THE ANCHORAGE DAILY PLANET
It sometimes is easier to see the big picture when you connect all the dots.
Let’s start with Anchorage lawyer Robin Brena, one of three sponsors of the petition drive to wring another billion dollars or so from the oil industry à la former Gov. Sarah Palin’s Alaska’s Clear and Equitable Share oil tax debacle.
When former Gov. Bill Walker – who spent much of his legal career battling the oil industry – decided to bless Alaska with his presence in Juneau, he sold his law business, Walker Richards, to the Brena, Bell & Clarkson law firm in Anchorage. Brenna then chaired the Walker-Byron Mallet transition committee on oil and gas issues.
As governor, Walker appointed Anchorage lawyer Scott Kendall as his chief of staff, a powerful post in state government.
Walker, a Republican-cum-independent-cum-undeclared-cum-independent again, won election and went on to become one of the least popular governors in the country. Shored up by unions, he ran for re-election, saw Byron Mallott, his lieutenant governor and ticket mate, flee the campaign for reasons even now unclear, and then folded his campaign.
When Gov. Mike Dunleavy was elected, Kevin Clarkson, of Brena, Bell & Clarkson, left that law firm to become Dunleavy’s attorney general. Walker, fresh out of office, filled Clarkson’s spot at the law firm.
Brenna now is a sponsor of the “An Act Relating to the Oil and Gas Production Tax, Tax Payments, and Tax Credits” initiative. He and his cohorts would have you believe the industry is not paying its way although it now pays for the lion’s share of state spending. They also would have you believe the industry would not even feel the pinch of losing a billion dollars.
It would, of course, and so would everybody else as it moved its investments elsewhere. The economy would take a hard shot. It happened during ACES. It would happen again.
And Walker’s Scott Kendall? He turns up as counsel for the misguided effort to recall Dunleavy on laughably flimsy grounds.
A lot of roads seem to lead to Walker & Co.