The “Vote Yes – Repeal The Giveaway” campaign, which is advocating repealing the oil tax overhaul that recently passed the Legislature, sent out a fundraising email on Friday accusing former Gov. Tony Knowles, who is against repeal, of corruption, cronyism, and for being a “paid shill” for the oil companies. A young “aggressive” intern sent the email, the campaign said.
“This is the same Tony Knowles who gave his friends at BP a $200 million dollar oil lease for free while receiving several hundred thousand dollars in a secret bank account for his own personal use,” the email written by Andrew Lessig said.
“Knowles continued his crony ways by attempting to allow BP to monopolize the North Slope by taking control of ARCO.”
Knowles, a Democrat, was governor from 1994 to 2002, when ARCO was bought by BP. He fought to ensure that BP would be forced to divest ARCO’s Alaska assets.
The email also disparages former Anchorage Mayor Rick Mystrom, who is also against repeal. Under his picture is the caption: “Would you buy a used car from this man?”
Vic Fischer, who is a chair of the group, called Knowles to apologize on Friday and sent out an apology on Monday:
While I disagree with Tony Knowles’ position on SB21, the campaign was wrong to engage in an erroneous and mean personal attack on former Governor Tony Knowles, who has an outstanding record of public service to Alaska…There is room for Alaskans to have different views on the oil tax referendum. We want an open discussion of the issues. We value civil discourse and want important policy decisions to be based on the assessment of information and the application of Alaskans’ values.”
In the email, Fischer does not apologize to Mystrom, who is a Republican. I’m told that one is in the works.
The repeal issue is one that’s turning out to be a litmus test for Democrats, and is beginning to divide the party.
“This was not a good moment for us,” Vote Yes spokesman T J Presley said.
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