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We Build Alaska

Ellie Rubenstein tells whoppers at Saudi finance conference, exposes blatant conflict of interest

Ellie Rubenstein, who was appointed to the Permanent Fund board of Trustees in June of 2022 by Governor Mike Dunleavy (R – Alaska), spoke at a finance conference in Saudi Arabia last week. Her speech has raised eyebrows for containing glaring factual errors and false claims about her professional history and role on the board.

Rubenstein was speaking on a panel at a Future Investment Initiative conference in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

Rubenstein is the daughter of billionaire David Rubenstein, co-founder of the Carlyle Group, and Alice Rogoff, the former owner of the Anchorage Daily News who ran it into bankruptcy. Ellie Rubenstein was recently elected vice-chair of the Permanent Fund board.

The full video can be seen here.

Here is a clip of her most bizarre claims:


Rubenstein claimed that the board would soon unveil a $100 billion strategic plan, which she referred to as “my baby.” The board rejected that idea on Monday.

When asked by the moderator about the board’s decision to decrease private equity investment, Rubenstein said she did not seek out being on the Permanent Fund board. She then claimed that Dunleavy called her 15 months ago and told her, “I hear you are running around the world, quote-unquote, feeding the Middle East.” Rubenstein runs a fund called Manna Tree, which focuses on food.

Rubenstein then took credit for building the Office of Food Security. There is not a single mention of her in the press release about the creation of the Office of Food Security.

She claimed to be the first woman vice-chair of the board and the first professional investor on the board “in history.” Former Revenue Commissioner Lucinda Mahoney, a woman, was elected vice-chair of the board in 2021. Grace Berg Schaible, another woman, served as chair from 1995-1997. And Melphine Evans, yet another woman, served as vice-chair from 2000-2001.

There have also been several professional investors who have served on the board, but maybe one sticks out. Elmer Rasmuson served as the first chair of the Permanent Fund board several years before Rubenstein was even born. Rasmuson served as president of the National Bank of Alaska and left $400 million to the Rasmuson Foundation when he died in 2000.

Alaska Statute 37.13.050, Composition and qualifications of board of trustees, states:

(b) The four public members of the board must have recognized competence and wide experience in finance, investments, or other business management-related fields.

The moderator then asked Rubenstein, “Alaska isn’t known for its investment professionals?” In response, Rubenstein told a story about being in executive committee with “like 12 men” who are “all politicians.” She said she had to “remind them we are there to maximize financial returns, not to make the Legislature mad.”

Six people sit on the board, not 12. None are politicians. The chair, Ethan Schutt, is a lawyer who serves as EVP & general counsel for Bristol Bay Native Corporation.

She then said, “They ask me every day if I wake up and think of changing statutes, and I say ‘no I wake up and read the markets.'”

Despite Rubenstein’s insinuation that she is the only member of the board with a fiduciary responsibility to the state, in fact it is a responsibility of all board members.

Of all the claims made by Rubenstein, one alludes to a potential conflict of interest involving her and her billionaire father.

After mentioning the board’s decision to lower private equity she said, “Boy was my father not impressed.” David Rubenstein manages nearly $1 billion of Permanent Fund money. According to a 2022 ADN article about her appointment to the board, Carlyle and affiliated firms are paid to manage some $825 million, or 1%, of the Permanent Fund’s investments, according to a breakdown provided by Paulyn Swanson, a spokeswoman for the corporation.”

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Marc Grober
8 months ago
8 months ago

I think it’s time for her to step down she clearly has conflicts of Interest and is have trouble being truthful on a board where trust is paramount in listening to the meeting Monday she was acting like a loose first year investor sounds more like she takes advice from her father leading some to ask who is the real vice chair Ellie or her father remember this is the same person who on Monday said don’t tell the legislators !! She should absolutely step down

8 months ago

Dunleavy, being a carpetbagger himself, seeks out carpetbaggers and self serving culls to appoint to powerful boards, commissions and exempt political positions.

Steve Stine
8 months ago

So how much of PF is invested in China…
Still waiting to find out?

8 months ago

The PF board should be 50% women, not occasionally including a “token”. Diverse boards perform better, that is a well studied fact. If the board members are in fact fiduciaries their first order of business should be recruiting their lack of diversity to ensure they are prepared to make the best decisions possible. A shame that this article ignored that point. And a press announcement not giving credit for the formation of the food security office is dubious proof of non participation at best. After all, women are always given credit for their work, especially by a bunch of good… Read more »

8 months ago
Reply to  John

We also need 13% African American, 1.3% LGBTQA, 52% Caucasian, .9% homeless, 22% Catholic, 9% Jewish, 2.6% Islamic, 61% gun owners, 12% with an active hunting license, 21% with fishing license in the past five years, 4.4% with criminal conviction, 36% divorced, 11% smokers, 24% former smokers, and of course 9 out of 10 dentists who prefer Crest Whitening over other non prescription tooth whitening methods.

7 months ago

She is a complete fraud. Not even from Alaska. I have met her. Arrogant and mean to Alaskans. She thinks she is better than us because her daddy is rich (btw, from selling NOLs of the native corps.) she should resign. Disrespectful person.