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Friday, July 9, 2021

Dismantling Alaska Bipartisanship

Alaska Family Action, the political arm of the Alaska Family Council, recently welcomed Governor Sean Parnell to a fundraiser. The event brought together social conservatives who seek to add their voices to those supporting the governor’s oil tax plan.

With the specific goal of destroying the State Senate’s bipartisan coalition next month, the organization is banking on a new fundraising strategy and new access to personal data about voters to fuel its “Reclaiming Juneau Initiative” in November.

Jim Minnery addressed the event’s roughly 25 attendees, explaining that his Alaska Family Council became frustrated by the political limitations it encountered via IRS regulations. By recreating itself as a 501(c)4 structure, the group could do “the work that needed to be done” in the political sphere.

The new entity is still headed by himself and has the same board of directors, he explained.

“We literally have to switch the light switch off and on when we have a board meeting” is how he characterized his method for separating the two organizations into distinct entities. The non-political entity has a board meeting, whereupon they switch the light off, they switch the light on, and voilà! The same board, led by the same person, is now a political entity.

Part of what has made the Senate’s bipartisan coalition effective has been setting aside extreme and contentious social wedge issues in favor of the more practical matters confronting Alaskans each day. According to Minnery, Alaska Family Action’s goal in “reclaiming the senate” is to target four controversial social areas with their legislative efforts–revoking the reproductive rights of women, preventing marriage equality, promoting school vouchers instead of public schools, and the catch-all “religious freedom.”

Minnery focused his ire on Senate President Gary Stevens (R-Kodiak), Judiciary Chair Hollis French (D-Anchorage), and Health & Human Services Chair Bettye Davis (D-Anchorage). Blaming these senators for the social conservative agenda “hitting a brick wall,” Minnery said he hadn’t even bothered to advocate for the group’s issues in Juneau during the most recent legislative session. He assumed the trip would have been fruitless.

Four extreme social conservatives in the Senate have chosen not to caucus with the bi-partisan coalition because of social ideology – Fred Dyson, John Coghill, Cathy Giessel and Charlie Huggins. It is senators like these whom AFA seeks to retain, while adding to their ranks by eliminating Democrats and moderate Republicans.

Four specific senate races are to be targeted with the money raised from the fundraiser, with talk of another race to be added. “It’s a moving target,” said Minnery.

Bill Wielechowski (D) v. Bob Roses (R)
Hollis French (D) v. Bob Bell (R)
Joe Paskvan (D) v. Pete Kelly (R)
Joe Thomas (D) v. John Coghill (R) .
Due to this year’s redistricting, incumbents Thomas and Coghill are running against each other in the same district.
Challenger Ron Devon (Non-Partisan) v. incumbent Cathy Giessel (R) is a race Minnery characterized as having become “quite competitive, unexpectedly” and that could receive funding.

Minnery also touted AFA’s success in supporting Rep. Wes “the Girl Scouts are in cahoots with Planned Parenthood” Keller (R-Wasilla), whom he described as “an absolute warrior.” He claims credit for the election of new Senate member Mike Dunleavy (R-Wasilla), who is running unopposed in November after ousting the more moderate Republican Linda Menard in a primary challenge. AFA is “happy to bring [Dunleavy] on board,” Minnery said, and he “will be leading the charge down there along with our other senators Cathy Giessel, and Fred Dyson, and Charlie Huggins and many others…”

AFA plans to turn out the vote by way of a massive database, which will multiply their own 8,000 contacts by more than six times to almost 50,000. Mining this data, which contains personal information, means “much, much more information than we’ve ever had in terms of what are their passions, and what districts they’re in, and what motivates them,” according to Minnery. The data was purchased at a national conference for social conservative groups. Minnery described being approached about purchasing a huge voter database.

“It was a scary meeting, to be honest, because we had folks walk up to all the Family Council Executives and tell us that there’s more that’s known about you, and us—every one of us— than we could ever possibly know, in terms of what we purchase because of the online footprint that we have now, and all sorts of other things. So, they introduced this project to us by basically saying, ‘listen, we know more about you guys than you could ever hope to know, but the good side is we’re going to be able to use this for the glory of God and to get conservatives in power, because this is not something you should be afraid of.’ Now, some people are going to have the “black helicopter syndrome,” and always wonder why all this information is had on them and what can be done with it. I’m personally not concerned about that because I don’t really have anything to hide.”

Minnery went on to discuss the Alaska Values Voter Guide, which directs the reader to where candidates stand on “eternal truths.”

Which brings us back to the Governor at the recent AFA fundraiser.

After guests were greeted by Minnery’s introduction of the high-tech merging of religion and politics, and a scripture reading, the Governor was introduced and delivered brief remarks.

“I wish to thank you for your support of Alaska Family Action and Alaska Family Council. They provide an important voice not only for the unborn, but for that perfect love that casts out all fear, that [Jim Minnery] was speaking to. This goes beyond just your politics. It goes to who we are as a people—if we are willing to stand for life as firmly as we are willing to stand for liberty. That is something that we each share in common, and that we each will do together.”

He discussed a recent Alaska Supreme Court ruling regarding the Proposition 2 vote in 2010 that requires parental notification for minors seeking to have an abortion. And he referenced a recent Anchorage Daily News op-ed by Joann Pantages regarding abortion protests occurring outside Planned Parenthood locations across the nation. He urged the audience to read it and said he had clipped it out and saved it so he could refer to it. Parnell described it as “outstanding” and “one of the most articulate pieces” he’s read on the topic.

“It is grossly insulting to suggest this is about women’s rights or empowerment. Those who believe this have been sold a bill of goods by people who stand to gain through abortion. Most obvious are the providers and the sexual predators. But there are others. There are individuals and groups who gain office, power, prestige and raise money via the issue. These people all walk away happy. The woman who had an abortion walks away with a time bomb inside her soul.”

The governor concluded by saying, “I urge you to give, and give heartily tonight.”

We now have a window into the political strategy of organized far-right social conservatives. They seek to merge with those who want to funnel no-strings-attached billions to multinational oil corporations. Neither ideology resonates with a majority of Alaskans. The majority of us like bipartisanship, support reproductive choice, and want less government intrusion in our personal lives. But Minnery believes that if these two groups consummate a relationship of convenience, their unpopular agendas can be cobbled together and gain enough traction to make a difference. He may be right, unless moderates can find the same passion to get to the polls.

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Comments
12 Responses to “Dismantling Alaska Bipartisanship”
  1. mike from iowa says:

    Is it possible that rwnj clergy have redefined bipartisanship to mean they only get to party twice and that upsets them? In 2010 the spokesman for the Vatican, Frederico Lombardi, claimed that of all the charges of sexual abuse by Catholics only 10% concerned paedophilia in the “strictest sense”,and the other 90% concerned sex between clergy and adolescents. Excuse me? The Vatican and the Boy Scouts seem to have confused straight,mostly male pedophiles with law abiding Gay men. The problems these religious groups have are self-inflicted,sins they themselves are infested with and they need a reality check. Minnery and his ilk make mikey’s skin crawl and if you have ever been around oat straw bales while sweating you will recognize the feeling.

  2. The Lawman says:

    Retired federal, state and local judges have said the following: we are not mind readers…you need to tell us…
    what is wrong? what is lacking? Make your report,submit it, pay the court fees, schedule a hearing, and we can talk about it…that is the best way to find out the answers to questions you might have…pass it on….
    Always a bummer that the good ones are gone, but not dead…and they are watching a series of events occur…
    Some have spoken out loud to wonder why these folks don’t use the tools of the courts to correct others actions? I told them don’t think out loud…no one hears anymore evidently…so file your cases today folks…
    Clean it up thru the courts, let the judges see the corruptions and violations of law in Alaska…then they can and are required by law, and in a public manner, to charge, fine and/or correct the violations that occurred, and do so in the courtroom for all to see and witness to…and tell the judge to not have a gag order…public information!

  3. Mo says:

    Here’s the dope on 501c4 from the Freedom from Religion Foundation:

    http://ffrf.org/faq/state-church/item/14005-churches-and-political-lobbying-activities

    “501(c)(4) organizations are permitted to engage in political campaign activity without jeopardizing their tax-exempt status so long as that activity is only a secondary activity of the organization. While some political activity by a 501(c)(4) is allowed, a 501(c)(4) is still subject to campaign finance rules and, thus, cannot engage in express advocacy to the general public. However, be aware that it can endorse a candidate to its own membership and expressly advocate for the election or defeat of a candidate in communications with its membership.”

    “cannot engate in express advocacy to the general public.” Hmmmmmm…….

  4. John says:

    The crazy thing is that Jim Minnery and his type would never want to end abortion. They make far too much money from the “fight” against it, to want to actually win that battle. If they really wanted to end abortion, they would fund family planning clinics and sex education in school.

  5. Zyxomma says:

    I’m not Alaskan, so all I can do is urge everyone to vote. Pennsylvanians, despite the billboards you’ve seen, you do NOT need photo I.D. to vote this November (although you may need it next year). Californians, even if you don’t care about the presidential race, vote YES on proposition 37 so you (and we) can know what’s in our food. I’m an anomaly; I vote in every primary and general (which means I once showed up to vote when there was no election in my district). Alaskans, your vote is important. VOTE, VOTE, VOTE.

  6. beth. says:

    Unfekenbelievable! Simply unfekenbelievable.

    And what Sourdough Mullet just said, too. beth.

  7. Sourdough Mullet says:

    So where do we sign up to take part in the Class Action Suit against both the Governor and these “two” groups to sue the pants off them for collusion and flagrakind of nt violation of the law?

    I’m seriously tired of this B.S. What about MY religious freedoms?

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