The Dunleavy administration has officially denied my records request for the report that Amy Demboski compiled on Amanda Price. At the time, Demboski was acting in her capacity of deputy chief of staff to Governor Mike Dunleavy (R – Alaska). Price was undergoing a rough legislative confirmation process for her position as Commissioner for the Department of Public Safety. Dunleavy had asked Demboski to look into Price’s background and compile a report.
On July 27, I published an article titled “Tuckerman Babcock ordered Amy Demboski to destroy report on Amanda Price.” The article explains the report that Dunleavy had asked Demboski to compile on Price. Sources told the Landmine that when Tuckerman Babcock found out about it, he ordered her to destroy it. Since the article came out, Representative Matt Claman (D – Anchorage), the Chair of the House Judiciary Committee, sent a letter to Attorney General Kevin Clarkson about the matter. Representatives Zack Fields (D – Anchorage) and Kreiss-Tomkins (D – Sitka), Co-Chairs of the House State Affairs Committee, also sent a letter to Dunleavy.
This article, “Reps. Fields and Kreiss-Tomkins sent letter to Gov. Dunleavy about Tuckerman Babcock allegations” shows all of the letters. It also includes a response from Clarkson to Fields and Kreiss-Tomkins.
Here is the response I received for my records request:
They are claiming executive privilege on the entire report. According to the letter, the report contains 150 pages of materials Demboski compiled, as well as a four page summary. The memo from Demboski is dated April 11, six days before the confirmation vote. The day before the confirmation vote, a bizarre press conference was held in the Governor’s conference room in Juneau. Price had several of her subordinates praise her and say how qualified she was for the job. The day of the vote, Representative Laddie Shaw (R – Anchorage), who had been critical of Price during the entire confirmation process, flipped his position on the House floor and said he would support her. Many think some kind of deal was struck between members of the Legislature and the Governor regarding his support for a defined benefit plan for Alaska State Troopers in exchange for supporting Price. Price was confirmed 34-25.
In my original article I wrote, “Her [Demboski] investigation included interviews with Price in which Price was questioned about her credit history, educational background, and experience with the Walker administration. According to sources, the topic of extramarital affairs was also raised. Price refused to answer questions about that subject.” Issues with credit history and potential extramarital affairs are worth knowing about because, as the head of Public Safety, that kind of information could create a situation where the commissioner could be compromised. This is why law enforcement officials go through rigorous background investigations before being hired.
What is in the Price report that the administration is so concerned about being made public? Were legislators given an opportunity to see the report? Were these kind of investigations done on other commissioner appointments? Why the a last minute press conference from the Dunleavy administration clearly designed to bolster support for Price? Why did Shaw flip on his opposition to Price? Does the administration have compromising information on Price they are using against her?
We may never know the answers to these questions because the Governor’s Office refuses to release the report. But this raises serious questions about what the administration knew about Price before her confirmation vote.