Keithley’s questionnaire tests commitment to fiscal conservatism

Anchorage lawyer and consultant Brad Keithley, who has committed $200,000 of his own money to support fiscally conservative candidates in the upcoming races, has sent out a questionnaire to try to test the fiscally conservative commitment of those candidates. (See the questionnaire here).

Keithley, who has been pushing for decreased spending in the state, had been toying with running for governor this past winter. In the end he opted to effect change in other ways, including setting up an independent expenditure committee. When he announced the formation of the committee, he said that he would use the money to support three to five or so specific candidates. He says that the seats that he’ll target are ones that are winnable. ”We’re going to be professional and serious about this,” Keithley said. “I want to move the needle.”

Keithley has been using a 2013 report by UAA’s Institute of Social and Economic Research, to argue that the state cannot sustain current spending levels. Keithley writes:

Earlier, in November 2012 following the last election, the new Senate Majority had listed the following as the third of their “Top Three Areas of Focus”: “Develop sustainable capital and operating budgets for current and future generations.” Despite those warnings and commitments, in the last two years the state has gone backwards on this issue. Since 2012, the Legislature has passed and the Governor signed back-to-back the two largest deficit budgets in the state’s history and reduced the state’s “cash in reserves” by over a third… Although spending has been reduced by some amount from pre-2012 levels, the reductions have not kept up even with the rate at which revenues have dropped, much less been reduced sufficiently to increase savings as required in order to develop long-term sustainable budgets.

The questions fall under two general categories:

  • A candidate’s demonstrated support or failure to support a sustainable state budget.
  • A candidate’s public pledge to decline to join any caucus that requires them to vote for the caucus budget as a condition of joining.

The last category of question strikes at the heart of caucus discipline, which, as we’ve seen in D.C., could have unintended consequences. There are always costs associated with lack of discipline. Games will always be played. To use one example, if enough people sign the pledge, it’ll likely result in “sweetening the pot” for those who don’t sign.

Contact Amanda Coyne at


9 thoughts on “Keithley’s questionnaire tests commitment to fiscal conservatism

  1. Lynn Willis

    Thanks. Like I said I support any effort to balance state spending with revenues. Unfortunately, this effort appears to have had a derailment before the train leaves the station.

  2. Rob G..

    Brad Keithley appears to be attempting to be a good citizen. I don’t know the gentleman. Hopefully, he is sincere and working for the public good. I can’t help but note, however, that his questionaire and pledge may well provoke the exact opposite effect than he wants. Not sure he really understands the process.
    Who is Jeff Landfield? His comments suggest that his intellectual quotient is miserably low and reflective of his own status as a productive member of our society.
    Good luck Mr. Keithley. I hope you find the success you seek.

  3. Anonymous

    Lynn you are correct, the reference should be to the ethics committee Advisory Opinion 2012 – 03. Found here then search for pledge and it comes up.

    “II. Contributions. Although seeking or accepting campaign endorsements may be unfettered by the Act, soliciting or accepting campaign contributions in exchange for a pledge to take or refrain from taking specified action is prohibited, and whether the contributions are actually delivered or are only promised makes no difference. However, we do see a difference between a quid pro quo agreement and a candidate’s mere statement of a point of view or promise of future action.”

    “II. Contributions. A pledge to take or withhold a legislative, administrative, or political action is unlawful when made by a member of the legislature in direct exchange for either a campaign contribution or a donation to a cause favored by that member, because it violates AS 24.60.030(e)(1).”

  4. Jeff Landfield

    McQueary, get a life man. I don’t know anyone who thinks what you say matters, or even understands it.

  5. Lynn Willis

    I thank Mr. Keithley for his efforts. I appreciate his addressing the policy that requires caucus members to support the budget or else face expulsion from the caucus. Amanda you wrote about how the majority caucus is not restricted to members of a single party and how Democrat Rep. Nageak from Barrow, a member of the majority caucus in the House, was in possible trouble with his constituents for supporting the expenditure of even more highway funds for the KABATA mess. Speaker Chenault and/or the majority caucus leadership should now state if this policy is going to be enforced in the next session.
    I would have liked Mr. Keithley to have asked these legislators if they will follow their own Legislative Rules regarding hearings on bills. Regarding HB 136 dying in some committee; hundreds of bills are held to death by a chosen chairperson refusing to hear a bill and make the required recommendations despite the Legislative Uniform Rules requiring a signed report of action on bills referred to that committee. This is in effect, defacto veto power over legislation granted to individual legislators.
    Joint Uniform Legislative Rule 24(a): Committee Referral and Action.
    (a) A committee acts on all bills referred to it and reports its actions and recommendations to the house as soon as practicable. Committee reports must be in writing and the report must be signed by a majority of the members of the committee. The report will note the recommendation of each member signing the report.
    Since the Alaska Governor has line item veto power, I would like to see the same or similar questionnaire sent to the candidates for Governor and Lt. Governor.
    Lastly, since financial support (or lack thereof) in the form of a contribution is implied, I would like clarification of the point made by “Anonymous” regarding at least sitting legislators who respond to this questionnaire.

    AS 24.60.030(e)(2); A legislator may not directly, or by authorizing another to act on the legislator’s behalf,
    (1) ……..
    (2) state or imply that the legislator will perform or refrain from performing a lawful constituent service as a result of a person’s decision to provide or not provide a political contribution, donate or not donate to a cause favored by the legislator, or provide or not provide a thing of value.

  6. Frank McQueary

    Brad Keithley is a tireless self promoter who seems to have made it his mission in life to attack and discredit Governor Parnell by whatever means are available. First he pretended to be qualified to run for governor in order to give credence to his specious attacks. Unfortunately it was quickly obvious from his divorce records (#4) that he had not been a legal resident of Alaska for the requisite number of years. It was a little confusing perhaps for Brad, who did cohabitate with a very nice lady here in Alaska while maintaining his legal wife and residence in Texas (or maybe it was in OK?., I get confused too, there were so many wives and paramours)

    Now he has once again crawled out of his lair to try baiting Republican legislators into giving him material to attack their handling of the economy. His specious economic arguments ignore the decline in overall government spending in AK and the risk that instituting new draconian cuts woud initiate the kind of economic implosion we experienced in the mid eighties. I would suggest that unless Brad conveys his $200,000.00 to a third party escrow agent you should be skeptical. The two hundred K might prove just as elusive at the pea in the old shell game.

    Get a job Keithley…

  7. Brad

    Equating all spending capital and operations is a foolish, short-term, and economically destructive path. Maybe the lawyers should focus on fixing our legal system, the laws themselves, enforcement, and the judicial branch? Brad has demonstrated he has no clue that there is a difference between good spending and bad spending. If you consider the “investment” in energy production by AELP 100 years ago, it is still producing today and that spending is a major determining factor in the success of Juneau. In fact, when you consider the “investment” in Snettisham, Four Dam Pool and other energy infrastructure throughout Alaska, it was good spending.

    Investing in energy, transportation infrastructure has usually been followed of periods of economic prosperity because it opens the door to additional private investment creating jobs and an economic base that can support other infrastructure such as schools, hospitals, and local governments.

    All you have to do is look at Rural Alaska compared to those communities the State and Feds have made investments in energy and transportation infrastructure.

  8. Anonymous

    After reading Mr. Keithley’s questionnaire I would say that it may be implied he is requesting a pledge for a campaign contribution and therefore it would cause the legislator to violate AS 24.60.030(e)(2).

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