Alaska’s Fair Report Showing Hundreds of Alaskan Donors; Opposition Group Funded Overwhelmingly by Big Oil
Posted & Edited By MARY KAUFFMAN
July 18, 2020
“Momentum is building and every day more Alaskans join our cause,” said fundraising and outreach director Alice Myers. “From Pedro Bay to Petersburg, from Kotzebue to Kasilof, Alaskans from all walks of life are rallying to get a fair share for our resources.”
The report shows support for Alaska’s Fair Share is coming primarily from individual Alaskans, with their median contribution being $100. In contrast, a recent analysis by the Houston Business Journal showed over 96% of the funding for the main opposition group came from four international oil producers. While the primary opposition group, ONEAlaska, has not filed their quarterly report, regular 10 day reports show they have received only two contributions from individual Alaskans. While ONEAlaska claims several Alaskans as co-chairs, and has featured Alaskan business owners in their advertising, none of them have contributed financially to their campaign.
“It’s telling that none of the people who are receiving free advertising for their businesses or allowed the opposition to use their names will put their money where their mouths are,” said campaign manager David Dunsmore. “Our opponents are fighting to preserve tax breaks for some of the wealthiest corporations on the planet, while Alaskans are fighting to save our state.”
Ballot Measure 1 would increase Alaska’s share of production revenue from Alaska’s three largest and most profitable oil fields and make production tax filings public records. It will be voted on in the November 3, because more than 39,000 Alaskans petitioned to place it on the ballot.
Also, on Thursday, Superior Court Judge Thomas A. Matthews dismissed a lawsuit challenging the Ballot Measure No. 1, Alaska’s Fair Share Act. The lawsuit sought to invalidate signatures collected by professional signature gatherers and take away Alaskans’ right to vote on the initiative in November. Matthews’ ruling granted Vote Yes for Alaska’s Fair Share’s motion to dismiss the case and rejected the plaintiffs’ motion for summary judgement.
Matthews ruled that invalidating the initiative would violate the First Amendment rights of the voters who signed the petition and the initiative sponsors. “The voters will have the final say at the ballot box if the initiative is put to them for a vote,” Matthews ruled. “Plaintiffs have the right to comment on the merits of the petition, just as the backers of Fair Share may comment on their position. By contrast, disregard of thousands of otherwise valid signatures operates like a sledgehammer on a mosquito.”
“Clearly our opposition decided they can’t win at the polls so they tried to get the courts to strip Alaskans of their right to vote for Alaska’s Fair Share,” said initiative sponsor Robin Brena, an oil and gas attorney from Anchorage. “We’re glad the judge rejected this attempt to disenfranchise the 39,000 Alaskans who petitioned to place Alaska’s Fair Share on the ballot.”
While Alaska-based business groups are listed as the plaintiffs in the case, reports filed with the Alaska Public Offices Commission show that the suit was bankrolled by ONEAlaska, a group formed to oppose the initiative. A recent analysis by the Houston Business Journal showed that over 96% of their funding comes from four international oil producers and oil producers have spent millions of dollars to oppose a tax increase on production in Alaska.
“This lawsuit was clearly meant to distract us from the campaign,” Alaska’s Fair Share campaign manager David Dunsmore said, “but they failed just like they failed to strip Alaskans of their right to vote. More and more Alaskans are joining us every day. We now have over 400 donors from 45 Alaskan communities and dedicated volunteers working across the state.”
While Alaska’s Fair Share has experienced a surge of grassroots support, their opponents are struggling to turn their $9.9 million in funding from international producers into actual support in Alaska. According to ONEAlaska’s latest financial disclosure, only three Alaskan individuals have contributed to its campaign.
Ballot Measure 1 would increase Alaska’s share of production revenue from Alaska’s three largest and most profitable oil fields and make production tax filings public records. It will be voted on in the November 3 general election.
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