Assistant AG who penned ‘Stand Your Ground’ letter confirms Sullivan’s account

I got some pushback this morning about the piece that I published earlier on GOP Senate candidate Dan Sullivan’s support, or lack of support, for the ‘Stand Your Ground’ bill that was introduced while Sullivan was the state’s Attorney General, and passed last legislative session. The issue is being used against him to imply that he’s soft on gun rights.

At issue is an impassioned letter written by Assistant Attorney General John Skidmore, detailing concerns with the bill. The letter said that as written, the bill was dangerous and could lead to loss of life. As is standard procedure, Dan Sullivan’s name is on the letter, but Skidmore signed it. Sullivan has claimed that he always supported ‘Stand Your Ground,’ but that letter called those claims into question.

Sullivan said that he didn’t have knowledge of that letter. A reader suggested that I call Skidmore to check if that was true. I did.
Skidmore confirms Sullivan’s claims. He said that he never spoke with Sullivan about the legislation, and to his knowledge, Sullivan didn’t know about the letter or have any information about it, which isn’t unusual. He said that to expect the AG to personally oversee every piece of correspondence to come from the office is “unrealistic.”

He cautioned that his comments are not meant to imply that he’s supporting or opposing Sullivan, but that anyone who is using the letter that he wrote as evidence that Sullivan shared Skidmore’s concerns is being “unfair” and was “taking liberties with the facts.”

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30 thoughts on “Assistant AG who penned ‘Stand Your Ground’ letter confirms Sullivan’s account

  1. Mae

    Tsk, tsk… shakes head, sighs…
    L48 Dan must be confused.
    Stand Your Ground is a politically, candidate wise, huge policy decision Not one you’d want mucked up.
    Just sayin.

  2. B. Davis

    Most of these comments are moronic at best. Supporters of Mead Treadwell keep changing names and are posting riidiculous arguments. His little team of college boys from the Lower 48 that Mead seems to enjoy are missing the point and show their lack of understanding of our legislative process. I doubt Treadwell understands the process himself. Here are the relevant facts: Treadwell hardly knows how to use a gun; Sullivan is a trained marksman, military reservist and hunter; Sullivan supports the 2nd amendment and ‘stand your ground’; the letter that the Asst. AG wrote that the #leadwithmead team is hanging their hat on was his product and not one signed or seen by Sullivan; according to the bill’s sponsor, Rep. Nueman, Sullivan himself offered guidance to the sponsor on how to navigate the legal maze which the sponsor says was helppful in passing the legislation. These are the facts. All the noise about Dan not supporting the second amendment is coming from a pathetic Treadwell campaign who is known to practice the ppolitics of sleeze. Remember the sex offender they found who filed the apoc/ethics complaint against his opponent fouur years ago? Treadwell is known for his sleezy campaign antics and not telling the truth. Dan is a Marine, a hunter and a strong supporter of gun rights. I bet Sullivan would make Treadwell look foolish on a shooting range. That’s it! Let’s have a shooting contest between Treadwell and Sullivan. The only problem is that would be like going hunting with Dick Cheney. Treadwell knows so little about guns he might accidentally shoot Sullivan. Mead, if you keep up the lies, people might start telling the truth about you and exposing you and all your lies.

  3. Anonymous

    Skidmore said that Sullivan had no knowledge of his LETTER. He did NOT say that Sullivan was not involved with the legislation. Of course, he was, as AG. Don’t take liberties with the facts to promote your agenda. Use some critical thinking skills.

  4. Bill S

    Dan Fagan is back on the air courtesy of the RNSC and/or Crossroads, so you don’t have to make up your own talking points anymore. Leave it to the professionals in DC.

  5. Milton Friedman

    Oh come on. You and I both know how easy it is to forget that the Lt. governor is part of the executive branch of our state government. The conclusion that you jump to is a tad silly.

  6. Mike F

    The L48 Dan sock puppet “Garand Fellow” is unaware that here in Alaska, the Lt. Governor is elected by statewide ballot. (read below comment)

    If L48 Dan is going to employ smurfs to spam comment sections, he really should hire Alaskan ones.

  7. Mike F

    Well Garand Fellow, if you actually visit Alaska some day, you’ll notice a bunch of signs up during campaign season promoting candidates for Lt. Governor. You see, Alaskans elect their Lt. Governor, too. As an Outsider, you don’t understand or would rather not understand how the executive branch in Alaska works. Only two people are elected in the system we have in Alaska state government, and that is the Governor and the Lt. Governor. The current Lt. Governor is a guy named Mead, who easily beat Liesel McGuire’s lover and drinking buddy, Jay Ramras.

    How do you do things in your L48 state, Garand Fellow? And if you are going to be L48 Dan’s sock puppet, please do some reading-up on my state.

  8. Dave

    So it looks like Dan lied about passing Stand your ground, and now he’s dragging Neuman down with him. I was so thrilled with your candidacy at the beginning, Dan. But I’m for transparent government, and I simply can’t vote for somebody who exaggerates to the point of lying, in good consciousness.

  9. Milton Friedman

    It is very ignorant to continue arguing the point when all of the evidence and the first hand accounts of those who were actually there, say you are wrong. Your statement here is nothing but another desperate spin job on this subject and it would be best for you to move on to something else. Please pass that message on to Joe as well. The last debate was pretty embarrassing for him when he tried to corner Dan on it.

  10. Steve Brostko

    Rep. Neuman, the sponsor of the bill, was on radio multiple times this week stating that Sullivan worked with him on the bill and that Sullivan supported SYG. This assistant AG wrote a memo stating HIS own concerns, no Sullivans. End of story.

  11. Mark

    “He said that he never spoke with Sullivan about the legislation, and to his knowledge, Sullivan didn’t know about the letter or have any information about it, which isn’t unusual.”
    I accept that statement as true. So this means that Sullivan claims to have “passed Stand Your Ground” when he was actually not involved . Skidmore shoots down the idea that Dan was working on SYG.

    That is the story here, not his position but his falshood. If he was actively supporting SYG there would be a public record of his involvement. Dan Sullivan is taking credit for something he did not do. and that is the same as a lying.

  12. Steve Brostko

    I believe that Sullivan will hold true to his belief of not attacking his fellow Republicans but the false accusations by his opponents are getting old. I expected it from the Dems, but not Treadwell and Miller. Treadwell and Miller are getting off easy right now because Sullivan won’t attack them, so what I’m hoping for is the PAC’s that support Sullivan to start exposing Treadwell and Miller for who they really are, driving up their negatives, and ultimately putting them out of contention. Sullivan is hanging in there despite fighting 3 on 1 and I anticipate him making it through the primary.

  13. AlaskaCodPiece

    Most Alaskans really don’t know where DNR Dan (OH>WA>AK) stands on SYG or most issues “on the campaign trail” because he won’t visit Alaskans off the road system.

    Our opinions and concerns don’t matter to him.

    I believe he is afraid to talk about his/Parnell’s “development at all costs” and “streamlining permitting” and our fisheries and mostly — removing Alaskans from the process.

  14. Lynn Willis

    I agree that we should elect the Attorney General because he or she should have more autonomy and be more directly responsible to the people. Also, it should provide a critical check and balance against concentration of power.
    I would suggest that the line between those who are employed by the government and those who work in the private sector is not so clear. There is a hybrid category; those who are considered to be in the private sector yet are very much dependent on government spending. For example, consider the contractor who pays for the ads promoting school and road construction. I am not totally convinced his or her primary motive for doing so is better education or more efficient,safer public transportation infrastructure. Same argument could be made for a contract attorney hired by the government for a legal analysis of an issue. If he or she supports the position of the Executive, might that not lead to more indirect, or even direct, employment by the government?

  15. Garand Fellow

    Some people here don’t understand or would rather not understand how an executive branch works. Only one person is elected in the system we have in Alaska state government, and that is the governor. So there is only one opinion in that branch of government on an issue that is important to Alaskans such as stand your ground. Yes, there are too many subordinate attorneys held over from the last time a Democrat was in office, and those people will meddle and monkey-wrench, but you cannot judge anything by them.

    There are lots of professions in which those practitioners who want big government and an all-consuming government work for government and the practitioners who value freedom and the free market go to work in the private sector; law is one of them. No, it would be no better with an elected AG. In states with an elected AG every department hires its own attorneys so nothing is solved except that fewer attorneys are unemployed.

  16. Lynn Willis

    I don’t consider my comparison between the apparent management style of Parnell and Sullivan to be a “cheap shot”. Alaska can no longer afford government officials, especially elected officials, who assume this state can be run on “auto pilot” with them later feigning “shock” at learning what they have allowed to be done. We have now had five years of that. Perhaps the latest example is the 48.5% increase in your Natural Gas bill if you are a customer of ENSTAR.
    A Stand Your Ground legal analysis deserved the attention of the Attorney General. If, in fact, the Attorney General’s Department of Law is producing perhaps 36,500 or more letters per year (365 x100 = 36,500) over his name and he is not aware of any as important as this opinion on an extension of the Castle Doctrine to public spaces, then I have a right to doubt how he will perform as a U.S. Senator.

  17. Gina

    I have read Lynn Willis’ comments on this blog site quite regularly and find myself agreeing with his perspective more often than not; however, tonight’s comment, while I understand its logic, shows that he doesn’t understand the operation4 of a large governmental agency. Lierally, some days, the DOL sends out 100 – 200 letters, many discussing complicated legal arguments and analysis. They go out on DOL stationary signed by Assistant AGs over the AG’s signature block. That’s simply how business is done. Dan Sullivan was a very engaged, hands on AG, still that doesn’t mean he could or should read every letter leaving the DOL. Lynn, your off base. Like you, I dislike Parnell too; however, throwing cheap shots at Sullivan because you dislike Parnell is beneath you and the quality of thought you regularly share. Regarding Parnell, I’d like to know what you see as the viable alternative. I am very disappointed in Parnell but find him less offensive than Mallott or Walker. Lynn, as the weeks to the election click by, I will be interested in your feelings about the other gubernatorial candidates.

  18. Edwin

    Folks that lie a lot, like Treadwell and Begich, often think that everyone else does to. That’s not the case with Dan Sullivan. He is a man of good character. I find it amazing that Begich and Treadwell attack Dan regularly. I will give Begich credit for at least, despite his liberties with the truth, at least keeps most of the attacks issue based. Trreadwell, on the other hand, is a pathological individual with little or no morals. Four years ago, we saw Treadwell stoop very low, doing dubious acts to raise his candidacy over Jay Ramras. He told many lies and made accusations that just weren’t true. Someone said that Treadwell is little more than a Republican Mark Begich. While there is some truth to that, I don’t feel that even Begich deserves that level of criticism. Come on guys, you throw rocks and then others throw rocks. Let’s all stick to the issues and tell the truth. This stand your ground issue is becoming silly.

  19. Lynn Willis

    Do I want a US Senator that doesn’t seem to know what is being published under his letterhead on important issues? So how many other letters using Dan Sullivan’s AG stationary were produced yet Dan Sullivan had no idea? That approach to management is so “Parnell” (maintain plausible deniability just in case something goes wrong). No wonder these two like each other.

  20. Art

    Plenty of evidence that Mead, Joe and Mark play fast and loose with the truth. Zero evidence that Dan Sullivan does anything but speak the truth. He said he backs the 2nd Amendment and the facts show nothing to the contrary. Next thing we’ll see is a commercial with Begich firing a rifle – now there’s a target for you 2nd Amendment Truthers…

  21. Nora

    Show me one piece of time-stamped evidence, that Dan supports Stand your Ground.

    If I were Attorney General, and I was very passionate in my support for something like Stand your Ground, I wouldn’t let a subordinate use my office to fight against it.

  22. Nora

    “‘Why would we want to authorize the taking of a life when one could walk away in complete safety?” Sullivan asked.’ – Anchorage Daily News, April 3, 2012

    So, was Dan lying in his commercial when he claimed that he worked to pass the bill (when he was the commissioner of DNR)?

    Or, was Dan lying when he said that he didn’t know anything about the bill?

    Is nobody doing a FOIA request on emails between Sullivan and Skidmore, or Sullivan and Annie Carpeneti?!

    At least my candidate, who “supported Obama 97% of the time”, doesn’t lie about it, or blame staff. Yeah, he did support Obama – so what? Lisa Murkowski, supported him 72% of the time. Furthermore, one of the craziest Republicans that there is, Young, was in the top 1/8th of Republicans who supported Obama in the House of Representatives. Obama’s done some alright things according to Alaskan representatives.

    I keep hearing Dan bring up his military credentials – doesn’t shit roll uphill in the Military? If you’re the commanding officer, isn’t what happens in your command your fault?

    What would be Dan’s ratio if he was elected? Less than Lisa’s? Closer to Young’s? I’d like his break down on every bill without him saying that he’d be like Cruz.

  23. Wnder

    Amanda – you have some of the dumbest sob’s reading and commenting on this article. Either they are idiots or pusposely spin fraud. I heard Rep MMark Neuman on the radio today (Fagan show) where he outlined Sullivan’s role. He was the bill sponsor, he should know. Obviously these commenters, either Mead’s or Mark’s suporters don’t understand the process. BTW – Treadwell iis nothing more than a Republican Mark Begich. How creepy is that?

  24. Mateo

    So isn’t Skidmore’s statement just as damning for Sullivan? How can you say you fought to pass a bill that you were so out to lunch on that you didn’t even know that your whole Department had gone rogue on?

    It appears Skidmore has just verified that Sullivan was actually completely uninvolved, which is what Representative Neuman was pretty much already confirmed.

    This isn’t making things better . . .

  25. Jon K

    Fact: in 2012 Dan was DNR Commissioner.

    Question: Why would someone ask the DNR Commissioner what his position is on this issue? Do you have any evidence to support the assertion that “when asked about his offices involvement & position on stand your ground, sullivan echoed the same sentiments that were in the letter by Skidmore?”

  26. John Smith

    Yet you are all too willing to believe the spin from people who were 1. not there or involved in the matter at the time, and 2. have tried to make it a political talking point. Sounds like a solid argument you have there.

  27. You forgot something

    This is a good point. However, the politifact article was talking about Dans claim that he worked to pass stand your ground.

    Facts: Dan claimed to have been instrumental in passing stand your ground in commercials. That is backed up by a letter by Neuman.

    Fact: Dan is claiming he knew nothing about the Stand your ground bill and or his administrations opinion on the matter. That is backed up by Skidmore.

    Here’s my conclusion, One of the two statements above is untrue.

    Fact: in 2012, when asked about his offices involvement & position on stand your ground, sullivan echoed the same sentiments that were in the letter by Skidmore. It’s convenient that two years later, while running in a contentious primary in a RED state, Dan is trying to change his positions.

    This is just like when Mark Begich switched himself on gun rights in 2006. Except Mark at least admitted to being wrong in the past, and changing his mind after he learned the facts. Dan on the other hand must think Alaskans will believe just about anything, including his own revisionist history.

  28. Jim Bob

    “Why yes, Your Honor, of course I remember that letter from four years ago, just like I remember my own name. And no one currently running for federal office has leaned on me to remember their version of events. Really.”

  29. Derp

    Fair point that the AG isn’t proofing every letter from his office, but shouldn’t he be setting broad policy goals? Like “yes we oppose SYG” or “stay silent on SYG” or “support SYG”? Even on the campaign trail, candidates don’t approve every facebook post or press release written in their name, but there is an expectation that it fits into the candidates overall world view. Do the assistant AGs really write random letters about major political issues without checking the overall direction with their boss? And then sign their bosses name to them?

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