Contributed by Ray Metcalfe, Candidate for US Senate
Getting dirty money out of politics and ending the pay to play games has been my number one priority for thirty years, and will remain so when I represent Alaska in Congress.
I was the whistleblower who helped the FBI and federal prosecutors convict VECO owner, Bill Allen, for bribing your legislators. Six legislators were convicted of accepting bribes in exchange for their vote to tax Alaska's oil at far less than its real tax value. The bribery had gone on for thirty years; every Alaskan has paid the price. Had Alaska been paid what Prudhoe Bay was worth, and had legislators deposited the additional payments in the permanent fund, the fund and your dividend would have grown to about five times what it is today, and the legislature would now be in position to pay big dividends and fund government from the earnings for perpetuity.
To see firsthand what corruption is costing you today, look no further than your PFD that was just cut in half. While I disagree with the governor's decision, the anger behind the recall petition is misplaced. The blame belongs with those who for years, accepted campaign funding from oil company surrogates and voted repeatedly to give your oil away.
Political parties and a majority of your elected officials on both sides of the aisle, have developed mutual dependencies between themselves and large donors seeking financial rewards. After contributing, large donors (in Alaska's case oil company surrogates) pay lobbyists to remind those they helped elect what they expect in return. From Wall Street to Washington, from Big Oil to Juneau; it's a never ending cycle of trading campaign contributions for appropriations, tax breaks and other economic benefits that infects both major political parties.
You may have heard about a split within the Democratic Party. The split boils down to those who wish to bring an abrupt halt to the pay to play game and those who just want to end the other guy's participation.
With a vote of 27 to 6, the elected members of the Democratic Party's Platform Committee inserted the following 38 words into their proposed Party Platform:
• We support legislation that requires elected officials to declare a conflict of interest and recuse themselves from voting on legislation appropriating cash, resources or competitive advantages to themselves, their family, their employers, their business partners or their contributors.
The old guard establishment was so anxious to exclude such language from the Platform they adjourned the convention to prevent the above language from coming up for a vote and its likely adoption on the Party Convention floor.
I want to put the above language into federal statute, making it a serious crime to fail to disclose such conflicts and recuse one's self from voting when one has such conflicts.
When I started the referendum to overturn Senate Bill 21, better known as "The Big Oil Tax
Giveaway Bill", I knew it would be an expensive fight. We came very close to winning, even though the oil companies spent thirty times what we were able to raise.
Ask Yourself: How can global warming issues be addressed while the fossil fuel industry can easily provide thirty times the campaign funding as those who wish to fix global warming?
My other political priorities are quite similar to those of Bernie Sanders & Elizabeth Warren. I have reviewed the bills they have proposed and I support the goals they have defined. Elected to attend the State Convention as a Sanders delegate, I’m the only US Senate candidate who has endorsed Bernie Sanders and come out in support of the legislation he has proposed.
Develop responsibly, protect the environment and get paid market value for the renewable and non-renewable resources we place on the commercial market; that's my motto. Addressing the political corruption that permeates our political system is my number one priority.
When elected to Congress, I will represent you - the people of Alaska, not special interests. Having me for your senator would be almost as good as being senator yourself.