In a now deleted Facebook post and tweet, Governor Michael J. Dunleavy blasted “greedy politicians” for trying to steal Alaskans’ PFDs (It’s PFDs not PFD’s by the way). Dunleavy’s Press Secretary, Matt Shuckerow, sent me the following statement in response to a question about why the post was removed:
While it’s true some lawmakers plan on taking large portions of the PFD to pay for government, the post was seen as casting everyone in the same light. Recognizing that there are many lawmakers who will stand up for the PFD and follow through on their promises to Alaskans, the social media post was removed.
Ignoring that Dunleavy seems to have a real communications issue, and that it looks like he is teeing up to pick a fight with the legislature, what is more interesting is where the akgov.us, a URL shortener, link in both lead to. It linked to a Must Read Alaska article titled, “House plan starts to reveal itself: Tiny Permanent Fund dividend.” Isn’t that convenient.
I made a video showing this after the Facebook post was made. You can click here to watch.
Here is the now deleted tweet.
Must Read Alaska is run by Suzanne Downing. She is an outlet for information from the administration and routinely has stories up right after they are officially announced. I often refer to her as the Alaska Republican Party and Dunleavy administration propagandist.
She is more than happy to carry water for the administration by writing articles that either justifies what they are doing, provides cover or distraction, or that attack legislators who are not in lock step. Must Read Alaska is even featured in official press releases from the Dunleavy administration. The Landmine is still waiting to be featured!
Notice the name Austin McDaniel, who is copied on this press release. McDaniel is the Digital Media Director for the Office of the Governor. According to a records request obtained by the Alaska Landmine, he started the job on December 3, 2018. He previously worked for former Governor Sean Parnell. McDaniel purchased the akgov.us domain on January 29, 2019.
He also owns a business, Five Nine Solutions. Five Nine Solutions built the Must Read Alaska website, the Alaska Republican Party website, and has done work for many Republican politicians in Alaska. This can be seen on their website. Must Read Alaska is not featured but Five Nine Solutions can be seen at the bottom of the site.
McDaniel seems to be in charge of making Dunleavy’s social media posts. Note this now deleted tweet where he accidentally tweeted what was supposed to be from the governor on his personal account. I want to be governor for the day too!
Is McDaniel still supporting the Must Read Alaska and/or the Alaska Republican Party websites? Who paid for the akgov.us domain, McDaniel or the State? I sent these questions to Governor Dunleavy’s Press Secretary. I have not heard back yet. I will update the story when I do.
It is clear the Dunleavy administration is in cahoots with Suzanne Downing. It is one thing for Downing to write the partisan garbage she does. But it is another for the Dunleavy administration to be working directly with her. Is she being paid? And if she is being paid, who is cutting the check? The public deserves to know the extent of the relationship between the Suzanne Downing and the Dunleavy administration.