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We Build Alaska

Hatchet job against Sen. Giessel shows some people have no shame

We all know politics can be a nasty business. I have personally dealt with things said and published about me that were completely false, and believe me it’s not fun. Some people will resort to any measure to win or destroy opponents.

Yesterday, Mike Porcaro and Suzanne Downing published and then heavily promoted a bizarre affidavit signed by Dorene Lorenz. Lorenz is well-known in Alaska political circles and has worked as a reporter and wannabe lobbyist. In her affidavit, Lorenz claims that in 2016, during a TV show interview, Senator Cathy Giessel (R – Anchorage) told her that “al [sic] US peacekeeping forces do is rape women in third world countries.” According to Lorenz, Giessel specifically mentioned that the rapists included “Alaskan troops.”

The affidavit, which is riddled with clumsy phrasing and misspellings, is frankly unbelievable. It is worth noting that anyone can sign an affidavit claiming that anything happened. Though the incident allegedly occurred on a media production set, Lorenz provides no evidence that the event occurred.

I have known Giessel for ten years. We have not always gotten along. In fact, for years she would barely acknowledge me. But I know and respect her, and she is one of the hardest working legislators in Juneau. Her father was a pilot in World War II. I have heard her speak fondly about working for the late Senator Ted Stevens, who was also a pilot in World War II. Her great-grandfather is buried in Arlington National Cemetery. You can disagree with Giessel or not like her politics, but to believe that Giessel made the statements about Alaskan troops, for no apparent reason whatsoever, and to a reporter, strains credulity.

So what’s really going on here? Well, one likely explanation is that this is really about Representative Laddie Shaw (R – Anchorage) not being confirmed to the State Senate. In late 2019, Shaw was chosen by Governor Mike Dunleavy (R – Alaska) to fill the Senate seat that was left vacant after Senator Chris Birch passed away. Shaw was not confirmed by Senate Republicans. Shaw’s supporters attempted to tar opponents to Shaw’s confirmation as “anti veteran.” Now-Senator Josh Revak (R – Anchorage), also a veteran, was confirmed to the seat. Some of Shaw’s supporters have been invested in the “anti-veteran” narrative against Giessel ever since.

Also, a little history on Lorenz. She chairs a group in Seward called Friends of the Jesse Lee Home. In 2018, Lorenz got in trouble for blowing $700,000 from a state grant intended to save the historic Seward landmark. Here is an excerpt from a 2018 APRN article on the Jesse Lee Home:

Lorenz left out a key detail, though.

“Well the grants are actually terminated,” Fred Parady said. Parady is deputy commissioner of the Department of Commerce, Community and Economic Development, which had been overseeing the grants.

Parady said the grants were terminated “for cause.”

“We just had a series of reporting issues and accountability issues back and forth between us and the Friends of Jesse Lee Home, disallowed or questionable costs that were identified, and it became clear that the process wasn’t working and we needed to terminate the grants, so we did,” Parady said.

The termination letter from July of 2015 says, “it has become painfully apparent this project will not be successful.” It points to nearly $700,000 in improperly documented spending and lists expenses on travel and a film festival, as well as alcohol, an office remodel and stereo equipment sent to a home address. There was even a tub of bikini wax.

Politics in this country are in a sad state. It’s not always clear what individuals can do to make things better, but one first step is to stand up and speak out against this kind of trash. Lorenz’ claim about Giessel is extraordinary, and extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. Lorenz, Downing, and Porcaro provided no evidence at all. This not only shows a lack of respect for Giessel, but contempt for their readers and listeners, who they clearly believe to be too dimwitted to see through this. Porcaro and Downing have a clear agenda against Giessel. It should surprise no one that Downing published an article titled “Explosive: Affidavit claims Sen. Giessel said military men rape 3rd-world women.” Downing has no regard for the truth. She only concerns herself with how she can advance her own interests.

Regardless of your views about Giessel, we all owe it to ourselves to call out and reject these kinds of 11th-hour election hatchet jobs. Lorenz clearly released her affidavit at this precise moment in order to influence the election, and Porcaro and Downing obviously promoted it in order to advance their own political goals. Alaskans – and all of us – deserve better.

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Cindy Lelake
3 years ago

Good job, Jeff.

3 years ago

So, if it was a televised event, can someone produce a copy of that broadcast to substantiate the claims of the Lorenz affidavit?

Lynn Willis
3 years ago

Thanks for this report. Any claim that racist (and frankly that stupid) can be (and should be) dismissed out of hand. I would first ask what exactly is a “3rd world woman”? Is she a woman in a shit-hole country or can she bring her “3rd world woman” status to say the US Congress? That is racist on the face of it. If Mike Porcaro in any way promulgated this message over the air that should cost him his position on the radio at least until after the election. I just ordered my copy of “It was all a Lie” by… Read more »

3 years ago

The crazy thing is that most of these people (such as Downing) claim to be devout Christians. You would think they’d be very concerned about spending an eternity in hell for the bullshit they peddle. In reality they are just horrible people that don’t give a shit about anyone but themselves.

Laine Welch
3 years ago

Porcaro and Downing follow the Trumpian model of “journalism” of throwing out sensational lies and seeing if they get any traction and truth be damned.

I have seldom agreed with Giessel’s politics but she/nobody deserves made up smears to score political points. And the slam against Alaska troops also is appalling. I hope more people/media will expose this hit job.

To Downing and Porcaro: Whatever happened to ‘thou shalt not lie’ ? Your “Christian” hypocrisy is mind-boggling and you shame the profession.

Ostrich Alaska
3 years ago
Reply to  Laine Welch

There’s a better one: thou shalt not bear false witness.

Bob Weinstein
3 years ago

Have you no sense of decency, Downing/Porcaro? At long last, have you left no sense of decency?

3 years ago

For most, telling the truth is a basic instinct; only polite lying is acceptable. For example: Really? I can’t believe you’re that old. Everyone does it. Then we have the normal liar, often accused of being a bullshitter. 98% are men. This person will tell a lie if it can advance his agenda (money, power or sex). Doesn’t want to get caught lying about something which could harm his advancement. Next is regular liar, who lies easily in all situations. No shame. An the the final group is the one unusual. Few people can even of joking this elite club.… Read more »

Gary Snyder
3 years ago
Reply to  Seleric

I don’t disagree with what you say about Trump but there is more to lying than what you imply. Research shows men lie more about themselves, and women lie more about others. Teens lie differently than adults, and so on.

Bradley Fluetsch
3 years ago

Giessel is a thug. It is not about her politics or the political positions she pushes. It is her, her methods, her tactics, her unprofessional manors, it is HER! She jeopardizes Republicans control of the Senate because she is a nasty, win at all cost personality that I am surprised the Senators have tolerated her this long…. Frankly, I am surprised the Governor has not come out and campaigned against her for the sake and future of Alaska Republicans.

3 years ago

Sit down, Brad. You’re going to hurt yourself if you let yourself get all worked up again.

joe r macinko
3 years ago

Hope this makes it to the ADN.

Rat Pack
8 months ago

Why do call into Porcaro’s show on a weekly basis ? It sounds like you and Suzy QAnon are competing for time or something