Smoking gun: Bill Walker broke campaign rules or broke state law - Must Read Alaska
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Saturday, October 23, 2021
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Smoking gun: Bill Walker broke campaign rules or broke state law

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THE ONLY QUESTION IS, WHICH ONE DID HE BREAK?

The Anchorage Daily News on Friday posted a plea written by Gov. Bill Walker, “Why I reduced the Permanent Fund dividend.”

The governor was writing in his official capacity as the highest elected state official, but directing people to watch a campaign video before they make up their mind about his official policy actions in reducing their Permanent Fund dividends by one half.

His piece never explicitly asked for people’s votes. But the link in his op-ed is to the same campaign video he has promoted on his campaign Facebook page for the past three days.

The newspaper group also published the same piece in the Alaska Journal of Commerce.

Must Read Alaska finds it unprecedented to allow a sitting governor to publish an official op-ed that is a plea for support for his re-election during the campaign season, and then link it to an actual campaign video.

It’s illegal for a governor to use both his official capacity and his campaign capacity in one opinion piece. State officials must step outside of the actual state-owned property to work on campaigns, and Walker is clearly speaking in his official role in this op-ed. If he used State employees to write the op-ed, then he has used State employees for campaigning.

Complaints about this illegal behavior would have to be brought to Attorney General Jahna Lindemuth , a close ally of the governor, for prosecution.

The Anchorage Daily News is the newspaper that brought Bill Walker to office in the first place, with its biased coverage during the 2014 campaign cycle, when the paper operated as the Alaska Dispatch News under the ownership of Alice Rogoff.

After the Must Read Alaska News Flash (an email newsletter) went out to 11,123 readers today, with details about the governor’s op-ed, the entire opinion piece was removed from the Anchorage Daily News web site, and this item is now in its place:

TWO VIOLATIONS

From the campaign violation side of things, this was an illegal donation from the ADN and the Alaska Journal of Commerce, both owned by the Binkley Company.

To its credit, the company took down the ADN version of the op-ed, although the Journal of Commerce version remains up as of this publication time. Must Read believes it is unlikely the Binkley Company will face sanctions by APOC, due in part to its timely removal of the piece.

From the government ethics side, this is very likely a misuse of State resources. The “People’s lawyer” can be reached at: [email protected], but it seems unlikely that she would launch an investigation of her boss’s actions.

Complaints to the Alaska Public Offices Commission about the corporate contribution should go to Tom Lucas, at [email protected]. Be sure to mention that there was no “Paid for” disclosure in the governor’s opinion piece.

The question that APOC should ask is “Who penned this op-ed? Was it official staff or campaign staff?” That will get to the root of the problem.

The governor’s article also ran in The Frontiersman and the Kenai Peninsula Clarion, but those newspapers removed the offending link.

Here’s the text of the top of the governor’s opinion piece as it ran in the ADN, with the link to his campaign ad:

Why I reduced the Permanent Fund dividend

By Gov. Bill Walker

Why did I reduce the Permanent Fund dividend in 2016?

Before you make up your mind on the decisions about the budget and the fiscal plan, please take a moment to watch this video.

The decision to reduce the PFD in 2016 in response to Alaska’s fiscal crisis will be one of the defining issues of this election. Our opponents on both the left and the right have criticized this decision.

Some Alaskans believe that it was a terrible decision that we never should have considered, that this decision was unnecessary, that if we had cut more out of state government, we could have avoided making any changes to the way we manage the Alaska Permanent Fund….

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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

  • The Attorney General, not just this one, any of them, is not the People’s Lawyer, the AG is the Governor’s lawyer. See my piece a few days ago on the need for a Solicitor General.

    • Not always the case Art. When Attorneys General are elected they are not the personal lawyer for the Governor. And they are elected in many states, unlike appointed cabinet level officials in Alaska. . And in some cases they are often in conflict with Governors. In those cases they represent the state and can be considered the “ people’s lawyer”.

      • When you have an elected Attorney General, AG stands for almost Governor; the AG is an elected official with his/her own constituency and agendae. This state needs only one elected official in the Executive Branch with sweeping authority, the Governor. The Lite Gov is just there to not lose the State Seal and have an elected replacement should the governor step down, and has little real authority otherwise, an elected AG would have enormous authority. See my piece on the need for a Solicitor General.

  • There is nothing in this state other than miles of land and some people. The few roads we have
    that are paved are patched over and over. The few roads that they pave are paved over and
    over, it is always the same roads. There is no infrastructure except a few buildings in Anchorage.
    So where does all the money go? Now Walker is taking more of the PFD with nothing to show for it. Money has been given to battered women and children out of the PFD for the 27 years we have lived in this state. Schools are all they ever build, there is one on almost every corner in Wasilla and Palmer which is great. Alaska needs to vote in a new governor.

    • “Now Walker is taking more of the PFD with nothing to show for it.”
      That`s not true. The state was in the middle of a fiscal implosion. The deficit grew to 3.7 billion dollars, the state credit score was downgraded again, oil cratered to $26 a barrel. Our state politicians had no answer. The legislature was stuck in a partisan log-jam that burned through 14 billion dollars in savings and would have killed off the dividend completely by 2020. It is a testament to how far we have come, that people have forgotten how bad it was. The money is in the earnings reserve earning us about forty million a year. That will pay for a lot of cops and rural airport maintenance and pothole and school and dock repairs. Nice try though at party spin.
      I would like to know Dunleavin`s plan for the deficit and how he`s going to pay “a full dividend”.
      Is he going to raid the magic oily money tree I heard about that grows in…Texas?

      • My Fellow patron, Please Note That The Alaska Legislation Is almosT If Not More Corrupt Than washington. You want to know where the money went, you half to look no further than the frivolous spending on goverment buildings and complex. They currently have about 8000 buildings state wide that don’t even have a single goverment employee. I.E. our state goverment has decided that it needs the money because they ran out of there own due to spending on stupid stuff. But if u want to know there it is. Just looked into those builds and you’ll find out were the rest went

  • Taking the PFD amounts to a regressive tax on lower income folks. As an attorney with a specialized practice, I don’t rely on the PFD although it is a nice to receive the payment. However, many folks in our smaller communities and in rural Alaska are dependent upon the dividend. So….Walker imposed a regressive tax on Alaskans so he could fund (?over fund?) state government in the midst of a recession. And this clown claims to care about our people. If he truly cared, he would reduce the size and expense of government and leave thge PFD alone..

    • Those funds were not used to fund state services. They went to an account to hold funds for some unknown future use. I’m pretty sure the funds were not used to pay our obligations to our business partners who discovered yet more oil to produce which would benefit everyone.

  • Governor Walker cannot figure out who he is. He has become a populist and he is getting played by the libs while having an occasional conservative idea while swirling around the middle, going down the drain. It’s kind of sad to watch. I had high hopes for him even after voting for Parnell – and watching the wolves of the ADN, etc. rip Sean apart throughout that National Guard scandal (then they never printed another thing about it), supporting Bill and Byron nonetheless with their “unity” sap. Well, enough is enough. That experiment has failed. Too bad Byron abdicated the throne for the dems back then. Maybe Beltrami will get Bill to quit, and Byron will hitch his star to Marky Marks Wagon (or is it the other way around?) and then they can get beat by Dunleavy together. Bill still gets a job in the end running a Chinese restaurant in Valdez. A gasline runs through it.

  • Hope he never makes it in office again, people please remember what he did when it’s time for election n remember those that are in office that supported him, vote them out also!

    • What he did is saved your and your kids dividend for the next decade at least. The one we are getting is one of the biggest checks ever paid out. Ask Dunleavey where he would get the other $700 MILLION a YEAR to pay out a “full dividend” and he will stutter and spit and go off on a tangent. We elected a good Governor who acts for the staqte1s best interests first. That`s why we elected him. To make decisions that bought oily republicans would never make…. as it displeases their bosses on the slope.

      How to promise a million barrels a day and not have to do it…https://www.adn.com/politics/article/series-conoco-employees-help-ease-oil-tax-bill-through-legislature/2013/03/28/

      • Sir, you are a republican troll, any one who supports walker is. He may say he is independent, but the entire time in office he has used republican tactics, mannerisms, and on top of all that he continues to try and decive the alaskan people with cheap words. He like all republicans are brasenly corrupt, and like all republicans should be investigated for political crimes.

  • Is anyone really surprised? Hubris, haphazard, hateful and underhanded.

  • Are Governor Walkers Judges also above the law? Less than one year after Walker appointed Judge Jennifer Wells in Kenai she submitted at least two warrants to the state swearing she had no motions due over six months…actually she did.
    Mitchell v Mitchell 3KN-16-702CI. Judge Wells bent over backwards to help fellow Kenai attorney Joe Ray Skrha strip the marital estate of a brain injured disabled veteran and his disabled care-giver wife with fraudulent DVRO’s while admitting there was no domestic violence and ignored many pleas to protect the hundreds of thousands of dollars now missing.
    Walker’s judges seem to believe they are above the law as well.

  • Is anyone really surprised that one who casually picks your and your children’s pockets might treat mere campaign laws so casually as well?

  • Walker’s violations are very newsworthy. Will ADN report on them? Probably not since it violated campaign contribution laws by making a contribution in kind. What would the paper have charged someone to publish a link to a advertisement of their run for office? Or for that matter, for publishing an op ed that in reality is an advertisement for their run for office?
    The big question imo is whether Walker or Begich will leave the race before the general election. And what deal will be cut to entice the other to leave. With their inflated egos and sense of importance it will be very interesting. Because if Dunleavy wins the primary it is probably a very safe bet he will win a three way race. And they know it! Would either accept being Lt Gov? With their egos and hubris? What a downgrade that would be! So, what could be offered to the other to get them to fall in their sword.

  • Way to go Governor Alaska first
    His brain is not in his head
    Took from poor disabled rural so on who depended to buy heating food clothes medicine you took half to fund special interest groups gave raises to retirees
    Gas line all i hear from him is China China n more China where is Alaska Alaska we pay the highest energy in the country gas comes through we be paying double for gas in rural here china will pay half less it shows what the oil pipeline does it runs in my backyard i pay the most in county
    Every one support the governor to take dividends are getting a nice pay from the state we need to boot him out
    He cant even decide who to be lib independent or Republican what a looser
    If he be smart he cut everything wages retirement everything in between to what the state brings in no he went after police emergency what public needs not want says he is for Alaskans huh wow taxes n more taxes 700 thousand people how much money do you want to tax to over blotting spending if he is reelected he wont cut one dollar but complain when he takes all the dividend taxes everything he will be short on spending where do you think next raid the permanent fund
    Did he ever consider get all the bureaucracy out one permit so Alaska can work over half of the state is parks n preserve then ontop another half is restricted to work on we have 1/4 of state only to work with
    Anchorage complains about everything who wants to try new things about the environment look what they doing to the city destroyed the land so they wont get the shoes dirty paving their driveways with tax payers money
    We had enough of this governor to steal from poor give to the rich needs size 12 to boot him out

  • Corrupt thieving, lying, fool!

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