An ethical lapse that has dogged Lisa Murkowski in the past is getting another look in the Alaska press,
It's a story familiar to most Alaska voters: In late 2006, U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski bought a 1.27-acre plot of land overlooking the salmon-rich Kenai River from Bob Penney, a developer and longtime friend of Murkowski's who gives heavily to congressional candidates. Though Murkowski and her husband paid $179,400 for the land, its appraised value according to the Kenai Peninsula Borough, critics said the sale was a "sweetheart deal" between a powerful lawmaker and a businessman looking to buy influence.
This scandal isn't the only ethical problem that could harm Murkowski's write in bid.
Murkowski's office wasted no time in shaking down federal contractors who have a stake in having a grateful Senator from Alaska who is the ranking minority member on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.
Less than an hour before Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski planned to announce a write-in campaign to retain her seat, her top aide e-mailed scores of the most prominent lobbyists in Washington to ask them to join a Saturday conference call with the senator.
Murkowski plea for money was a request most corporations with interests that could be affected by the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee couldn't afford to refuse.
More data are in concerning the new Super PAC, Alaskans Standing Together, formed to back Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaksa) in her write-in re-election bid for Senate. The group’s FEC filings reveal that all nine of its contributors are Alaska Native corporations that have previously secured business through federal contracts. The Sunlight Foundation notes that one of the donors even says as much in a press release:
In a press release by NANA Regional Corporation, one of the donors to Alaskans Standing Together, the company acknowledges her record of "securing funding for [...] infrastructure improvements" and committment to resource development, such as oil and gas—major factors for economic stability of Native Americans in Alaska.
Politico has the story too:
Big Coal lead the charge to help Murkowski.
Since 2009, Murkowski has received about $177,000 in campaign contributions from the coal industry and electric utilities that burn the black rock, even though there is little coal mining in the state of Alaska. The money, which came from political action committees in the industry, makes up over 11 percent of the total she has received from PACs during that time.
Critics say Murkowski's donations from the coal industry are an example of special interests influencing Alaska's senior senator, now fighting an uphill battle as a write-in candidate after losing the Alaska GOP primary last month.
Coal is usually seen as a competitor to natural gas from Alaska. With outside interests lining up as Murkowski's benefactors to pull her career back from the political grave, Alaskans have legitimate questions who she would repersent in Washington D.C.