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We Build Alaska

Rep. Sara Hannan kicked the Landmine out of the Democrats pre-session fundraiser at a Juneau mansion

Today was the first day of the second session of the 33rd Alaska Legislature. Which meant last night Republicans and Democrats held their annual pre-session fundraisers. Legislators are prohibited from fundraising during the legislative session, meaning yesterday was the last day they can fundraise for the next three to four months (you can take four months to the bank).

I have been going to these for years. It’s common for members of the media to stop by to see who is attending. There are always plenty of lobbyists at both making donations.

The Republicans usually hold their fundraiser at the Hangar, but this year it was at the Baranof. It was packed with Republican legislators, members of the Alaska Republican Party in town for a meeting, members of Governor Mike Dunleavy’s (R – Alaska) cabinet. Lieutenant Governor Nancy Dahlstrom (R – Alaska) was also in attendance. Everyone had a good time.

After attending the Republican fundraiser, I headed to the Democratic one. It was held at the home of Juneau attorney Mark Choate, a Juneau mansion. It was held there last year as well. I attended last year and had a great time. There were no issues. That was not the case this year.

I walked in, took off my Xtratuf boots, and walked over to a group of young staffers and legislators. After talking to them for a few minutes, Representative Sara Hannan (D – Juneau) approached me in a very unwelcoming way and asked me if I had donated. I told her no, and said I was there to see who was attending. She the informed me that everyone must donate, and added that she even made legislative staff donate. Ignoring the coercive nature of forcing staff to donate to a political party (some of those staff don’t make a lot of money, even less for the ones who have to move to Juneau for session), Hannan seems to have an issue with the media observing lobbyists and donors cutting big checks and hobnobbing with elected officials at a Juneau mansion.

I honestly thought Hannan was joking. But then she told me, “Everyone donates. Get out.” I knew she wasn’t joking then. I put my boots back on and walked out.

But part of me thought maybe Hannan kicking me out had to do more with my shirt than me not donating. I was wearing a shirt with a large Star of David on the front. It’s no secret the left has a real antisemitism problem. Don’t forget about the time Hannan made a floor speech in September of 2021 and claimed Nazi hypothermia experiments were horrific but “produced results.” Maybe if my shirt had a Hamas or Palestinian flag on it Hannan would have been more inviting!

Hannan was pretty cool her first term. She even came on my podcast. But when she became chair of Legislative Council in her second term she transformed into something of a tyrant. She was a big part of the crazy Covid policies the Legislature adopted. And she did not take well to anyone criticizing her. Power does weird things to some people. Now that she’s in the minority, it seems she’s been relegated to kicking members of the media out of Democratic fundraisers. It’s a good thing she doesn’t have any real power.

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Fuck those guise
6 months ago

In the words of Kevin Jardell, overheard at McGivneys, “people hate on lobbyists, but they forget that whenever they need a donation, we’re there with our wallets open… And we ask for so little in return”
Presented unironically.

floridawoman
6 months ago

Was Forest in attendance? No help from others? Shame on them.

It is very unethical to ask media to donate, given a donation in the least gives the appearance of political party platform support. Ethics complaint worthy?

floridawoman
6 months ago
Reply to  floridawoman

https://www.spj.org/ethics-papers-politics.asp#:~:text=The%20SPJ%20Ethics%20Committee%20gets,t%20run%20for%20office%20yourself.

It is really basic Journalism ethics that Rep. Hannan wanted you to muddle. She should donate to the Landmine as an apology.

Just a Dude
6 months ago
Reply to  floridawoman

Landfield has no ethics, so that’s not an issue.

Eric Troyer
6 months ago

The Landmine does good journalistic work. AndI certainly won’t defend Hannan’s behavior. Not good. But I urge you, as a journalist, not to use the broad brush. (“It’s no secret the left has a real antisemitism problem.”) It’s unprofessional and unhelpful. Otherwise, thanks for your continued work. 

floridawoman
6 months ago
Reply to  Eric Troyer

Except it is true. Any claim that Israel is committing genocide is a clear anti-Semitic dog whistle. So called progressives andcLiberals are promoting such Jew hatred in this country.

Casual Observer
6 months ago
Reply to  floridawoman

Criticizing the policies of the Israeli government is not anti-Semitism. It’s abhorrent that the hate filled political rhetoric in our country has impacted the Jewish community – not cool! But, saying Americans who object to sending US military aide to entirely eradicate Gaza and murder civilians – that they are anti-Semitic…. Just no!

Just a Dude
6 months ago
Reply to  Eric Troyer

Unprofessional behavior from Landfield shouldn’t surprise you. He not a professional. He’s not even a journalist. Just a narcissistic blogger, who writes about himself, as if he matters. He rated Hannan as “cool” in her first term because she was a guest on his podcast. It’s all about him.

floridawoman
6 months ago
Reply to  Just a Dude

In this case it actually is not. It is very clearly unethical to badger a journalist to donate to a political platform. That said sure in many other examples he’s arguably a narcissist, but not this example.

Dan Svatass
5 months ago
Reply to  floridawoman

Landfield didn’t claim that Hannan “badgered” him. She merely ASKED him

He declined, she asked him to leave, he complied.

Commenters reveal their biases when they invent more convenient facts.

Herr Hannanfuhrer
6 months ago
Reply to  Eric Troyer

Jeff’s not wrong. Democrats, especially young Democrats, are far more likely to see Jews as “oppressors” and “colonists” and side with Hamas. There are many surveys from reputable pollsters that bear this out.

Dan Svatass
5 months ago

“Far more likely” than who?

Than Trump Cultists? Hardly.

I haven’t seen Biden have brunch with Kanye or Nick Fuentes.

Martin
6 months ago

Not sure you see the conflicting issues here. It’s NOT anti-Semitic to be against the state of Israel’s high toll on the civilian population of Gaza. Whether Netanyahu is going overboard or not, it’s congressional right-wing Republicans holding up funding for Israel. Personally, I’m against theocracies of any sort; most of these are Islamic states, Israel is a Jewish state, Vatican City a catholic state. All a matter of which ancient fairy tale one believes. However, I agree Rep Hannan’s behavior was, in your own term, loose, but I suspect everyone there did NOT donate; that was a spur-of-the moment… Read more »

floridawoman
6 months ago
Reply to  Martin

It is fully antisemitic to claim Israel is performing genocide. It is fine to criticize a government-Israel has a new on every few months, but it is antisemitic to say Israel does not have the right to exist nor the right to defend themselves.

Martin
6 months ago
Reply to  floridawoman

You are confusing being against the principle of escalated killing of civilians with being against judaism, i.e., antisemism. Those same people, including myself, are equally or more against the Hamas attack that resulted in this war. Furthermore, Hamas’s tactics include rape as a war tactic as well as simply having the extermination of the jews as integral to their charter doctrine. It’s a tragic situation, no matter which side you take. Despite the fact that religion is intertwined with geopolitics worldwide, especially in the Middle East, sometimes it is necessary to separate the two.

floridawoman
6 months ago
Reply to  Martin

No am not. Genocide is a very well defined activity, that Jews of all people are quite aware of. Claiming Israel is performing genocide is done simply to diminish real genocide, erase the history of the Jewish people and to smear the Jewish people. Its fine of you hates Jews, but please don’t try to hide behind gobbley gook. Poland 1942 3 million Jews
2005? 3,000 Jews. That is actual genocide.

Where the Palestinian population has risen 2% a year since 1948.

https://www.nytimes.com/2024/01/16/opinion/israel-hamas-war-genocide.html

Martin
6 months ago
Reply to  floridawoman

How wrong you are with your personal accusations. To quote Browning, “Let me count the ways.”

floridawoman
6 months ago
Reply to  Martin

How am I wrong? The same way Germany, France, the USA, etc is wrong in clearly stating Israel is not committing genocide? Oy, Martin at least we know what you are.

Martin
6 months ago
Reply to  floridawoman

Hard to reason with the unreasonable.

Michael Eastman
5 months ago
Reply to  floridawoman

Gee willikers! Just like those pesky Palestinians, in their own country, their own land, after nearly half century of violence at the hands of “settlers”, the American Indian population has risen.
Land theft, ethnic cleansing, cultural obliteration, destruction of historic landmarks and infrastructure, are little hints that genocide is an applicable term for this Israeli campaign. Toss in the fact of children and non combatants being slaughtered in their own country, their own homes, their own beds …
That is actual genocide.

Herr Hannanfuhrer
6 months ago

Some of this article is just Jeff being Jeff, but Hannan claiming that she forces her staff to make political donations is a HUGE ethics red flag. Coercing political donations is unethical for anyone to do, but doubly so when the coercion is coming from an elected official.

Just a Dude
6 months ago

Were those staff members required to attend? Or did they attend a fundraiser on their own volition, knowing it was a fundraiser? If the latter, then, yes, they are expected to donate, rather than just eating the free food as if they were at a reception. They could donate or they could leave, same choice Landfield had. Not sure that counts as coercion.

wlmleitch
6 months ago

Sara is a retired school teacher. My guess is she has a low threshold for smart-assed kids, as well as the adult forms they grew into. Like Jeff.

The Alaska Poaster
6 months ago

Well this comment section devolved quickly, and demonstrates how impactful lobbying is on a governed populace such as the US. But are we asking the right questions here? I for one would like to know why so many elected officials of one country’s government can simultaneously hold citizenship with another (foreign) country. One cannot serve two masters…or is this just more evidence of the US Government being run by a foreign elite, as has been the case with virtually all empires in history?

Tucker
5 months ago

Were there other media or journalist’s there? If so did they donate or were they “kicked out” as well?

Donald Pato
5 months ago

40 years ago the chair of legislative council was the most powerful person in Juneau. They could spend money with no questions asked.