Contributed by Matt Johnson
Ever wonder why our politicians never seem to represent us? Keep reading.
Alaska Dispatch News recently reported that telecommunications giant, GCI, funneled more than $2 million into the Alaska’s Future campaign in an attempt to strong-arm the legislature into a PFD grab that would direct half of the designated statutory payout to fund state deficit spending.
Over the past week, US Senate candidate, Joe Miller. has flooded the radio airwaves with an ad highlighting Senator Lisa Murkowski’s repeated attempts to tap the permanent fund for state spending while she was a state legislator, and reminding voters of the fact that Murkowski made statements earlier this year that appear to double-down on support for the PFD grab.
But is there really a connection between the corporate-sponsored Alaska’s Future campaign to take permanent fund earnings from Alaskans and Senator Lisa Murkowski?
Here’s what I found.
While Alaska’s Future campaign is a bipartisan group, run by Senator Dan Sullivan’s campaign manager, Ben Sparks, and former Senator Mark Begich’s spokeswoman, Heather Handyside, it is in large part a campaign funded and directed by Murkowski donors. She is in fact, the common denominator.
The Washington DC-based consulting firm, Black Rock Group, who is working Lisa Murkowski’s US Senate campaign is also consulting the Alaska’s Future campaign.
Alaska’s Future Co-Chair, Ron Duncan of GCI, has personally given the maximum $5,400 to Lisa Murkowski’s 2016 re-election campaign, and donated to numerous PACs who have funneled thousands more into the senior senator’s coffers.
At least three of Duncan’s vice presidents at GCI have donated a combined $9,900 more in personal contributions, and have also donated to PACs supporting Murkowski with thousands more.
Co-Chair, Helvi Sandvik, President of NANA Development Corporation, has personally donated $3,500 to Murkowski, and steered an additional $7,000 to her from the NANA Development Corporation Inc. PAC.
Co-Chair, Sophie Minich, President and CEO of the CIRI Corporation, is a past Murkowski donor.
No less than 17 of the 32 Alaskans named to the Alaska’s Future Leadership Council have either endorsed Murkowski or donated to her, or to PACs that have donated no less than $34,875 to her campaign.
Further, corporate members have donated tens of thousands more through their PACS, and this before the latest disclosures have been posted to reflect donations since Murkowski picked up a legitimate challenger in the senate race.
Murkowski also has the backing of the AFL-CIO, whose leader in Alaska, Vince Beltrami, reportedly assisted GCI Chief, Ron Duncan, with lobbying efforts in Juneau.
With just a handful of exceptions, the remainder of the Alaska’s Future Leadership Council are donors to either sitting Senator Dan Sullivan or former Democratic Senator, Mark Begich.
And to no one’s surprise, not one member of the group trying to grab your PFD has donated to any of Joe Miller’s three US Senate campaigns.
Alaska’s Future is a thinly veiled pay-to-play racket. They give money to the politicians, who take your money and give a portion back to them. And the favor is returned come election time. This is what we call a quid pro quo. Everyone wins but the taxpayer.
And you wonder why Senator Murkowski offers consent to the politicians stealing your PFD? Wonder no more. Follow the money. The permanent political class is indeed thick as thieves, and they’re all in this thing together.
Thankfully, Joe Miller fought back, drafting the “Save the PFD” recall petition application in July.
And how can we fight back? Elect a man to the United States Senate who isn’t party to the theft.
In early September, when United States Senate Libertarian nominee, Cean Stevens, decided to step down, Joe Miller agreed to replace her on the ballot. He is the only viable candidate in the US Senate race capable of displacing this cabal and giving ordinary Alaskans a truly independent voice in Washington.