Tag Archives: Alaska Permanent Fund

Palin Returns to a Changed Alaska

Homecoming Gov. Sarah Palin of Alaska, her office adorned with banners and balloons, went to work in Anchorage Nov. 7 for the first time since joining the GOP presidential ticket.

Homecoming Gov. Sarah Palin of Alaska, her office adorned with banners and balloons, went to work in Anchorage Nov. 7 for the first time since joining the GOP presidential ticket.

Alaska has changed while Governor Sarah Palin was gone on the presidential campaign trail over the past two months.  The state’s oil driven economy has been hurt by the global financial meltdown and many Alaskans have gotten to know another, darker side of their governor, in stark contrast to the “maverick” hockey mom turned politican who took on the “good old boys” and big oil companies.  The Christian Science Monitor presents an in-depth look at the new political landscape Gov. Palin now faces in Alaska.

When she left Alaska in August to run as the Republican vice presidential candidate, Sarah Palin was a much-loved governor with approval ratings near 90 percent; a record for pursuing centrist, bipartisan policies; and a reputation as a corruption-fighter.

Her home state was awash in money, thanks to record oil prices, and residents were set to get big checks in the form of dividends from the Alaska Permanent Fund and a state tax rebate. The economic future seemed secure, with Governor Palin advancing the case for a big, new, natural-gas pipeline.

What a difference a couple of months make.

Upon her return to Alaska Nov. 5, Palin’s nonpartisan reputation is in shreds, a side effect of her role as chief attacker of Democratic rival Barack Obama. Damaged, too, is her image as ethics reformer, with questions lingering over an abuse-of-power scandal involving a feud against her sister’s ex-husband, alleged circumvention of public-records laws, concerns about state payments for her children’s travel and nights spent in her own home, and even how she acquired the haute-couture wardrobe she sported on the campaign trail.

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What’s Ahead For Gov. Palin? Seven Challenges

Gov. Sarah Palin, back from the campaign trail, faces a changed landscape in Alaska.

Gov. Sarah Palin, back from the campaign trail, faces a changed landscape in Alaska.

It appears that Alaska Governor Sarah Palin will probably be back on the national scene in two years campaigning as the Republican candidate in the 2012 presidential election.  We here at the Sarah Palin Truth Squad have decided to continue posting information about Governor Palin in anticipation of that race.  Today the Anchorage Daily News published the following article by Tom Kizzia on the political future of Gov. Palin.

For two months she basked — and sizzled — in the world’s hottest celebrity spotlight. Now Sarah Palin has come home to begin the last two years of her term as governor of Alaska.

Everything has changed: Palin’s personal horizon, her relations with the state’s other elected officials, the public’s sense of who she is.

Palin returned to her office Friday amid a brutal crossfire between detractors and defenders in the McCain camp. At the same time, however, a new national poll said 64 percent of Republicans consider her their top choice to run for president in 2012.

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Palin Appointed Friends and Donors to Key Posts in Alaska, Records Show

In today’s Los Angeles Times it was reported that 100-plus jobs went to Alaska Governor Sarah Palin’s campaign donors or their relatives, sometimes without apparent regard to qualifications. Several donors got state-subsidized loans for business ventures of dubious public value.

Reporting from Anchorage — Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, plucked from relative obscurity in part for her reform credentials, has been eager to tout them in her vice presidential campaign.

“I took on the old politics as usual in Juneau when I stood up to the special interests and the lobbyists and the big oil companies and the good old boys,” Palin told the Republican National Convention in her acceptance speech. She said that as a new governor she “shook things up, and in short order we put the government of our state back on the side of the people.”

By midway through her first term, she had signed an ethics reform bill, increased oil profit taxes and tweaked Big Oil again by awarding a gas pipeline contract to a Canadian company.

In some other respects, a Los Angeles Times examination of state records shows, her approach to government was business as usual. Take, for example, the tradition of patronage. Some of Palin’s most controversial appointments involved donors, records show.

Among The Times’ findings:

* More than 100 appointments to state posts — nearly 1 in 4 — went to campaign contributors or their relatives, sometimes without apparent regard to qualifications.

* Palin filled 16 state offices with appointees from families that donated $2,000 to $5,600 and were among her top political patrons.

* Several of Palin’s leading campaign donors received state-subsidized industrial development loans of up to $3.6 million for business ventures of questionable public value.

* Palin picked a donor to replace the public safety commissioner she fired. But the new top cop had to resign days later under an ethics cloud. And Palin drew a formal ethics complaint still pending against her and several aides for allegedly helping another donor and fundraiser land a state job.

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Record Refutes Palin’s Sudan Claim – Palin Administration Against Sudan Divestment Before It Was For It, Documents Show

One of the CLAIMS at the vice presidential debate by Alaska Governor Sarah Palin was that SHE FAVORED divestment of Alaska state assets from the brutal Sudanese government and the genocide in Darfur.  ABC News journalist Justin Rood reports on October 3, 2008 that this statement by Gov. Palin is completely at odds with the true reality of the Palin administration’s actions when faced with a divestment resolution by Alaska lawmakers.

Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin fought to protest atrocities in Sudan by dropping assets tied to the country’s brutal regime from the state’s multi-billion-dollar investment fund, she claimed during Thursday’s vice presidential debate.

Not quite, according to a review of the public record – and according to the recollections of a legislator and others who pushed a measure to divest Alaskan holdings in Sudan-linked investments.

The [Palin] administration killed our bill,” said Alaska state representative Les Gara, D-Anchorage. Gara and state Rep. Bob Lynn, R-Anchorage, co-sponsored a resolution early this year to force the Alaska Permanent Fund – a $40 billion investment fund, a portion of whose dividends are distributed annually to state residents – to divest millions of dollars in holdings tied to the Sudanese government.

In Thursday’s debate, Palin said she had advocated the state divest from Sudan. “When I and others in the legislature found out that we had some millions of dollars [of Permanent Fund investments] in Sudan, we called for divestment through legislation of those dollars,” Palin said.

But a search of news clips and transcripts from the first three months of this year did not turn up an instance in which Palin mentioned the Sudanese crisis or concerns about Alaska’s investments tied to the ruling regime. Moreover, Palin’s administration openly opposed the bill, and stated its opposition in a public hearing on the measure.

The legislation is well-intended, and the desire to make a difference is noble, but mixing moral and political agendas at the expense of our citizens’ financial security is not a good combination,” testified Brian Andrews, Palin’s deputy revenue commissioner, before a hearing on the Gara-Lynn Sudan divestment bill in February. Minutes from the meeting are posted online by the legislature.

Gara says the lack of support from Palin’s administration helped kill the measure.

“I walked out of that hearing livid,” Gara recalled of the February meeting. Because of the Palin administration’s opposition to the bill, “We could not get a vote in that committee,” he explained. At no point did Palin come out in support of the effort, Gara said.

The bill’s Republican co-sponsor remembers things differently. “I know she was very strongly behind this,” said Rep. Lynn. Asked why, if Palin supported the bill, one of her administration’s officials would speak against it, Lynn demurred. “We don’t all work in lockstep here,” he said. “People have different opinions,” he added.

Lynn said he and Palin agreed to re-introduce the bill next January, and push to pass it then. He declined to consider whether stronger support from Palin would have helped the bill survive this winter. “I’m not going to do this what if, what if, what if,” he said. “These are hypotheticals.”

Gara said that after it was clear the bill had stalled, he and others pressed the administration directly on Sudan divestment.

“We were outraged,” Gara recounted. “We went to the Commissioner of Revenue and said, ‘What the hell are you guys doing? This is genocide. We’re going to keep pushing this until we divest.”

Two months later, at the end of the legislative session, the administration softened its position. Appearing before a Senate committee which was considering a companion measure to Gara’s bill, Palin’s Revenue commissioner, Patrick Galvin, stated the administration supported such a measure, though it hoped to amend the bill to allow for investments held indirectly, for example in index funds.

“We have a moral responsibility to condemn the genocide in Darfur,” Palin told a reporter in April, through a spokesperson. “I commend the actions of the Senate State Affairs Committee and I hope the entire legislature gets a chance to weigh in on this matter.”

At the last minute they showed up” and supported the divestment effort, Gara said. But by then the legislative session was almost over, and there wasn’t enough time to get it passed.

The Alaska Permanent Fund currently holds $22 million in Sudan-linked investments, according to the non-profit Sudan Divestment Task Force. Divestment advocates say the fund does not need an act of the state legislature to divest itself of those holdings.

The McCain-Palin campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., has been a strong supporter of Sudan divestment efforts, and has urged Americans to liquidate their holdings in companies who do business there. He was criticized for that position when it was revealed in May his wife Cindy held $2 million in investment funds owning shares of Sudan-linked companies. She sold those holdings following a reporter’s inquiries.

Record Refutes Palin’s Sudan Claim – Palin Administration Against Sudan Divestment Before It Was For It, Documents Show