Thought you might like to know
The thing about initiatives to fix this or change that – and always for our own good – is that too often they are merely the tools of what the late Washington Post columnist David Broder, in “Democracy Derailed,” described as “millionaires and interest groups” itching to advance their causes.
The idea is to get around the messy, acrimonious legislative process. With initiatives, there are no public hearings of any consequence, no vetting, no testimony, no oversight, no debate, no amendments.
Broder correctly concluded such petitions provide “lucrative business for a new set of political entrepreneurs” and are “alien to the spirit of the Constitution and its careful system of checks and balances.”
The “Save our Salmon” initiative appearing on November’s ballot appears to fit the bill.
Its top contributors include, according to a must-read piece in the Alaska Journal of Commerce:
“The Alaska Conservation Foundation, the Alaska Center (formerly the Alaska Center for the Environment), Cook Inletkeeper, the Wild Salmon Center and Salmon State. The initiative itself was crafted by environmental law firm Trustees for Alaska, which is well known for its legal activism against resource development in the state.
“According to campaign disclosures, about $730,000 of the $1.1 million in reported contributions to the effort are classified as non-monetary, with the Alaska Center topping the list at $357,000 followed by the Washington, D.C.-based New Venture Fund….”
The New Venture Fund, by the way, is not new to Alaska. It was heavily involved in the drive to link Permanent Fund applications to voters’ registration. Its self-stated goal is “to realize social and environmental change….” Its net assets in 2016 were more than $321 million.
InfluenceWatch points out, “Critics argue that New Venture Fund is a “dark money” organization, serving as a way for left-leaning groups to anonymously funnel money toward various advocacy issues, such as attacking vulnerable Republicans or pushing state-level environmental restrictions.”
Thought you might like to know.