Brena: Clearly our opposition decided they can’t win at the polls
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 16, 2020
Contact: Robin Brena (907)258-2000 or (907)223-1000
Today Superior Court Judge Thomas A. Matthews dismissed a lawsuit challenging the Ballot Measure No. 1, Alaska’s Fair Share Act. The lawsuit sought to invalidate signatures collected by professional signature gatherers and take away Alaskans’ right to vote on the initiative in November. Matthews’ ruling granted Vote Yes for Alaska’s Fair Share’s motion to dismiss the case and rejected the plaintiffs’ motion for summary judgement.
Matthews ruled that invalidating the initiative would violate the First Amendment rights of the voters who signed the petition and the initiative sponsors. “The voters will have the final say at the ballot box if the initiative is put to them for a vote,” Matthews ruled. “Plaintiffs have the right to comment on the merits of the petition, just as the backers of Fair Share may comment on their position. By contrast, disregard of thousands of otherwise valid signatures operates like a sledgehammer on a mosquito.”
“Clearly our opposition decided they can’t win at the polls so they tried to get the courts to strip Alaskans of their right to vote for Alaska’s Fair Share,” said initiative sponsor Robin Brena, an oil and gas attorney from Anchorage. “We’re glad the judge rejected this attempt to disenfranchise the 39,000 Alaskans who petitioned to place Alaska’s Fair Share on the ballot.”
While Alaska-based business groups are listed as the plaintiffs in the case, reports filed with the Alaska Public Offices Commission show that the suit was bankrolled by ONEAlaska, a group formed to oppose the initiative. A recent analysis by the Houston Business Journal showed that over 96% of their funding comes from four international oil producers.
“This lawsuit was clearly meant to distract us from the campaign,” Alaska’s Fair Share campaign manager David Dunsmore said, “but they failed just like they failed to strip Alaskans of their right to vote. More and more Alaskans are joining us every day. We now have over 400 donors from 45 Alaskan communities and dedicated volunteers working across the state.”
While Alaska’s Fair Share has experienced a surge of grassroots support, their opponents are struggling to turn their $9.9 million in funding from international producers into actual support in Alaska. According to ONEAlaska’s latest financial disclosure, only three Alaskan individuals have contributed to its campaign.
Ballot Measure 1 would increase Alaska’s share of production revenue from Alaska’s three largest and most profitable oil fields and make production tax filings public records. It will be voted on in the November 3 general election.
For additional information contact Robin Brena at (907)258-2000 or (907)223-1000. For campaign related inquiries contact campaign manager David Dunsmore at (907)278-8000 (headquarters) or (907)830-4288 (cell).