates and Billion dollar tax scheme continues then Alaska will look like Afghanistan with a broken social welfare system and rampant unemployment for years to come.
    Vote YES on all ballot measures for a “direct democracy” in AK.

    • Don’t come to Alaska for a social welfare system and if your lifestyle requires one, consider going somewhere else. Alaska is not parasite friendly.

    • Vote yes on ballot measure 2? That is way off the scale for stupidity! There are arguable points on measure 1. 2 is a far departure from anything called democracy. Getting to vote twice? No way. Stine, we are not a democracy. We are a republic.

  3. Mr. Brena might be just what productive Alaskans need to start starving their lobbyist-legislator team into submission.
    So Alaska’s serial litigator successfully kills the goose that lays the golden egg, what’s next?
    No more money, no more economy, not enough productive Alaskans left post-Exodus to support their lobbyist-legislator-union-management-education racket in the style to which the racketeers have become entitled.
    Government, Alaska’s only growth industry with nothing left to sustain its growth, can do what else but collapse
    … then possibly, just possibly, be rebuilt by productive God-fearing Alaskans who believe government should be a very small, economical thing operating strictly according to America’s Constitution instead of the self-serving parasitic, metastatic racket infecting Alaska today.
    To that end, with appreciation for Dan’s thought-provoking essay, should not Serial Litigator Brena be wished every success?

  4. Classic Leftist math….. a profit of 5% is not unusual… Microsoft makes many times more. But that 5% is a substantial amount of money and rather than look at a nominal profit percentage they look only at the amount of profit. The shakedown is that the oil companies are going nowhere… as per one KENI celebrity… so look at what can be taxed again. But why risk going in the red if the profit margin goes so close to it?

    Take the Wuhan Flu…. 200,000 Americans have died with it and less than 10,000 solely from it in a country of 330,000,000. The rate of death percentage is lower than other countries (how about China??) but only the gross number counts to the Left.

    As always…follow the money….

  5. Ask former governor Bill Walker what his role is in Prop 1. Walker is now Brena’s law partner and obviously using his influence among Leftists to secure votes for this proposition. I wish someone would follow the money to Walker. The man is so corrupt and so dishonest that even his former Lt. Governor walked off the job.

  6. Any lawyer that spends his own money is trying to make much more money. That is a stone fact. This Brena guy is all about Brena, going after the deepest pockets available. It is the old story, like class action law suits, the lawyer makes all the dough.

  7. It does not surprise me that Fagan loves to highlight tax rates, yet ignores that the state pays credits and socializes the risk of exploration to the Oil companies?

    Let’s be clear about one thing as well; Republicans have destroyed the State of Alaska! Under Republican control, we have seen the coffers emptied, infrastructure crumbling all around us, The worst road system in America, a depletion of the PFD, and the destruction of the commons.

  8. Robert Brena, Alaska’s George Soros, will NOT succeed and Alaska will do just fine as its future continues to unfold without either of them…Once more Dan, keep writing and speaking on these important issues for Alaska, you are making a difference.

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