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Chamber: Sullivan Accepts Outside Millions Won’t Agree to Local Chamber Debate


ANCHORAGE- Dan Sullivan remains focused on gathering Outside money and support by welcoming the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to Alaska. Sullivan’s Ohio-based brother, Frank Sullivan, serves on the board of the organization which has already spent tens of thousands on attack ads in Alaska on Sullivan’s behalf.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce does not represent local Alaska chambers which were “mad as hell” when the DC-based group started running ads supporting Sullivan in April of this year. Anchorage Chamber of Commerce President Andrew Halcro asked the DC-based group not to run ads in Alaska and informed all Anchorage Chamber members the ads and endorsement do not reflect the views of the local chamber.

While Dan Sullivan holds an event with the U.S. Chamber, he is refusing to attend the Anchorage Chamber of Commerce’s U.S. Senate debate:


“In April local business organizations made clear that the DC-based U.S. Chamber of Commerce represents its own national political agenda, not the job creating agenda of local chambers. Dan still hasn’t committed to debate Mark Begich at the Anchorage Chamber of Commerce because he’s intent on using Outside groups and their ads to avoid telling Alaskans how he’s set on representing the Koch brothers Outside agenda. Mark Begich stands up for Alaskans and looks forward to meeting with local chambers around the state,” said Max Croes, Communications Director for Alaskans for Begich.

Here’s what local chambers across the state have been saying:

Headline: Alaska Public Media: “Chamber Comes Out Anti-Begich. That’s The U.S. Chamber.” [Alaska Public Media, 4/29/14]

Headline: KTUU: “Why Can’t the Chambers of Commerce Just Get Along?” [KTUU, 4/29/14]
Headline: Amanda Coyne Blog: “Halcro ‘Mad As Hell’ That U.S. Chamber Enters Alaska Senate Race.” [Amanda Coyne Blog, 4/29/14]

U.S. Chamber Ad Attempted To Insulate Sullivan From Carpetbagging Charges. “The Chamber is also airing ads in Alaska, backing former state Attorney General Dan Sullivan over Lt. Gov. Mead Treadwell and 2010 nominee Joe Miller. In the new ad, a narrator says Democratic Sen. Mark Begich sides with Washington, while Sullivan ‘is always fighting for Alaska’ — an attempt to insulate the candidate from carpetbagging charges.” [The Hill, 4/29/14]

U.S. Chamber Of Commerce Ad Attacked Begich And Supported Sullivan. “The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is the latest Outside group to launch campaign ads in Alaska’s U.S. Senate race. The national business lobby has a 30-second video spot running this week that hits Sen. Mark Begich and supports one of his Republican challengers, former Attorney General Dan Sullivan.” [Alaska Public Media, 4/29/14]

Anchorage Chamber Said It Had “No Affiliation” With U.S. Chamber. “Anchorage Chamber of Commerce President Andrew Halcro immediately issued a statement to say the U.S. Chamber of Commerce is a separate organization. ‘We just wanted to notify our members that these ads, which are identified as produced by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, have no affiliation with the Anchorage Chamber of Commerce,’ Halcro said.” [Alaska Public Media, 4/29/14]

Alaska State Chamber Said It Had “Nothing To Do With Those Ads.” “Likewise, the Alaska Chamber of Commerce says it doesn’t endorse federal candidates. The Alaska Chamber, though, IS a member of the U.S. Chamber. President Rachael Petro says the U.S. group notified her of the ad but says the Alaska Chamber had no input. We just have no opinion on this topic and we have nothing to do with those ads,’ Petro said.” [Alaska Public Media, 4/29/14]

Anchorage Chamber President Andrew Halco: “I Asked Them Not [To] Air This Commercial In This Market.” “The narrator has a melodramatic delivery not entirely unlike a Dan LaFontaine movie trailer. While it may blend with the many ads that are becoming familiar to Alaskans, it is upsetting to the nonpartisan Anchorage Chamber. ‘I asked them not air this commercial in this market,’ said Andrew Halcro, president of the Anchorage Chamber. ‘It’s more Outside money that has no place in Alaska politics. ‘It really creates a headache for us on the local level.’” [KTUU, 4/29/14]

Halco Said He Was “Mad As Hell” When He Heard About The Ad And Was “Sick And Tired” Of Outside Spending In Alaska. “Anchorage Chamber President Andrew Halcro was ‘mad as hell’ when he heard about the ad. When the U.S. Chamber recently told him in a conference call that it was thinking about getting involved, he implored them to stay away. The Anchorage Chamber is nonpartisan, and this puts it in an ‘untenable situation,’ Halcro said. Besides, he’s ‘sick and tired’ of third-party money coming into the state. Such ads ‘don’t add any value to the discourse, and suffocates any solution to the problems,’ he said.” [Amanda Coyne Blog, 4/29/14]

KCAW: Anchorage Chamber Immediately Distanced Themselves From U.S. Chamber Ads Attacking Begich. “When the US Chamber released the ad in April of this year, the Anchorage Chamber of Commerce — where Begich served as mayor for many years — immediately distanced itself. In a statement, Anchorage Chamber president Andrew Halcro wrote, ‘these ads… have no affiliation with the Anchorage Chamber.’” [KCAW, 6/25/14]

Sitka Chamber President: “We Don’t Endorse Candidates.” Reported KCAW in June 2014, “Sitka Chamber president Ptarmica McConnell said her board receives questions like this often, especially when the US Chamber visits. “We don’t endorse candidates,” she said. “Even though we’re members of the US Chamber, we’re our own Chamber.’” [KCAW, 6/25/14]

Sullivan’s Brother Frank Sullivan Was On U.S. Chamber Board Of Directors. “Sullivan’s older brother, Frank Sullivan, who runs the Ohio company that makes Rust-Oleum and other coatings, sits on the board of directors of the U.S. Chamber.” [Alaska Public Media, 4/29/14]