Dermot Cole

Dermot Cole





Gov. Mike Dunleavy, a candidate for reelection, continues to ignore the state law that prohibits the use of “state funds, facilities, equipment, services or another government asset or resource for partisan political purposes.”

The Legislature hasn’t done a thing about it and Alaska news organizations have failed to report on Dunleavy’s continual use of state funds and resources to promote his campaign.  A year ago, he settled a complaint about violating the ethics act with a $2,800 settlement that whitewashed his misuse of state resources.

“I never intended for state resources to support a partisan political purpose,” Dunleavy said in a statement a year ago, adding that his staff would undergo “the appropriate ethics training.”

There are plenty of signs he is still using state resources for inappropriate partisan political purposes.

In July, Dunleavy hired back his 2018 campaign manager, Brett Huber, and created a brand-new $140,000-a-year job titled “Governor’s Senior Policy Advisor for Statehood Defense,” a way of bulking up the bureaucracy to promote the anti-fed theme of his campaign. 

Dunleavy will be filing feel-good lawsuits against the federal government for the course of his campaign, with no regard for what else the state might be doing with its money, how long the court proceedings might last and what the chances of success might be. The Legislature gave him $4 million for the suit-happy exercise called the “statehood defense initiative.”

In August, Dunleavy spent  $250,000 for a state-funded campaign pushing his ideas about the Permanent Fund to promote the other big theme of his campaign—bigger dividends.

In September, he hired two new state PR people to sing his praises. He went to Soldotna to hold a fundraiser one day and held a cabinet meeting there the next. He had nearly every member of his cabinet agree to be a co-host for an Anchorage fundraiser. 

He began a new podcast in August and a second new podcast Oct. 4 about the achievements of the Dunleavy administration.

On Monday, he started another state-funded campaign podcast that features a pretend interview with PR yes-man Dave Stieren, fellow state employee.

The first episode was a Biden whine-a-thon by both men, mixed with attacks on Dunleavy’s opponents and a standard spiel about federal overreach. They didn’t mention the federal overreach of $87 million to provide 500 temporary health care workers who are helping beseiged hospitals.

The evidence that using state resources this way is a “partisan political purpose” and therefore prohibited by state law?

The state-funded podcast consists of the same material, the same arguments and the same complaints that Dunleavy includes in the material distributed by his campaign, seeking money from donors. 

Dunleavy made the same attack on Biden Monday in an emailed partisan pitch for campaign funds, repeating the language about fighting back. Similar material is posted on his campaign website.

“He is doing all he can to shut down Alaska's responsible energy production while begging Saudi Arabia and Russia to produce more. It’s bad for our state and a disaster for our nation. This is exactly why I fight the Biden administration every single day,” campaign Dunleavy said about Biden Monday.

“We’ve got to do all we can to fight back on this,” state-funded Dunleavy said Monday.

Biden and Congress are trying to “transform this country into something that many of us don’t even recognize,” using “social engineering,” said state-funded Dunleavy.

Dunleavy is not using the powers of his office. He’s misusing them.

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