Walker’s lawyer sends cease and desist letter about ‘false’ income tax claims

Americans for Tax Reform, a Grover Norquist group that has suddenly taken a keen interest in the governor’s race, sent out a press release today, accusing Independent candidate Bill Walker of calling for a state income tax in a 2004 Anchorage Daily News letter to the editor. The problem? Walker says that he didn’t write it. Walker’s lawyer, Scott Kendall, is demanding a retraction. In a letter (see below), Kendall called the claim “patently false and defamatory.”  As he pointed out, there are at least 20 Bill Walkers listed in the phone book. (Full disclosure: The letter was floated by me a few weeks ago. I asked Walker’s campaign about it then, and Walker’s  spokesperson, Lindsay Hobson, said that neither Bill, nor his wife Donna “recognized it as something he had written.”)

In a press release, Walker said that he has never supported an income tax and never “entertained this thought.” He said it was “another attempt by an Outside group to distract voters from Sean Parnell’s troubling fiscal record.”

Kendall said that he sent the letter after East Coast business hours, and after the decision makers had left for the day, which he called ‘unfortunate.” The press release is being spread around social media.

Here’s Kendall’s letter in full: 

Americans for Tax Reform

Grover Norquist, President

722 12th Street NW, Suite 400

Washington, DC 20005

Re: Demand to retract, cease publication, and issue correction of patently false and defamatory article

Our File No: 6175-028230

Dear Mr. Norquist

We represent the campaign of Bill Walker, who is running as an Independent candidate for the office of Governor of the State of Alaska.  We are writing on the Walker campaign’s behalf to demand that Americans for Tax Reform immediately retract, cease publication, and issue a correction of its patently false and defamatory article dated October 31, entitled “Alaska Governor Candidate Bill Walker Backed Creating State Income Tax.”

This article reprints a decade-old letter to the editor from the Anchorage Daily News, that was authored by a “Bill Walker.” The letter refers to imposing an income tax on Alaskans.  The article then goes on to state that “he is the same Bill Walker” that is running for Governor of Alaska.  This claim is absolutely, one hundred percent, false.

If the author, Will Upton, had merely bothered to pick up the phone and ask Candidate Walker he would have realized his claims were false.  If he had used common sense, he might have realized that “Bill Walker” is not an uncommon name. And, if he had performed the slightest research, he would have realized that there are currently at least twenty individuals named “Bill Walker” residing in Alaska.

As you know, Americans for Tax Reform is a well-respected organization that has been advocating for tax reform for nearly 30 years.  Even where ATR has disagreed with candidates or outright opposed them, ATR had a reputation for getting the facts right in service of its mission.  In this case, ATR utterly failed to live up to that standard.  ATR’s publication of a patently false, 11th-hour attack on Bill Walker is beneath the dignity of the organization and its history.

To the extent Mr. Upton put this story together, he has failed ATR.  However, if a 3rd party or surrogate of Mr. Walker’s opponent provided this information to ATR claiming that it was genuine-then ATR has been deceived and its good name has been misused.  Given the fact that Mr. Walker’s opponent is currently trailing in the polls, we believe there is a strong chance that the latter occurred.

ATR is entitled to its own opinion-it is entitled to support the incumbent Sean Parnell and to oppose Independent Bill Walker. However, ATR is not entitled to make up its own facts.  This letter was not authored by gubernatorial candidate Bill Walker, and it does not reflect his views.  If ATR is interested in assessing Mr. Walker’s views, then we invite you to visit his website, or review one of the many interviews and debates he has participated in.

Because the article is false and defamatory, the Walker Campaign hereby demands that ATR immediately pull down the article, cease any further publication, and issue a correction stating that the author of the letter is not gubernatorial candidate Bill Walker. The Campaign also requests that you contact them for verification prior to publishing any other flimsy and unsubstantiated allegations.

Thank you in advance for your immediate compliance with this letter. Please be advised that any failure to correct and withdraw the article will not be tolerated.



Scott M. Kendall

Counsel to Walker for Alaska


32 thoughts on “Walker’s lawyer sends cease and desist letter about ‘false’ income tax claims

  1. Forecast

    There is nothing the scumbags in the Parnell campaign will not stoop to. They’ve lied, cheated, and stole intellectual property in a quest to steal the election. Their seedy effort is not working, so they grabbed an outside interest group to throw one million into a campaign to steal the election with outside money.

    Alaskans see these scumbags for what they are.

    Latest polls show Walker up 13 point over Capt. Zero.

  2. AH HA

    Jon, actually we do pay for all those services. If the money was not being side tracked by the state to pay for these services it would be deposited in the Permanent Fund and the constitutional reserve.

    The logic you have bought into is that same as saying that the money deducted from your paycheck before you get it was never yours…. If that works for you, well so be it. Me? It gives me pause….

  3. AH HA

    Vern, He does seem ok. I can probably tolerate the lack of specifics… that’s pretty normal for politicians. However, If he starts speaking in tongues, I’m all done.

  4. DB

    If we did away with Project Labor Agreements and Alaska’s Davis-Bacon law, our state government would cost much less.

  5. DB

    ” he would have realized that there are currently at least twenty individuals named “Bill Walker” residing in Alaska.” Gosh, there are almost as many Bill Walkers in Alaska as Bill Walker has positions on each policy issue.

  6. Lynn Willis

    Why should they if they are clever enough to never form an organized borough? To quote from the Alaska Constitution (Article 10, Section 6): “Unorganized Boroughs – The legislature shall provide for the performance of services it deems necessary or advisable in unorganized boroughs allowing for maximum local participation and responsibility.”…. ”
    Of course Jon this is the same Constitution that mandates that the state “shall by general law establish and maintain of public schools” and prohibits the creation of jobs for sitting legislators; however, I have learned that all these constitutional mandates are considered relative under Sean Parnell and like thinkers.

  7. Lynn Willis

    I could argue, as is the city of Ketchikan, that I am spending half of my local property taxes to support a purely state obligation to fund schools while others in the state don’t have any obligation to pay for schools with local tax dollars. In any event, to this taxpayer, a tax payment is a tax payment.

  8. Jon K

    Lynn, the Walker guy is 100 percent correct: you do not pay a dime for all of the services provided by the state. The troopers, parks, roads, universities, health care, courts, prosecutors, consumer protection, sewer systems, managing state lands, fish, habitat, and resources, etc etc. Why should people get all of these services for free when we are running deficits?

  9. Jon K

    Well here is one thing I agree with the Walker campaign on. This guy is right, Alaskans need to grow up and start paying for services provided by the state.

  10. Renny

    Walker is a conservative and a strong Christian. So in a debate when he said, “Sean, we’re both Christians. If we had a bible, I’d put it between us right now and swear that there was no deal.” (paraphrasing) If that means nothing to you, then you won’t believe anything. There is only one side telling blatant lies and that’s Parnells’. Tell me one claim the Walker campaign has made that is a lie.

  11. Vern

    Walker seems to be an okay guy. I am concerned about his unwillingness to speak in specifics. I’m not sure if he’s avoiding specifics for fear of alienating voters or because he doesn’t understand the issues. This troubles me. Also, he seems a little fuzzy, mumbles and seems to be temporarily confused quite often. While I hope and wish him good help, I wonder if his age is becoming an issue even. Leaning away from Walker, don’t like Parnell, will probably vote for Care Claft.

  12. Robbie

    Bill Walker has changed his mind so often, changing policy directions many times in one day even. He flip flops on the issues regularly. Additionally, he has proven not to be terribly concerned about telling the truth or protecting his integrity. Who knows what he did or what he said. The bottom line is that this guy is bad news.

  13. AH HA

    I don’t know how closely you watch the Republican Party but here in Alaska nobody gets to ‘ask’ Ruedrich anything…..

    By the way, your estimation of the integrity issue over there is spot on. It’s really hurt the party and It’s been that way for years. There has been a faction of he party fighting it vigorously but so far to no avail.

  14. John Q. Public

    Parnell could have quietly asked the RGA to put someone with known integrity in charge- but the fact is he wanted someone who will do dirty tricks, and got the right guy.

  15. Lynn Willis

    Ten years ago? The article (letter) in question was written in 2004.
    That said, I might remind Mr. Clark that I pay upwards of Four Thousand dollars a year in property taxes. This year, between my wife and myself, our PFD payments will almost offset that payment to the Municipality of Anchorage. In a few years I bet I will pay even more to the MOA and still get a PFD check but now with a request to endorse it and return it in the enclosed envelope to the State Department of Revenue (and I will be expected to provide the postage). I will certainly look back then at the wonderful years under then Governor Parnell when he thought we could afford the largest budgets in State history…..

  16. AH HA

    To be clearer, He’s been right where he is for a long time It’s pretty hard to blame that on Parnell (or anyone besides Ruedrich).

  17. AH HA

    Nope. I think the burden of proof rests with ADN/Dispatch. and to fully disclose,

    1. I’m A likely Walker voter.

    2. I have long believed that there was a significant ethical problem over at ADN /Dispatch.

  18. AH HA

    To be fair, Ruedrich has been quite difficult to get rid of… Lots of folks have given it a run over the years.

  19. missy

    From NPR a couple of weeks ago

    – “Walker campaign aide Ron Clarke says his candidate is trying to restore a sense of realism about the state’s long-term fiscal health.

    “We’ve now raised more than an entire generation of people that pay no state-wide taxes and get free money every October, yet the state services keep coming,” Clarke says. “The roads get plowed, the streets get paved, all this stuff happens, I don’t know, maybe people think it’s done by elves in the night.”

    Walker has said he wants to close those deficits, either by cutting spending or finding new revenues, or both.”

    It’s obvious he wrote the article

  20. Straitlaced Radical

    “Because we said so” does not equal “debunked.” Agreeing to toss their running mates and Walker changing his party affiliation and agreeing to minimize his pro-life “values” in order to get support and $$ from Dems and unions is enough “deal-making” to make it plausible there may be more than meets the eye. You want to be skeptical of what Parnell says, fine. Be willing to also apply the same standard to the other guy if you want to have any credibility.

  21. Sam P.

    Perhaps the letter writer will step forward, but I think it is fair to assume the political animal Bill Walker may very well be the letter writer. How many Bill Walkers write letters to the editor on the P-Fund and tax policy?

  22. Renny

    The only thing “spot on” is that Parnell’s campaign and the republican party (outside interests) have been proven liars. They were proven liars about the $2 million they claimed Walker and AGPA made in a year, when it was actually $200K. They doctored a recording from a debate when Walker misspoke to make it sound like it wasn’t him just misspeaking. Accused Walker and Mallott of making some kind of “deal”, which was debunked. Now the latest is this letter that claims Walker wrote a letter about supporting an income tax. The dirty politics and lies from Parnell, his campaign and recently the National Republican Governors association (Funded by the Koch brothers). They have taken the low road every step of the way. I’m a proud supporter of Bill Walker and his campaign because they have shown they are ethically and morally sound. I really hope Alaskans join me in rejecting the negativity of Parnell and supporting Walker in order to bring integrity to the position of Governor.

  23. John Q. Public

    Just another in a series of muck being thrown in desperation by the RGA and their Beltway elitist allies like Norquist.

    Putting a guy like Ruedrich- who had the largest civil fine ever assessed for violation of state ethics laws- in charge of the RGA/Beltway effort to smear Bill Walker speaks volumes to the basic immorality of the Parnell gang.

  24. Lynn Willis

    Do I understand you propose (now with 3 days left before the election) that the obligation of proof is with the Walker Campaign? Also, do you believe that the then Anchorage Daily News and Now Dispatch News has maintained 10 years worth of letters to the editor author verifications which would allow verifying this letter was not from the Bill Walker who is running for Governor so the claims of Grover Norquist can be disproved? I do not and besides, I think the folks at the ADN are too busy right now going through the delayed emails regarding the National Guard scandal to satisfy your curiosity. Also, I think we were in fairly good financial shape 10 years ago as compared to now which makes this letter from a conservative “card carrying” Republican at the time very suspect.

  25. Jon K

    Spot on. Once again. What is astonishing is that people that have followed this race closely haven’t come to the same conclusion.

  26. Straitlaced Radical

    Maybe Walker wrote the original letter, and maybe he didn’t. Problem for him is the fact that he’s demonstrated that there are other things more important to him than consistency and telling the truth. Also, being a lawyer, this could be a calculated risk that even if he wrote it, he hopes no one can prove it before the election. I don’t have reason to believe much of anything he says, and most evidence I’ve seen points to the fact that he would be a disaster if elected.

  27. Charles Bingham

    Mr. Norquist is the cause of a lot of the problems (stalemate) with our congress. Now he is coming to the state.

  28. AH HA

    Hmmm… This ought to be really easy for the Walker Campaign to sort out… Alaska Dispatch is making no bones about supporting the Walker Campaign and since they are the owners of the ADN this letter ought to be available to them. Generally Letters to the editor are required to also contain and address and contact information so that the paper can verify who actually wrote the letter.

    All that being said, If the dispatch does not pony up some evidence shortly I’m going to have to lend this some credence…..

  29. Lynn Willis

    First his opposition wrongly included an extra “0” for the legal fees paid to Bill Walker, then some Republican Governors who took the Medicade expansion funds criticized Walker for wanting to do the same, and now they find a letter signed by a “Bill Walker” to claim he wanted a state income tax. Ready, Fire, Aim……..

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