On August 31, an email went out from U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski’s (R – Alaska) campaign to hundreds of Murkowski supporters and volunteers. The Landmine recently obtained the email.
The email, sent from Angelina Burney, solicited help in opposing the repeal of Ballot Measure 2 – a ballot initiative passed in 2020 that changed Alaska’s voting system to a top-four open primary and ranked choice for the general election.
Burney, who has worked in an official capacity as Murkowski’s administrative services director since 2016, also served as statewide outreach director for her campaign.
In the email, Burney said that Kevin Sweeney is working with Alaskans for Better Elections – the group who promoted Ballot Measure 2 in 2020 and continued to support it since – and is looking for Alaskans who want to help oppose an initiative aimed at repealing Ballot Measure 2.
Sweeney is not currently with the Murkowski campaign, but he served as campaign chair for Murkowski’s re-election campaign in 2022. He has also served in various official and campaign roles for Murkowski for years.
Here is the email:
Two weeks later, Burney sent an email to the executive director of the Alaska Public Offices Commission (APOC). In that email, Burney said that the August 31 email was not authorized by the campaign and was reporting it “out of an abundance of caution” because Alaskans for Better Elections is a group registered with APOC.
Another group, Alaskans for Honest Elections, is seeking to repeal Ballot Measure 2, but they have yet to turn in the required signatures to get the repeal initiative on next year’s ballot.
Juli Lucky, the executive director for Alaskans for Better Elections, said she had not seen the email and that Sweeney does not have a contract with Alaskan for Better Elections.
Sweeney, however, told the Landmine he has a contract with a group called Article IV, a Virginia based group that is listed as one of Alaskans for Betters Elections top donors. According to ProPublica, Article IV was formed in 2021 and has taken in over $6 million.
Robert Dillion, a political consultant who worked for Murkowski while she was chair of the U.S. Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, is listed as the campaign director for Article IV, according to his LinkedIn.
Sweeney said he was looking for young Alaskans to get involved with the campaign to oppose the repeal of Ballot Measure 2, and asked Burney to send out an email asking for volunteers.
Burney did not respond to a request for comment.
Stacey Stone, the attorney for the Murkowski campaign, provided the following comment:
Senator Murkowski and her campaign are not involved in state election reform efforts in any way. In addition, she requires her team to strictly adhere to election regulations, which is why this was self-disclosed to APOC months ago. This communication was unauthorized and not sanctioned by Lisa Murkowski for US Senate.
Although the email was a mistake and not authorized by the campaign, it was an unforced error as Murkowski has long been accused by her opponents of secretly supporting Ballot Measure 2 to help her re-election in 2022.
Murkowski was the target of a Project Veritas investigation last year that tried to tie her current and former staff to supporting the passage of Ballot Measure 2. It was widely promoted by conservative media to promote Murkowski’s far-right Republican challenger Kelly Tshibaka.
Murkowski went on to easily defeat Tshibaka after votes were retabulated using ranked choice voting. Murkowski is not up for re-election again until 2028.