Advertisement. For information about purchasing ads, please click here.

We Build Alaska

Memo from legislative lawyers suggests Gov. Dunleavy’s paid ads violate Ethics Act

A memo obtained by the Alaska Landmine, from the Legislature’s Division of Legal and Research Services to Representative Zack Fields (D – Anchorage), suggests that the paid ads that Governor Michael J. Dunleavy (R – Alaska) is running against legislators violate the Executive Branch Ethics Act.

The memo concludes with:

The full memo can be seen here:

Ethics Act Memo

The Anchorage Daily News recently ran an article titled, “Gov. Mike Dunleavy targets political opponents with state-funded advertising campaign.” In the article it says:

The campaign is legal and appears to be effective in driving public testimony and comment, but lawmakers say it is creating distrust between Alaska’s legislative and executive branches and making it more difficult to find a compromise that ends the ongoing special legislative session.

However, they do not cite anything suggesting the paid ad campaign is legal. The Landmine published an article on May 12, “Legislators get voice mails calling them the N-word and other vulgar slurs” that talks about three Facebook pages the Governor’s office is running, as well as text messages and other methods used to contact Alaskans about legislators.

Dunleavy has been using paid ads on Facebook to target individual legislators that include Senate President Cathy Giessel (R – Anchorage) and Senator Natasha von Imhof (R – Anchorage), who is a Co-Chair of the Senate Finance Committee.

According to the memo, someone would have to file an ethics complaint for the matter to be officially determined. According to Alaska Statute 39.52.310, the personnel board would appoint an outside special counsel to investigate the complaint. We could have very own special counsel! That would really bring it all together.

According to longtime legislators and staffers, this kind of targeted ad campaign by a governor, against legislators, using State funds is unprecedented. According to the ADN article:

“Have you ever seen anything like it, Bryce?” asked Senate President Cathy Giessel, R-Anchorage, in a Friday morning meeting.

“No, not anything like this at all,” replied House Speaker Bryce Edgmon, I-Dillingham. “(As) somebody who worked in the Capitol throughout the ’90s, and I’ve been a legislator for well over a decade — I’ve never seen an administration employ tactics like this, and especially, apparently using state funding to do it.”

A recent press release from Dunleavy criticized legislative leaders:

Multiple sources have confirmed that negotiations between the Governor and Legislature have broken down and the relationship between the two branches is worsening. The Senate is scheduled to concur on the Conference Committee’s version of the crime bill on Tuesday. The budget is more or less agreed upon by the House and Senate, yet they have not yet passed the Conference Committee’s version. This leaves the PFD, which still appears to be unresolved in the Senate.

It will be interesting to see if the Governor is willing to compromise at all with the Legislature over the PFD. Publicly attacking the Senate President and the Legislature is probably not a winning strategy. In fact, the House and Senate seem to be coming closer together over their issues with Dunleavy.

Notify of

Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
5 years ago

I don’t really care any longer. I’ll continue to vote, of course, and contribute to candidates but I’m done really caring because we’ve reached the point where everything political is a cartoon wherein goofy grotesque characters that pretend to be humans act out silly stuff. I’m mean, the President of the US spending more time mashing the english language into something that can only be funny in a cartoon? Our state legislature and executive reprising the Keystone Kops, or is it Spanky and Our Gang? My intestines just can’t take it anymore.

5 years ago

Definitely seems like a silly strategy to alienate the legislature so they all come together against you. Whoever is making these choices should probably step back for a bit.

Ed Martin Jr
5 years ago

In fact, the House and Senate seem to be coming closer together over their issues with Dunleavy. Your statement Jeff is BS

5 years ago

Would someone PLEASE file an ethics complaint.

Jim Munnery
5 years ago

Babbacook & Dimleafy

db cooper
5 years ago

Club45 here we come

Tina Bredehoft
5 years ago

Dunleavey needs to be recalled. Send him back to Texas and his brother who paid dearly to get him elected

Gael Moto
5 years ago

Calling nasty names is never a good idea. I hate that kind of thing. But “representatives” like Giessel and I’mhoff are frustrating dems like myself by letting Dunleavy be the one who listens to the people. Dems used to be the ones who stood up for blue collar, working folks. Speaking specifically of the pfd issue, letting Dunleavy champion citizens rights to the statutory pfd is a bad political move in and of itself.

Joe Geldhof
5 years ago
Reply to  Gael Moto

There are obviously Democrats who support the PFD, including Bill Wielechowski and Chris Tuck. The issue about the PFD and using funds generated from PF earnings is a tough financial and political problem. It’s worth asking who among our Alaskan elected officials is acting like an adult trying to solve this problem.

Lynn Willis
5 years ago

This influence of “purchased speech” is only getting worse now. What makes this situation so egregious in that we the people are actually paying for this one sided messaging/propaganda to ourselves. Of course like “Br’er Rabbit” wanting the Fox to throw him in the briar patch , Dunleavy would love to see a complaint under the State Executive Branch Ethics Act which is as “toothless” a document as there ever was. To be found in violation of the Executive Ethics Act the accused must directly and personally benefit from his actions. As long as Dunleavy/Babcock can show any political benefit… Read more »

db cooper
5 years ago
Reply to  Lynn Willis

A $3,000 dividend means we would be sending about $450
million to the US government in the form of federal income
taxes. So dumb-those are our benjamins