KRSA and gift bags to officials
In the Alaska Journal of Commerce today three state officials have a complaint charged against them for not reporting gifts - Cora Campbell ADF&G Commissioner, Ed Fogels,DNR, and M Treadwell, Lt Gov. The complaint notes that they attended the KRSA Kenai River Classic and received gifts but did not report them
What is funny and upsetting to me is KRSA value they put on the gifts. They state the gifts were worth 5$ and 6$ in the years in question. Here is what the gifts are: a gear bag, quarter zip shirt, baseball cap, softshell jacket and gloves in one year and a gear bag, turtle neck, baseball cap and gloves, with KRSA name or logo on them. KRSA claims that the value is low because of the logo on the items. Anyone buying that? They sure must have a low opinion of their organization if hundreds of dollars in gifts are reduced to 5 dollars with their logo.
In my opinion another example of how KRSA buys and influences people. The gift bags are worth well in excess of 5 or 6$ but that is what they report so our representatives and State officials can claim they do not have to be reported. If they took the gifts then I think APOC will find the real value should have been reported.
Here is another tidbit. Treadwell daughter participated in the Classic and he did not report her participation as a gift. The Classic in 2014 cost 4000 dollars to attend.
I believe more complaints will be forthcoming so stay tuned.
It just shows that the average citizen has little chance to have this influence in the regulatory process.
On another note in today's Clarion there is a push to have the Board of Fish meeting in Kenai. Lets see if that happens. Any bets?
Here's the article:
This is deja vu from the 2007 Kenai Classic fiasco, when the State's Attorney General slapped KRSA and state officials for violating ethics with gifts and participation fee exemptions.
KRSA is putting a $5-$6 value on those nice jackets and clothes because after the last ethic violations stint the Attorney General directed that any gifts taken had to be reported if valued over $150. Too bad for KRSA, but the receipts showing what KRSA paid for that stuff, along with the costs of embroidering their logo, will expose the real value. I've seen those clothes...I can't afford such nice stuff. They are probably shredding the receipts as we speak...
KRSA's Classic is only "classic" in the way it unethically affects our fisheries, and unethically influences those in charge of our fisheries.
Talk about a witch hunt. Good Lord.
You might think it's cute to play these political gotcha games, where you send a team to scrutinize every piece of paperwork in the last 10 years to find something to blow out of proportion to demonize your opponents. But, times are changing and that isn't gong to work anymore.
It would be in the best interest of the comm fish interests to be nice to the sport fleet. I've always said it. There will be a time when they'll need the sport fishermen. And all these attacks that the comm fish fleet is so used to launching without retaliation, well, those days are going to end too, and it sure isn't it gaining you any support.
Ha ha! You mean the sport "fleet" that wants to destroy the commercial fleet. Yeah, play nice with the cobra. It is the monied sport interests that have launched attack after attack.
270ti, I like your thinking, but not in dealing with the Penny loafers. I have dealt with Penny in person, and I feel he will never stop. He lives on conflicts. That is where he makes lots of money. sayak you hit the nail on the head with Cobra, because that is a snake. Only one way to deal with a bad snake!
What in the name of heck is cora campbell even doing at the classic.
Get real people. Complaining over a free shirt and hat.
This is not over a free shirt and hat. The gift bags are worth hundreds of dollars and this is the tip of the ice berg. I guess some people feel people can be purchased in government with favors and it is all right. The cost of the classic is 4000 dollars and that is waived for the political representatives. That is a 4000 dollar gift. Also, Treadwell says his daughter did not attend but KRSA filings say she did attend - 4000 dollars waived. If you look at the registration form it says it cost 4000 dollars to attend and then ask what events you plan to attend. So you pay the 4000 whether you attend one or all of them.
Originally Posted by SkwentnaMan
Relative to the being a sport vs commercial that is hogwash. What this is about is whether government officials and private groups act within the law or not.
Given the parties have amended their filing they are admitting that they failed to follow the law. Commissioners of any Admin should know the law. That is what is at issue here - ignoring the law not sport vs commercial. DNR and Treadwell have nothing to do with sport fishing 270ti so lets not make this a sport vs commercial issue.
Also stay tuned this is not over and may only be the tip of the iceberg. Remember Alaska is ranked the 7th most corrupt state in the Union by an independent study.
The issue is disclosure. Failing to disclose the donations and their relative value appears to be the claim. For public officials, free t-shirts and hats are usually covered under a minimum nominal value, usually around $50. Donations from a single source under that amount (whatever it is) may not need to be disclosed. But if the value exceeds the minimum, all of it should be disclosed.
The $4000 entry fee is a different issue. But it's a fund raiser. So you would need to ask whether the recipient received something that is valued at $4000. It's highly unlikely that a fishing trip on the Kenai River is worth $4000, if that is what they received. But if they got a fishing trip, it's likely worth something close to $400, not $4000. Regardless, whatever it was worth, it should have been disclosed. In this instance, it would have been the value of services received (e.g., a fishing trip on the Kenai River), not the value of a donation to a fund raiser.
And the complaint about the Lt Gov's daughter is irrelevant, unless she is a public official or a co-dependent (i.e., under 18, living at home). If not, she is a private citizen. The fact that she is related to the Lt Gov is irrelevant. The Lt Gov should not be required to disclose the political activities of their independent offspring.
Cohoangler, you are so totally wrong. Lets take the Gov daughter first. Benefits to family members must be disclosed in Alaska if you are a public official. However, I believe she is under 18 but not sure which makes this point mute. This keeps public officials from getting money to family members and thus hiding it from the public. A wife attending has to be reported also.
Originally Posted by Cohoangler
Next, the cost is not a donation. The registration form clearly states cost is 4000 dollars and includes lodging, transportation, food, fishing, events, and other goodies. Therefore for the public to attend it costs 4000 dollars - end of story. If the fee is waived then the pubic official received the benefits no matter what the cost. But in this case the cost of services is 4000 dollars not what you or I think it costs. Not to disclose it is the issue. Just another example, if an official attends a dinner that costs 200 dollars a plate it makes no difference if the costs of the food items is 20 dollars. The dinner cost is 200 dollars.
Also, there are number of legislators who are in violation but paperwork cannot be filed on them until after the election. Alaska ethics committee for the legislative representatives has a closed period two month before the primary until the General Election. This is to keep people from using it for political advantage. So after the election there are more revelations to come and some are worth more than 4000.
Just for the record I have nothing to do with this effort but have been told about it in general terms. I do not know who the people are who will be filed against and would not reveal those names here in any event. There is a process and it should be respected. However, the three people named above have amended their forms but that may not let them off the hook. They failed their public responsibility to disclose.
270ti, bad ethics and broken laws that jeopardize and misrepresent our sport fisheries should be scrutinized and demonized. You don't have to be a commercial fishermen to agree with that (I don't think anyone here is a commercial fisherman). FYI, last time it was a local sport fishing group that exposed KRSA's Kenai Classic ethic violations to the State's Attorney General, not commercial fishermen. And it is sport fishing's KRSA that continually attacks commercial fishing - in fact its Kenai Classic ex-leader Bob Penney currently has a lawsuit in the courts to exterminate commercial fishing.
SkwentnaMan, there is way more to this than simply a "free shirt and hat". I take it you have not informed yourself of the history, or at least the last ethic violation stint where the State's Attorney General slapped KRSA's Kenai Classic. Forget the "free shirt and hat" (which is actually several expensive embroidered fleece and gortex clothes and carry items), do you actually condone your State's ADFG Commissioner and your Legislators for supporting this organization - who's primary agenda is to exterminate commercial fishing and exploit the Kenai River to no end? Have you not seen the negative affects of their divisive, greedy, and politically driven agenda?
Cohoangler, if this was simply a fundraiser, then the Lt. Governor and the ADFG Commissioner could've just sent in a $4000 donation check. No, this is much more than a fishing trip, transportation, lodging, food, etc. It is a hob-knob between officials in charge of our fisheries and a divisive group with an agenda. It is exclusive and selective. Discriminate with favoritism. An effort by KRSA to align with influential officials who run our fisheries. BTW, the issue of the Lt Governor's daughter is not irrelevant. She was a big part of his recent campaign and fundraising efforts, she wants to pursue politics, and both her and the Lt. Governor benefited by attending. How many other kids her age were allowed to attend with free admission?...not any kids I know.
This one will play out. Regardless of the outcome, KRSA's Kenai Classic is full of underlying ethic problems and conflicts of interest. It is crooked. It serves us sport fishermen no good at all - unless you're a sport fisherman who wants to run the Kenai River into the ground full-throttle at the expense and extermination of others.
And that is exactly how those in the wrong will try to spin it. I don't know who is behind this effort, but I support the pushback - this whole event and the group it represents is crooked, and those who choose to associate with them (often for no other reason than political expediency) should mind their p's and q's. While I agree it sounds petty to focus on the gift bag and its exact value, the $4,000 waived entry fee is significant, I know there is much more to it than just a shirt and hat. Those Gulfstreams on the tarmac were hauling more than 6$ Goretex jackets. Right now the clothing is probably the only gift that can be proven without assistance from a governing authority. Good grief I have offered to buy political figures lunch before and they insisted on paying for their own meal to keep everything on the up-and-up. Surely a weekend of free hob-knobbing with the Jet-setters and potential political friends and doners should be reported.
Originally Posted by SkwentnaMan
When you say "sport fishermen", who exactly are you referring to? Certainly not my neighbor who takes his kids fishing. Oh, right, you mean the COMMERICIAL Guide and Charter fleet. Just be nice you say. Yeah, like that will work with the KRSA crew. Their whole goal is to kill commercial fishing in UCI. Their entire agenda is an attack on the commercial industry. TI, if you do run a charter boat you have more in common with a setnetter than you do a true sport fisherman. The guide/charter industry's failure to admit/acknowledge this is unfortunate and part of a larger problem.
Originally Posted by 270ti
This whole crew and their methods and means are a shining example of why these ethics laws must exist and should be enforced. Those guys are dirty and politicians should not want to touch them with a 10-foot pole, however for many the opposite is true - these guys have money and influence and until their corruption is exposed and penalized they will continue to bully their agenda through regardless of the cost to Alaskans.
Originally Posted by Funstastic
I wish I had good news to report but the Alaska Public Office Commission Director rules the following on gifts - The valuation of the "gear bag" that KRSA gives to attendees, based on the definition of gift found in AS 24.45.171 (6) (c) a gift "does not include informational or promotional materials" . Because KRSA embossed all of the items that have been valued in the gear bag with their name or logo these items do not qualify as gifts.
This was written by the Director and the finding will be appealed to the whole APOC board. It reeks of a lack of ethical standards and is one reason why Alaska ranks as the 7th most corrupt State in the Union. So no matter what the value of the items if one puts a logo on the item it no longer is a gift. Really? So I can give a political figure a car with my business logo on it and it no longer a gift? Or an expensive rifle with my logo on it and it is not a gift? These all could be considered promotional items if they have a logo. Also, if a public official wears expensive clothes given to them by a group is that official using their official position to promote the organization? Does this make sense to anyone with an ounce of ethics in their bones? I can see some limit or minimum value that does not have to be reported but the APOC director made this finding without any value limitation. Also, I would assume the statue refers to things like pens or paper or even a ball cap but not full rain gear, shirts, guns, knives, binoculars, etc.
So based on this Director we now have in Alaska a system of gift giving that is circumvented by putting a company logo on it. No reporting, no disclosure, nothing. Time to change Administrations and get a new Director or APOC. I doubt when the statue was passed this meaning was intended.
The finding by the same Director on the fee is even more weird. He claims the fee is not disclosed as being waived because KRSA has made them invited public officials and not registered participants. He has no knowledge of this since a registration form has to be filled out. Also, he claims that as public officials if they had to pay it would costs the State money and thus dissuading public officials from attending in the future. Wow. So now Exxon, BP, KRSA, or any other major corporation just has to say a public official is not a registered guest but invited and no disclosure of the fee waived or benefits provided. Remember public officials at the Classic fished, took gifts, had expensive dinners, sight seeing trips, lodging, and transportation. Again, how can a Director say this is not to be reported just because the organization paying for the influence of the public official says it does not charge them and it saves the State money?
We live in a very corrupt State and the above is why. Some think this is normal behavior. It is not and the Federal Gov and other States have much more strict laws or Directors who know how to read the law.
Do you respect the process? even if the outcome isn't what you think it should be?
Originally Posted by Nerka
The process is being followed with the appeal but the rejection did not follow the process. It was done by the Director without staff review and in point of fact is contrary to what staff told the parties before they filed. Process with this Administration is walked over all the time. If a fair process then I will accept the ruling but work to change it. The question is still out there about gifts not being gifts if a company logo is on it.
Originally Posted by yukon
I believe in this case there is more to the story. The Director rejected all the claims except three. Why those three. If the gift bag is not a gift and participation is part of official duties what did Cora, Treadwell, and the DNR director do wrong? They amended their complaint to correct an error. So it appears the ruling was selective and not consistent between claims.
So we will see what the full APOC board rules. Directors making unilateral decisions have historically been found to have higher error.
What's funny is that the deck has been stacked soooo in favor of comm fish interests in Alaska.. since statehood. To the point where fisheries are allowed to be very dirty in the name of $. Now everybody is in an uproar over a t-shirt. Lets go ahead and scrutinize every comm fish dealing with politicians! Think they'll find more than a t-shirt?
Perhaps. But based on the most recent posts, the phrase "People who live in glass houses ought not throw stones" comes to mind.
Originally Posted by Nerka
If I'm starting to sound like Marcus, there's a reason.......
You sure do not understand the politics of this State with this comment. Commercial fishing interests are probably not clean either in some areas but as my mother said two wrongs do not make a right. Maybe you should deal with the issue at hand and not try to dismiss it as something less than it is. The buying of political favors with gifts is serious business and you forget the 4000 fee is waived. But that is not the point - they main point is that now any gift with a logo is not a gift. If that meets your requirement of ethical behavior so be it - I think I have a higher bar to cross.
Originally Posted by 270ti