Governor’s roadshow visit paid by AFP, Koch brothers
On Monday, Governor Mike Dunleavy’s press secretary Matt Shuckerow announced a statewide roadshow to promote the governor’s proposed budget that would see significant cuts to state services. The governor announced five locations: Anchorage, Mat-Su, Kenai, Nome and Fairbanks. The press release said that “it is a series of community focused discussions and meetings to outline a permanent fiscal plan for Alaska, including the vision behind his FY2020 budget proposal and a package of constitutional amendments meant to address the state’s long-term fiscal stability.”
The press release said that Governor Dunleavy and members of his team will embark upon a journey across the state to provide Alaskans the opportunity to hear directly the Governor’s proposal for a permanent fiscal plan. Joining Governor Dunleavy will be Alaska Attorney General Kevin Clarkson, Commissioner of Revenue Bruce Tangeman, OMB Director Donna Arduin, and Deputy Chief of Staff Jeremy Price.
But Dunleavy didn’t disclose that the Nome event and four others are hosted by the political group Americans for Prosperity.
On Tuesday, a press release by the Senate Democrats alerted the press that the events billed as the governor’s roadshow are private and paid for by Americans for Prosperity - Alaska, which is founded and funded by the multi-billionaire Koch Brothers from Kansas. The organization announced on their website that the events are “dedicated to discussing Americans for Prosperity’s issues.” The press release included a link of a disclaimer that requires people to register prior to the event and to comply with the AFP conditions. Among those conditions are a ban on wearing candidate stickers, pins, T-shirts or other materials, a restriction against using recording devices of any kind during the events without prior permission and a ban on bags bigger than a purse. The attendees in turn agree “by attending this Americans for Prosperity event, you irrevocably consent and authorize AFP and its affiliates, employees […] to record, film, photograph, broadcast or otherwise capture during the event your likeness, image, voice or any other indicia of identity in any media whatsoever and to distribute, use, broadcast or disseminate into perpetuity such media for any purpose whatsoever with out any further approval form or any other compensation of any kind to you.”
“If you or your guests are unwilling or unable to comply with the aforementioned terms and conditions, you may be denied admission to or be asked to leave the event,” the conditions read.
The conditions make clear that the governor’s event is “a private, policy focused event dedicated to discussing Americans for Prosperity’s issues.” If people do not comply with their rules, the conditions say, you will be denied admission or forced “to leave the event.”
The townhall event scheduled for Old St. Joe’s on March 27 at 4 p.m. is advertised at the Americans for Prosperity website https://americansforprosperity.ivolunteers.com/, but the links to the events titled “AFP presents: Fortifying Alaska’s Future (Nome)” were taken down and instead a message appeared “Oops, now this is awkward” and site visitors were redirected to the AFP action center site.
Senator Donny Olson encouraged Nomeites to attend the event and voice their opinions on the governor’s proposed budget cuts that include the elimination all funding for public broadcasting, pre-K grants and programs, funding for Online with Libraries (OWL), school debt reimbursement funding, the PFD hold harmless provision that keeps your benefits from being reduced when you get your PFD, funding for Tribal Assistance program, Close the Nome Youth Facility, reduce funding for the Public Defender’s office, reduce VPSO funding, severely reduce K-12 school funding, eliminate Senior Benefits, severely increase fees, more than double, for the Pioneer Homes, severely reduce Adult Public Assistance and severely reduce Medicaid funding.
The House Finance Committee scheduled hearings on the budget independently from the Governor’s roadshow. The meetings are in Juneau, Ketchikan, Bethel, Wasilla, Anchorage, Sitka and Fairbanks and can be watched or heard live.
To watch a meeting live go to: www.akleg.gov then click on the “Live Now” tab, then click on the meeting to watch or listen to.
To watch a meeting after its over: http://www.akleg.gov/basis/Committee/Details/31?code=HMSC#tab2_7
At any time the public may submit their input by emailing HouseFinance@akleg.gov.
The public can also submit verbal testimony on the operating budget on the evening of March 25 – the actual times will be announced on Thursday by 4 p.m. and posted on http://www.akleg.gov/basis/Committee/Details/31?code=HFIN#tab2_7