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Friday, November 5, 2021

Senator Micciche: Delusions Of Grandeur

fatherpeteLast Sunday, in my Anchorage Daily News column, I wrote about the conflict of interest of newly minted Senator Peter Micciche. A Republican from Soldotna, Mr. Micciche works for Conoco Phillips and has for decades. He now sits on the Resource Committee — one of the most powerful in the Senate, and not only is he a member, he’s vice-chairman of the special sub-committee reviewing the bill to slash oil taxes.

I was hoping the Senator would realize, because of the conflict of his employer, he wouldn’t be allowed on a jury or as a judge. How does he not understand he shouldn’t be sitting in positions that MAKE LAWS that benefit his bosses. Specific bills like SB 21 – Sean Parnell’s $2 Billion Bail-out for Nothing.

(Side note: Micciche’s boss — Conoco Phillips — made $2.3 Billion in profit in Alaska in 2012. As Senator Wielechowski put it, “ConocoPhillips had a pretty decent year last year in Alaska – $262,500 per HOUR in profit, 365 days per year.” Or as Governor Parnell calls it, “Closed for business”.)

Senator Micciche – maybe feeling a little scuffed from my column – apparently decided to soothed his chapped hide with the soothing balm of a friendly media outlet. Squeezed from the tube of Petroleum News was this bit:

Reporter Steve Quinn:  You’ve already received pushback on possible conflict of interest. How do you respond to the criticism?

As one of his critics, I was on the edge of my seat. (No really, I was, don’t judge me!)

Senator Micciche: If you go back to the forefathers of the United States, the folks who wrote the Constitution, the folks who served in early Congress, they were all in agriculture and in similar industries and they regulated agriculture and similar industries.

OK. Stop. This was a very long interview and I couldn’t get past the first three lines.

He thinks his “not really a conflict of interest” is no different than what our forefathers were up against?! As a Daughter of the American Revolution,  I’m offended. Mr. Micciche, your powdered wig is on WAY too tight, sir. If you’re sleeping in a three cornered hat, you may want to stop that -it’s causing delusions of grandeur.

Oh, I know you’re thinking Sweet Pete is new to the Senate and I should go easy on him. Whatever. Alaska’s future hangs in the imbalance of lawmakers like him. Put your big boy pants on.

I guess “agriculture and in similar industries” sounds harmless enough if you don’t remember that agriculture was dependent on slavery. Gee, I wonder why “All men are created equal” didn’t include, well, all men – including the black ones. Oh, that’s right – economic interests. Clearly, for 12 of the founders including Mason and Washington, their ownership of slaves could have omitted them from any such vote had it come up.  Jefferson and Madison were Virginia planters (agriculture and similar industries to Micciche) and were completely at odds with Hamilton of who would nationalize their resource.  (Big scoop here: the founders didn’t agree on control of resources – sort of like now.)  Four were in “securities” – banking. Thirty-Five were lawyers and would have been familiar with how “conflict of interest” or the appearance of such a conflict should be dealt with.

A friend gave me Gordon S. Wood’s book Revolutionary Characters: What Made the Founders Different — give it a whirl if you like books without pictures. Wood talks about the journey many of the founders made into “character”.  They worked to earn their identities.  There was an exception taken with Aaron Burr. His “willingness to use politics for private gain” was his conspiracy, according to Wood, not a conspiracy against the government.

With all that Conoco Phillips stock, Mr. Micciche will, in fact, be able to affect his “private gain” with politics.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m sure the Founding Forefathers were more advanced on racial equality and women’s rights than some of the mouth breathers in Juneau.

There’s also that pesky state of Alaska statute that’s pretty clear:

Alaska Statutes 24.60.030: Unless required by the Uniform Rules of the Alaska State Legislature, a legislator may not vote on a question if the legislator has an equity or ownership interest in a business, investment, real property, lease, or other enterprise if the interest is substantial and the effect on that interest of the action to be voted on is greater than the effect on a substantial class of persons to which the legislator belongs as a member of a profession, occupation, industry, or region.

Mr. Micciche, you’re looking a long way back and far too South. You have an opportunity few elected officials in this country can claim. Alaska is lucky enough to still have a Founding Father with us. Vic Fischer wrote our Constitution. Call him. Ask him about what Owner State means and the best way to uphold your oath to THE VERY DOCUMENT HE WROTE.

Here’s a question for Mr. Micciche: Under what circumstances would you think someone has a conflict of interest?

I’m starting to miss former Senator Tom Wagoner who lost in the primary to Micciche. Yes, he was the only vote against making bestiality illegal in Alaska – but that seems somehow charming after this week.














7 Responses to “Senator Micciche: Delusions Of Grandeur”
  1. shelley gill says:

    I love Mudfalts! Just saying…carry on.

  2. Alaska Pi says:

    I did go read the whole Petro News interview.
    Hmmm. Well. Color me underwhelmed as per Mr Micciche’s arguments.

    Paired with the silly founding-fathers dealie is mention of other Leg(s) being labor union attorneys.
    Didn’t Senator Bill say he’s “turned down leadership attempts to put him on Labor and Commerce, including making him chairman.

    “I would love to serve on that committee, to be honest,” said Wielechowski, who was first elected in 2006. “I just think it’s inappropriate. It raises the appearance of impropriety. I work for the labor union. Sitting on the labor committee, it just didn’t feel right to me.” ?

    Looking at Senator Bill’s actual committee assignments one can see no obvious conflicts with his “day job”.
    Were one to arise I trust Senator Bill WAAAAYYY more than Mr Micciche to recuse himself given Senator Bill’s record and Mr Micciche’s mouth flapping so far.

    Mr Micciche can’t resist his own fox-in-the-henhouse crack , though he makes it arm’s length:
    “we’ve got educators someone could view as the fox in the henhouse for PERS and TERS issues”
    Who are those someones Mr Micciche?
    Why would retirement issues be the big worry in having a legislator who is an educator? Are you making a backhanded crack about educators being more interested in their retirements than their jobs and the education of Alaska’s children?

    While Mr Micciche might be valuable as an industry testifier before the “throughput” committee I remain unconvinced by his arguments that he belongs on the committee.
    Bringing up the founding-fathers-did-it-too argument pretty much turns/turned me off.
    Mr Lauesen rightfully points out much of what pushed the shift from the early confederation to the federation we live in/have lived in for 200 hundred years now. The early years of the Union were marked with incredible and bitterly acrimonious arguments over commercial and agricultural interests, taxation, and Congress’ role in all of it.
    Invoking the FF as more-than-human, superhuman, whatever has many perils, not the least of which is/was their failure to deal with slavery at the beginning of the federation.
    The multiple unsettled issues surrounding slavery the founding fathers skipped right on by were always lurking in the background and in the end almost tore the union apart.

    There is no corollary in modern times with the horror of accepting slavery of real live human beings as a necessary evil but the cautionary tale in that acceptance and the festering wound it created is one to remember and keep remembering.
    If Mr Micchiche wants to compare himself with the FFs I expect him to also look at their failures, big and small. Right from the beginning Congress battled amongst itself over what we now call special interests, lobbyist influence, and crony capitalism. Early on Jefferson and others sought to develop remedies for undue influence on taxation law and regulatory law. We continue to do so.
    Your argument doesn’t pass any kind of sniff test Mr Miccichie. Pfft!

  3. Pinwheel says:

    Once again many thanx to Shannyn (and Elstun Lauesen) for some real qualifying sources for this very real problem with which all Alaskans must wrestle.

    Have any of us accepted that 3/4 of the voting population of Alaska has no knowledge of Alaska history. Maybe 3/4 is too much, 2/3 OK. Proportionatly, 1 in 5 cycle out of Alaska each year. Think about the military personnel and families living here. Only some of them are invested. Oil workers, commercial pilots, commercial fishermen may claim Alaska residency in order to get a PFD or State loans at favorable rates, but do those ‘residents’ know Alaska’s history. Unlikely.

    Alaska history, apparently, is not even taught in Alaska schools. (I have heard that there is some movement afloat this year to get it into the curriculum.) Hell, if American history was learned rather than just taught, residents (voters, electors) in “Sweet Pete’s” district, and across our country would be screaming to the rafters about abuse of power. Just thinkin’. n

    • John says:

      Alaska History is part of the required curriculum in Alaska. It isn’t part of the high stakes testing regime, however, so likely gets less attention than it should.

  4. Elstun W. Lauesen says:

    In fact the founders HAD to deal with a Conoco-sized conflict of interest when they were struggling with the $40 Million debt from the Revolutionary War and how to pay for it. Keep in mind that this was the period in which the U.S. was governed by Articles of Confederation and NOT the Constitution. Washington & the other delegates to the confederation sought to impose a duty on imported goods to pay the national debt. But New York and Rhode Island refused to go along out of fear that their ports, upon which which their state economies depended, would be “uncompetitive”. The refusal by RI and NY to go along with the tax threatened the new nation and forced the convening of a constitutional convention to fix the weaknesses of the Confederation and give congress the authority to levy taxes, whether the states went along with it or not. This became known as ‘Federalism’. So suck it, make-believe patriots; the Founders created ‘big government’ because they knew self-interest would NEVER make this country great.

  5. whoami says:

    Speaking of delusions, consider that delusions of adequacy are rampant in Juneau.

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