Strings attached to 'public' Dunleavy budget events
Gov. Mike Dunleavy on Monday announced a series of public events to discuss his fiscal plan, but a day later confusion emerged over whether the events were truly public.
Dunleavy’s communications office listed seven talks scheduled so far for next week. The announcement, however, failed to disclose five events will be hosted by Americans for Prosperity – Alaska, a conservative group that openly supports Dunleavy’s fiscal ideas.
Portia Noble of AFP said Tuesday events scheduled to be held in Kenai, Anchorage, Nome, Wasilla and Fairbanks are public. She deferred further comment to director Ryan McKee, who was traveling most of Tuesday.
However, AFP requires advance registration, as well as agreeing to lengthy fine-print conditions placed on attendance. Among those conditions: a demand that people register under their own names, a ban on wearing "candidate stickers, pins, T-shirts or other materials" and a restriction against using recording devices of any kind during the events without prior permission.
"If you or your guests are unwilling or unable to comply with the aforementioned terms and conditions, you may be denied admission to or be asked to leave the event," the conditions read.
The conditions also cause confusion with their first line: “This is a private, policy focused event dedicated to discussing Americans for Prosperity’s issues.”
Dunleavy spokesman Matt Shuckerow said all of the governor’s events with AFP are public.
“We’re not event organizers or planners,” he said, “so we’ve partnered with a lot of different groups to make sure that we can have successful events to get people registered to be part of these.”
Senate Democrats took exception to the involvement of AFP, founded by billionaires Charles and David Koch, in the budget events.
"This represents one more failure of trust by Gov. Dunleavy and his administration," said Senate Minority Leader Tom Begich, D-Anchorage. "Holding private events to promote his anti-Alaska agenda, which is sponsored and paid for by special interests that are funded by radical outsiders, is not the Alaskan way. Alaska's governor should be open, transparent, and dedicated to serving Alaskans, not multi-billionaires from Kansas and their political agenda."
The two other discussions listed are an appearance on Alaska Public Media's Talk of Alaska program on March 26 and at the Fairbanks Chamber of Commerce on March 28.
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