Americans For Prosperity in Alaska for the long haul

If you thought that Americans for Prosperity would chase the sun after the Senate race, think again. The conservative group spearheaded by the Koch brothers and now backed by a bevy of conservative patrons, has pared down since the Senate race, but it’s kept its Anchorage office open and some of its staff.

“We’re here to defend the tax payer, and we aren’t going anywhere,” said Jeremy Price, the head of the Alaska chapter of the group, at an AFP-hosted dinner in downtown Anchorage on Thursday night. The dinner drew about 150 people, including legislators, tea party and Republican Party activists.

Anchorage is one of the 33 chapters across the country which have recently sprouted to counter the technological and organizational advantages held by the Democrats, at least nationally. In Alaska, the lack of such advantages hasn’t necessarily kept so called conservatives from getting elected—both the Senate and the House have a Republican majority. The problem seems to be what happens after they get to Juneau.

Alaska isn’t a right to work state, for instance. We don’t have a broad-based tax, but government employment is among the highest in the country, as is government spending per capita, which is anathema to hardline conservatives like the Koch brothers.

On the state level, AFP is trying to encourage legislators to oppose expanding Medicaid, something Gov. Bill Walker campaigned on. It also wants the Legislature to pass a resolution opposing Obama’s climate change rules, and wants to provide legislators political cover as they cut the budget.

Price told the group at the dinner that AFP would also be involved in the upcoming Anchorage mayoral race. He said that if there are people getting in that race who don’t have a record of “defending the taxpayer” AFP will devote “significant time and resources to make sure the public is aware of that record.”

The keynote speaker at the event was Fox News analyst Stephen Moore, who spoke about the Reagan years, about the oil boom in the Lower 48 and, as expected, about how devastating ObamaCare is for the country. (What Moore didn’t mention was the widely reported news on Thursday that ObamaCare seems to be reining in costs. Health care spending since 2012 has grown less than any time since 1960.)

One of Moore’s messages: “You have got, got, got to become a right to work state.”

Another: “We must, must, must defeat Her in 2016. And you know who I’m talking about.”

Anchorage Mayor Dan Sullivan also spoke, and although he called for those in the room to support Gov. Bill Walker and Lt. Gov Byron Mallott, he took plenty of jabs at his predecessor Sen. Mark Begich, who he said he will be delighted to soon call “former Senator.”

Sullivan also suggested that it might be time for a state constitutional convention in order to re-evaluate the concept of the “owner state,” which he said might lead to the state selling off plots of land to private ownership and create a boom. He pointed out that only 1 percent of Alaska land was privately owned.

“It’s socialism or communism or some sort of ism,” he said.

It seemed a new idea to some, but it was a group that generally gets excited about constitutional conventions. And they really do not like those kinds of isms.

Sullivan got a standing ovation.

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24 thoughts on “Americans For Prosperity in Alaska for the long haul

  1. AH HA

    Oddly; some of the most ‘impoverished’ places in the country are not included in the list of right to work states…. you cannot find the vast ghetto’s of New York City (that great bastion of liberalism) nor Chigago or Watts. You can find Detroit (filing for the largest bankruptcy settlement ever by a municipality) Of course in Detroit’s case, right to work came along in 2012, far to late to save the city from the union.

  2. Tracy

    Anyone who thinks “Right to Work” is a good idea should take a solid look at the quality of living in the states where it is already in place. The most impoverished states of this country are “Right to Work” states. Apparently having more money than you could spend in a lifetime is not enough for some. They have to make the American dream, the right to PROSPER, unattainable for others in order to be happy.

  3. John Potter


    I admit the last paragraph is more ‘rose-colored glasses’ crap then reality.
    I wish them well. It would be great if they can be successful; but……

    Thanks for the corrections.

  4. Anonymous

    Ms. Brodie, the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act established Native corporations with 44 million acres of federal and state land. It also gave the corporations $1 billion. In return the Act “extinguish(ed) all aboriginal hunting and fishing rights that may exist,” and removed all claims that attorneys for Alaska Natives might have been able to use to further delay the oil pipeline. The land was set up in a special, exclusive, protected quasi-governmental status that cannot be taxed by the state and municipalities except if developed in specific ways and it removed the land from the reach of creditors, even in bankruptcy. Profits generated by the land, when distributed to stockholders, are beyond the reach of the Internal Revenue Code. So the case can be made that it is not private land but a special class of federal land.

    Moreover, shares in the corporate land cannot be bought or sold (no REIT spin-offs for Native corporations apparently), and if it is inherited by anyone not an Alaska Native, regardless of tribe, region or village, the stock becomes nonvoting. I think that helps make the case, should anyone want to make it, that the land is not private in either a general sense or a usual legal sense.

    In Alaska, fire suppression on private land is completely paid for by the state. However, fire suppression on Native land is paid for by the federal government. The state invoices the federal government for any costs the state incurs in fighting wildfire on Native corporation land.

    I have not done the arithmetic and have no opinion on the 1%, but I think that on balance most reasonable people would maintain that Native corporation land has more in common with federal land than it does with private land in Alaska.

  5. Pamela Brodie

    Mayor Sullivan “pointed out that only 1 percent of Alaska land was privately owned.” Hardly! About 12% of Alaska land is owned by Native Corporations, which are certainly private land owners and which certainly develop their land. According to Wikipedia, Alaska Native Corporation land amounts to more (by 6 million acres) than the combined total of the land in the states of Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland and Virginia.

  6. Garand Fellow

    Mr. Potter, I was with you until your final paragraph. We have not had partisan fighting here in Alaska, none whatsoever. The Republican Party of Alaska has been in firm control of the legislature and the executive for many years. Yes, there was a brief period when the state senate had a different sort of coalition than had previously been the case and is now again the case. But there has been absolutely none of the partisan fighting you cite – no reason to have any actually. A few elected Democratic Party members have on the one hand demanded higher spending for this and that while at the same time decrying deficit spending, but that is the job of the minority as they apparently see it. In any event it’s not fighting any more than a Greek chorus murmur is fighting.

    I think the most probable partisan fighting we now can expect will be within the new administration. The likelihood is grossly aggravated by the fiscal deficit of course, and Governor Walker’s promises, as a candidate, to end deficit spending. As a matter of fact, the Unity ticket often decried Governor Parnell spending $7 million per day more than the state was taking in, but now that Unity ticket is in control yet bringing spending down such that the overspending is ONLY $7 million per day would require budget reductions right now at a level never experienced at any time by the state. I would estimate that today the state is already spending almost $12 million more per day than it is taking in, and I will not say so but someone might say it is quite generous of recently fired Parnell people to temporarily hold off pointing to that.

    Yes, there may be partisan fighting and it may be intense as Governor Walker tries to make good on his pledge to end deficit spending, but the protagonists will all be on the 3rd Floor. Thank goodness we have to give us the score because we certainly cannot depend upon other Alaska media to know and report the real news.

  7. meg

    I agree about 2016. The presence is here to remind Lisa Murkowski about the power and money they have if she does something they don’t like. It will also ensure that Dan Sullivan will follow through in being loyal to the Koch brothers agenda. AFP had no problem getting involved in state and federal primary races between Republicans for exactly this purpose. This local stuff is only about keeping the presence alive and felt. More than anything they want to own the US Senate, and I suspect in the next two years both of Alaska’s senators will prove to be part of their herd.

  8. John Potter

    In it is interesting to read the comments here.

    Most decry the AFP as being an advocate for the one-percenters, while somehow praising Begich (who is also an advocate for the one-percenters). The national control of both parties is epitomized by control by the billionaires whether they be the Koch brothers on the one hand, or Soros, the Silicon Billionaires and Buffett on the other. The ongoing extreme partisanship is but another tool to keep all of us ‘tools’ under control so that the one-percenters can continue to maintain the Statist ruling class.

    Obviously the message about big money has been more damaging to the Repubs, but that is just part of the Dem’s superiority in controlling the message. All one needs to do is read these comments and see how the talking points of the left is woven throughout them; but there is a difference between the commonly held messages and the truth.

    The whole notion of the ‘owner state’ is also problematic. We are primarily owned by the Federal Government; and the part that is not owned by the Feds in controlled through ‘wetlands restrictions’ ‘roadless restrictions’ and other government red tape.

    Just keep focusing on the partisan villains, and ignore the bigger enemy; that should work out for the best–at least for the one-percenters.

    The one bright spot for our state is the Walker/Mallott victory. It is hopefully just the first step in breaking down the partisan fighting; maybe it will lead toward our focusing on what is good for our State, instead of what is good for your party.

  9. Brad Keithley

    Thanks for that add, but my comment wasn’t based solely on the story. I have listened to AFP closely over the past couple of years and my comments reflect not only what you wrote initially, but also what I have observed repeatedly over that time, including their points of emphasis this last election cycle. I understand their emphasis on what they believe brings national prosperity. It’s just that right now, Alaska faces bigger and much more immediate problems closer to home.

  10. Sandra

    The only tax payers AFP is interested in protecting are the wealthy so the wealthy can pay as little as possible. I wish they would go back home and stir up the cauldron there.

  11. Andy Mattoon Scott

    LOL…are you kidding? My district elected leaders consist of a narcoleptic geezer and a
    prima donna alcoholic. One is asleep during session and the other is buzzed or hung over.

    Rock solid credentials, private sector experience, education, serious thoughts….the horror!
    I choose my leaders because of the cool jingles and family photos with the appropriate dog and fireplace. Extra points go to those with a flag in the background.

  12. Amanda Post author

    @Brad: As most national speakers do at these things, Moore spoke about national issues. He was surprised that we weren’t a right to work state, hence his emphasis. Price talked about cutting the budget and other local issues. I added a line in my story about it. I just assumed that everyone knew that he would so.

  13. All I Saw

    It’s the perfect group for the intellectually deficient and lazy. For some reason I always picture a dog eating it’s own vomit as a metaphor for the nonsense spewed by AFP.

  14. All I Saw

    Stephen Moore is a hack.

    AFP is here to impose “one size fits all” fantasy economic policy.

    You know, like Moore did in Kansas.

    Since when did “conservatism” mean destroying a state’s credit rating?

    AFP is more cult religion than economic think tank. It’s sad really, instead of attending luncheons and dinners and PowerPoint parties these legislators and the mayor could have actually gotten a formal education in economics and a fuller understanding of the history of economic thought.

  15. Lynn Willis

    Alaska has enough problems now and these issues will not be resolved by extreme partisan groups especially those from outside with a national agenda; however, if you believe political solutions reside in simplistic generalizations and slogans and hearing them comforts you, than the AFP is a group for you and no doubt many Alaska politicians.

  16. Brad Keithley

    Frankly I have been a bit surprised by AFP’s lack of focus on Alaska issues. No disrespect intended, but with the state in the process of running its largest budget deficit in history (one that this year alone will come close to swallowing all of the others combined) and talk of taxes and a diversion of the Permanent Fund earnings already well underway, personally I don’t think the biggest “prosperity” issue currently facing the state is right to work or “Her”. While AFP may be setting up in Alaska “for the long haul,” its focus appears to continue to be on national issues, which makes me believe that the “long haul” really has more to do about the 2016 Senate election than anything else.

  17. Billiam

    Louise. Where do you get your information? Americans For Prosperity are funded by corporate billionaires whose only purpose is to keep the money in the pockets of the 1%. To think they’re here to protect your pocketbook is laughable.

  18. Louise

    Boil and bubble toil and trouble creating nothing, but anxiety for the troubled masses-Senator Begich thank you for your effort and let’s keep Alaska the owner state and out of the hands of the one percent.

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