By ANCHORAGE DAILY PLANET
Here we are, into December, and months since the Recall Dunleavy charade began collecting signatures to undo last year’s election, and Alaskans still have no idea who – or what – is picking up the tab for the effort.
Its Alaska Public Office Commission report is replete with zeros when it come to listing income or expenditures for the recall effort.
The recall’s financial backers, whoever they may be, are determined to run Republican Gov. Mike Dunleavy from office largely for his audacious rip-off-the-Band-Aid approach to curbing Alaska’s budget woes. Cutting the budget to the bone means a lot of those feeding at the government trough are getting short rations – and they are displeased.
They are so very displeased, in fact, they could barely wait to get started. Dunleavy had been in office only 241 days when the first recall signatures were gathered.
What mayhem had he visited on Alaska to spark the fervor? Recall backers say he refused to appoint a judge to the Palmer Superior Court within the required 45 days, even though the position was filled before the retiring judge had vacated the bench. They claimed he used state funds to buy ads containing partisan statements about political opponents; that he erroneously vetoed $18 million from state Medicaid funding; and, that he vetoed funds appropriated for the judiciary in retaliation for a court decision on abortion.
Is any of that grounds for a recall in a state that requires a lack of fitness, incompetence, neglect of duties, or corruption as grounds to remove officials? Hardly.
Face it, Dunleavy is in their sights because he committed the biggest sin anybody can when dealing with the Left: He did not bend to its will.
The fact that recall backers can do what they are doing in secret should bother all Alaskans. Recall Dunleavy can take in and spend unlimited, unspecified amounts of money from anybody, except foreign interests – until the question hits the ballot. Then, if they roll over any left-over signature-gathering money into the ensuing election campaign, backers would have to report every penny collected and spent since signature-gathering started Aug. 1.
If the group were to choose not to carry forward any leftover signature-gathering funding, Alaskans might never know who financed the effort to place the question on the ballot.
That seems wrong. Obviously, Alaska’s laws concerning disclosure for ballot initiative campaigns need to be fixed, but, in the meantime, Recall Dunleavy is attempting to remove a sitting governor without telling Alaskans who or what is funding the effort. It is, as we have pointed out, a ghost ship fueled by dark money.
You might think the group would, as a matter of course, want to get it out in the open, no matter the law, but you would be wrong.
Alaskans deserve better than a secretly financed effort to remove their governor. Much better, indeed.