APOC takes Marcia Davis deliberations into secret meetings

The agency whose mission it is to provide election transparency to the public is taking an election money-laundering case behind closed doors. The results of those secret deliberations will not be made public for 10 days.

The case in question involves Marcia Davis, Gov. Bill Walker's Deputy Chief of Staff, who makes $170,000 a year, plus her benefits package. But before she got her job managing the Anchorage Office of the Governor, she was a lawyer and Democrat campaign operative.

After she operated secretly funded groups to get Walker elected, making sure she was hired to be in his inner circle, the Alaska Public Offices Commission staff filed an internal complaint and launched an investigation of her.

Wednesday's meeting of the Commission was to review the complaint and settlement of the case that the staff and Davis' attorney (who also represents the Alaska Democratic Party) had crafted. 

Davis could have been fined as much as $86,000 for flagrantly breaking campaign laws. But Davis and her attorneys cut a deal to bring her penalty down to only $7,708 -- a fine that would be divided between her and her two co-conspirators, April Ferguson and Vicki Otte -- because according to APOC, there was "no harm to the public." 

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Senate majority strengthens with Olson

Feb. 9, 2016 - The Alaska Senate Majority Caucus has grown stronger in the past 24 hours, with Sen. Donny Olson joining, Must Read Alaska has learned. 

Olson, a Democratic, represents District T. He was elected in 2000.

Born in Nome, he is a lifelong resident of Golovin. Doctor, pilot, reindeer herder, and once again Senate Majority member, he brings a wealth of rural experience to the Senate.

The Senate Majority sticks together on budget votes and considers responsible budgeting one of its highest priorities. 

Under Uniform Rules a minimum of five are needed to be recognized as a legitimate minority, and to be awarded seats on committees. However, the four who comprise the minority are still being allowed to have their press office and committee seats, and will be treated as normal minority, President Kevin Meyer said.

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Chart of the day: Obama's proposed oil taxes through the years

As President Obama releases his final budget today, we take note of the $10-per-barrel tax on oil he proposes, representing his biggest effort yet to hobble the private sector energy economy and build a larger federal government.

But it will not have been his first attempt. Here's a Bloomberg chart of all his oil and gas tax proposals over prior years' budgets:

 obama oil taxes


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GOP leaders praise House for focusing on budget

The Alaska House of Representatives voted nearly unanimously today to set aside non-budget related legislation in order to put a laser focus on closing the State's fiscal gap. As a result, House committee chairs will not schedule or hear legislation that does not specifically reduce spending, bring efficiencies, or add new revenue to the State of Alaska.

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Chart of the day - Education

EDUCATION FUNDING CHALLENGE: Today’s Base Student Allocation is $377 per student more than what would be needed to keep up with the past 10 years' worth of inflation. More at Alaska Policy Forum. 

Commissioner of Education gets tough lesson in politics

MIKE_HANLEY.pngDEPT. OF 'CAREFUL WHAT YOU WISH FOR': Gov. Bill Walker gave Education Commissioner Mike Hanley his walking papers last week. 

Before the governor's communications team knew enough to even draft a press release, and long before Hanley could get back to his office to tell his workforce, reporters on the ground floor of the Capitol wereburning up gigabytes, looking for comment. The Governor has a leak directly to the media, and that she-leak is not messing around.

The governor later had this to say: "The board and I made the decision to steer the state’s education system in a new direction..." 

Truth is, Walker doesn't concern himself with education because it's a distraction from the gasline and the restructuring of the Permanent Fund into a "sovereign wealth fund." And face it, education is a political quagmire only one notch less toxic than, say, taxes.

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Is funding a gallery a core state service? And other cushy contracts

REVERSE MIDAS TOUCH SYNDROME: First, her Alaska House in New York City failed, now Alice Rogoff's Alaska Native Arts Foundation gallery on 6th Ave., Anchorage is on the skids.

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Draft for women? Take our poll

The question came up at the GOP Thunderdome, aka debate, on Saturday. 

Women can now fight shoulder-to-shoulder in combat, so should they have the same military draft requirement? What do you think?

Justice has a friend in U.S. Senator Dan Sullivan

It was always the most unsavory of plea deals, a smudge on the rule of law. What happened to U.S. Senator Ted Stevens was dirty politics right out of "House of Cards."

For the better part of a decade, the U.S. Justice Department has refused to prosecute the multiple alleged crimes of Bill Allen, whom DOJ lawyers let off the hook in exchange for his testimony against the now-late Senator Stevens.

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