Americans for Prosperity, a Koch brothers funded group, released an ad today featuring Steve Perrin, the owner of Rainy Pass Lodge in Skwentna, Alaska, about 50 miles north of Wasilla. The lodge is well-known in Alaska, and was the subject of a reality show. The AFP buy is about $1 million.
In the ad, Perrin talks about the Alaska “value of hard work, taking care of yourself and your family.” He claims that U.S Sen. Mark Begich “hasn’t been showing up for work” and that he missed more votes last year than more than 80 percent of his colleagues. According to the tracking site that’s featured on the ad, Begich missed 4.5 percent of total votes in his career. He missed a total of 12 votes in 2013. This year, he’s missed 46. In April through June alone, he missed 22 votes. That said, his over-all total voting attendance record is higher than Sen. Lisa Murkowski’s record. Also, keep in mind that because of the distance between Alaska, and D.C., the state’s congressional delegation always misses more votes than most other federal officials in other states.
Further, the message of self-sufficiency in the ad is muddled by the fact that like many small businesses in Alaska, Perrins’ lodgehas been the recipient of state funds. In this case, the agency that paid the lodge these funds was the Department of Natural Resources. All told, beginning in 2010, when Sullivan became commissioner of DNR, the agency paid the lodge $75,797 for state workers to stay at Rainy Pass Lodge for official business. The bulk of that money–$54,494–was paid in July, 2013, when a group of state geologists used the lodge for a month as a camp for geological mapping. Dan Sullivan was not part of the trips the state workers took, his former assistant at DNR said. The state’s head geologist, Steve Masterman, said that the area has gold, copper, and strategic critical minerals.
Perrin did not immediately return a call.
Skwentna is relatively isolated and there are few places to stay.