Ex-Lawmaker Who Co-Wrote “Right To Know” Law Calls For Them To Pull Illegal Ads

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

October 8, 2020

(Anchorage) – Alaskans have legal right to know who is trying to influence them with campaign ads. London-Based BP, and Texas Based ConocoPhillips, ExxonMobil and Hilcorp are illegally misleading Alaskans that they are “Alaska” corporations. They are British and Texas corporations, and Alaska law requires them to list that information on any video or print ad.

These illegal ads by the front group called “OneAlaska” are funded by roughly $20 million in outside corporate campaign money. Over 99% of this group’s money comes from these four Outside corporations. Some of their illegal ads ironically seek to mislead Alaskans that the Initiative Campaign, Vote Yes For Alaska’s Fair Share, run by a group of Alaskans, with funding that is over 99% Alaska based, is an “Outside” run group.

Today they are being called on to pull these illegal ads.

Former Rep. Les Gara along with former Sen. Hollis French worked to write and pass the law these corporations are violating. Today Gara called on them to follow the law, and honestly reveal their Texas and London funding sources. It is also misleading for the audio on these ads to state the names of their Alaska subsidiaries instead of the names of their London and Texas parent corporations .

“Alaskans, in evaluating this ballot measure, are entitled to know these corporations are willing to mislead about the massive Outside corporate money running their attack ads. That will help Alaskans assess the truth of the ads themselves,” said Gara.

Alaska law requires corporate ads like these to list the “Top Three Contributors”. All of OneAlaska’s ads are funded by a combination of ExxonMobil of Irving, Texas, British Petroleum, based in London, ConocoPhillips based in Houston, Texas, and HilCorp, based in Houston. At various times all of these corporations have been OneAlaska’s top three contributors.

Alaska law states these corporations, in revealing themselves in an election ad, must tell voters their “principal place of business.” Alaska Statute 15.13.090 (c) and (d). That is their corporate headquarters. Alaska Statute 15.13.090.

”I hoped they would not violate the law, or hide their Texas and London roots to mislead people that over $15 million in Outside money comes from Alaskans, when that is false,” said Gara.

The United States Supreme Court has ruled a corporation’s “principal place of business” is a corporation’s main headquarters, not a local subsidiary address. It ruled in Hertz Corp. v. Friend in 2010 that “’principal place of business’ is best read as referring to the place where a corporation’s officers direct, control, and coordinate the corporation’s activities. It is the place that Courts of Appeals have called the corporation’s ‘nerve center.’” (underlining added).

An email was sent this morning asking OneAlaska to pull and fix these ads.

Information on the principal places of business for the four corporations is linked below.

For additional information contact Les Gara, 907-250-0106; [email protected]. From Friday – Wednesday afternoon Mr. Gara will have morning and evening cell coverage, and spotty coverage during the day.

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ConocoPhillips Principal Place of Business, Houston

BP Principal Place of Business/Headquarters, London, England

ExxonMobil Principal Place of Business, Irving Texas

HilCorp Principal Place of Business, Houston, Texas