Alaskans Stand Together
eNews | Alaskans Standing Together | Issue #4 | October 21, 2010

AFN says it's Lisa for Alaska

Lisa Murkowski

A resolution endorsing Lisa Murkowski's bid for U.S. Senate sailed through the Alaska Federation of Natives (AFN) convention in Fairbanks this afternoon.

The resolution noted Senator Murkowski's "long-standing commitment" to the Alaska Native Community and her "thoughtful approach to many issues of importance ... including support for education, health, transportation and other programs critical to the well-being of Alaska's Native Communities."

Speaking to her seniority, the resolution recognized Murkowski's "role as Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, and as a member of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions."

AFN's resolution to endorse Senator Murkowski's write-in candidacy, AFN Resolution 10-01, was the first resolution considered at this year's convention. The text includes a detailed accounting of the sitting senator's many accomplishments, and the personal and political attributes that differentiate her from her opponents in this race.

"AFN does not take endorsements lightly," said Albert Kookesh, co-chair of AFN's Board of Directors when the board voted to endorse Alaska's senior sentator. "Today's unanimous vote by our board is a testament to the faith in Senator Murkowski that so many of us in Alaska share. She is the right person to stand up for our Native communities, and the right person to stand up for all Alaska."

The Alaska Federation of Natives was formed in October 1966, when more than 400 Alaska Natives representing 17 Native organizations gathered for a three-day conference to address Alaska Native aboriginal land rights. It is now the largest statewide Native organization in Alaska. Its membership includes 178 villages (both federally-recognized tribes and village corporations), 12 regional Native corporations and 12 regional nonprofit and tribal consortiums that contract and run federal and state programs. AFN is governed by a 37-member Board, which is elected by its membership at the annual convention held each October.

The mission of AFN is to enhance and promote the cultural, economic and political voice of the entire Alaska Native community.

Alaskans Standing Together responds to desperate smear attempt by Miller campaign

Responding to a complaint filed with the Federal Elections Commission by Joe Miller, the group Alaskans Standing Together announced yesterday it is more confident than ever it has followed the appropriate laws and regulations. The recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling - Citizens United v. Federal Elections Commission - held that political spending by corporations or unions to support or denounce individual candidates in elections is a form of protected speech under the First Amendment.

"Joe Miller likes to wrap himself in the U.S. Constitution while trampling on it at the same time," said Will Anderson, Chairman of Alaskans Standing Together. "First his bodyguards handcuff a reporter for asking questions at a public event. Now he is trying to handcuff the Alaska Native community from having a voice in this campaign while he brings in hundreds of thousands of dollars from groups outside Alaska."

Will-Anderson

Miller claims in effect that Alaska Native Regional Corporations are not allowed to contribute to campaigns because they engage in federal contracting. However, the businesses engaged in federal contracting are distinct subsidiary companies and the FEC issued an advisory opinion in 1998 that found if the parent corporation has other sources of revenue then political contributions are allowed. The advisory opinion coupled with the recent Supreme Court ruling give Alaskans Standing Together the solid legal foundation to have a voice in this campaign.

In addition to Miller's flawed legal analysis, the FEC complaint is a desperate move to salvage an imploding campaign. The filing comes late in the campaign when the FEC will have little time to consider its validity even through the Supreme Court and the FEC have previously ruled on the issue. Alaskans Standing Together made it clear from the outset who we are and disclosed our contributors, unlike many of the Outside groups supporting Joe Miller. Alaskans Standing Together will continue to educate Alaskans on the extreme behavior of Joe Miller. In this campaign, the best choice to represent all Alaskans in the U.S. Senate is Lisa Murkowski. Write it in and don't forget to fill in the oval.

Click herefor more information on Citizens United v. Federal Elections Commission.

See what the FEC has posted on its website regarding the Supreme Court ruling. It is still in the process of updating its regulations.

Alaska Republicans ask Miller to start talking

by Joshua Saul, Alaska Dispatch

Current and former members of the Alaska Republican Party State Central Committee sent an open letter (PDF) to Senate candidate Joe Miller Wednesday morning, asking him to "honestly and directly answer all questions asked him by the public and the press."

The letter is signed by 40 Republicans, including Sitka assemblyman Larry Crews, state Rep. Jay Ramras, former state House Republican Majority Leader and gubernatorial candidate Ralph Samuels, and Dick Coose, Alaska Republican Party chairman of District 1 in Ketchikan.

In an Oct. 11 press conference, Joe Miller said he would not answer any more questions about personal issues. Miller's announcement was in response to reports that he had used borough equipment in the unsuccessful 2008 attempt to oust the state Republican Party Chairman. Miller later confirmed those reports in a CNN interview. On Oct. 17, when the editor of Alaska Dispatch attempted to ask Miller questions about that 2008 event, a private security detail hired by Miller handcuffed and detained him.

Miller is running against Democrat Scott McAdams and write-in candidate U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski. The list of people that signed the open letter to Miller includes at least some public Murkowski supporters.

The letter also brings up the conflict the signers see between Miller's constant citing of the Constitution and his refusal to answer questions about his past:

This is not unfair scrutiny. It is what the Founding Fathers foresaw voters considering when they wrote the U.S. Constitution. It is at best inconsistent and at worst hypocritical to conceal facts about one's past while at the same time basing one's campaign on a claim to respect the U.S. Constitution as the most important source of political legitimacy in the land.

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10 reasons NOT to vote for Joe Miller

10. When asked about his background, Joe said "you can ask me about it - I won't answer." What's Joe trying to hide?

(#9 coming soon)

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10 problems with Scott McAdams

10. His colleagues on the Sitka assembly say he lacks experience.

"Being mayor of Sitka doesn't give him the experience to become a U.S. Senator."

–Larry Crews, Sitka Assemblyman

"Based on how he handled himself as mayor, I don't think he could handle the pressure as a U.S. Senator."

–Cheryl Westover, newly-elected mayor and former Sitka Assemblywoman.

(#9 coming soon)

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"I’m voting for Lisa"

"This endorsement is in recognition of Senator Murkowski's record and her effectiveness in assisting Alaska's fishing families and businesses. Her stature in the Senate enables her to work successfully on our behalf covering diverse issues that affect thousands of our members. This endorsement is a testament to Senator Murkowski's diligence and tireless work on behalf of all Alaskans."

– Arni Thomson, President, United Fishermen of Alaska

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Tea Party Express spent more than $100K on Alaska cruises

Anchorage Daily News

We already knew the Tea Party Express conducted politics from a cruise liner in support of GOP Senate candidate Joe Miller during the primary election campaign. Now we know the extent to which the group did it. The group's federal campaign finance report, reported on by Politico, shows it spent $103,000 on four consecutive cruises on the Holland America Amsterdam.

For seven weeks this summer, staff members of the political action committee coordinated their efforts on behalf of Miller from staterooms aboard Holland America's M.S. Amsterdam, a cruise ship that plied the waters from Seattle to various ports of call from Canada to Alaska. There, while other passengers were shopping or photographing glaciers, Tea Party Expressers held press conferences, rallies and meetings with Miller supporters. Between stops, they used their time at sea plotting strategy and cutting radio ads that they downloaded from a digital recorder and e-mailed to a studio for production.

The Amsterdam made nine sailings between Seattle and Anchorage this summer. Tea Party Express reps say the cruises were almost all work and were cheaper than flying from city to city in Alaska. But the group's choice had critics. From Politico:

"It seems so outlandish," said Kelly Eustis, who after being fired from the PAC late last year, set up his own PAC and has engaged in public e-mail battles with Tea Party Express's leadership. Eustis forwarded an analysis by a Nevada blogger, highlighting what he deemed to be questionable expenditures in the Tea Party Express's FEC report, including some of the cruise payments.

"Why would a committee spend all that money going on cruises when they weren't even on land most of the time? They made it seem like they were up there campaigning the whole time, when they were really up there on a Holland America cruise ship," said Eustis, contrasting the boat's lavish accommodations with the grass-roots tea party movement's populist sensibilities. Overall, the group spent more than $600,000 on the Alaska Senate primary, through the California-based GOP consulting firm that started it.

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Paid for by Alaskans Standing Together and not authorized by any candidate or candidate's committee. Contact us at info@alaskansstandingtogether.org P.O. Box 243454, Anchorage, AK 99524. 907-222-0770.