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MEMO: The Facts About Attorney General Dan Sullivan

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 09/10/2023 CONTACT: Max Croes907-570-2065

ANCHORAGE — In response to U.S. Senate candidate Dan Sullivan’s most recent misleading claims, Alaskans for Begich is releasing the following memo outlining Dan Sullivan’s failed tenure as Alaska attorney general including a history of letting violent criminals off with light sentences, cutting bad deals on behalf of Alaskans and undermining the rights of Alaska Natives.


From: Alaskans for Begich, Campaign Manager Susanne Fleek-Green To: Concerned Parties Date: 9/10/2023 Subject: The Facts About Attorney General Dan Sullivan

Dan Sullivan’s disingenuous claims about his tenure as Alaska’s attorney general have repeatedly been found false, misleading or an outright exaggeration. The truth is that his real, failed record as attorney general doesn’t match the claims he makes on the campaign trail.In fact, a subsequent attorney general was forced to fix sentencing procedures used by Sullivan which resulted in light sentences and plea agreements.
And it wasn’t just his lack of leadership or results, but his attack on Alaska values that has landed Sullivan in hot water. Sullivan actively sued Alaska Native elder Katie John undermining Alaskans’ subsistence rights.
Most recently, Dan Sullivan has claimed he “stood up” to Wall Street in negotiating a pension deal for Alaskans. But after misrepresenting his record, he has been called out by teachers and public employees who believe Sullivan actually cost them billions of dollars by settling a lawsuit (for only twenty cents on the dollar) considered a winnable case. By comparison, the County of Milwaukee received twice as much as Alaska with $.45 cents on the dollar to Alaska’s $.20 on the dollar.

The Truth About Dan Sullivan’s Record as Attorney General:

Sullivan: “I’m Responsible For Everything That Happens In That Organization. . . . I’m A Big Believer In You Run An Organization, You’re Responsible For It.”

“Look, I’m responsible for everything that happens in that organization. I had over 240 attorneys, prosecutors. Every letter that goes out from that organization- every single letter- has the signature block Daniel S. Sullivan, Attorney General. Everything; every prosecutor, every motion, everything. . . . I’m a big believer in you run an organization, you’re responsible for it.” [Sullivan at Conservative Patriots Group, 3/27/14]

1. As Attorney General: Sullivan awarded violent criminals with light sentences

Sullivan “Promised Offenders Will Be Aggressively Prosecuted and Shown No Leniency.” As reported by the Anchorage Daily News, “Alaska ranks among the top five states for per-capita rates of domestic violence and the rate of Alaska women killed by a partner is 1.5 times the national average. Parnell’s attorney general, Dan Sullivan, promised offenders will be aggressively prosecuted and shown no leniency.” [Anchorage Daily News, 12/4/09]

Alaska Fell Short Of Properly Registering Sex Offenders Under Sullivan’s Leadership. “In the span of one hour the state reduces the charge against one sex offender and completely dismisses one against another sex offender. This comes after the governor and the state’s Attorney General vow to tackle the state’s sexual assault problem head one.” [KTVA, 3/11/10]

Department of Law Spokesman: “There Are Limited Resources…So You Have To Decide Which Offenders You’re Going To Go After.” As reported by KTVA, “‘In crimes, generally you have to make priorities,’ said Department of Law spokesman Bill McAllister. ‘You can only have so many jury trials. There are limited resources in the courts and in the department, so you have to decide which are the offenders that you’re going to go after, not offer deals and take them to trial.’” [KTVA, 3/11/10]

Sullivan’s Office Defended The Practice Of Letting Sex Offenders Off With Light Sentences. “While he served as Attorney General, it was revealed that AG Sullivan’s prosecutors were reducing charges against convicted sex offenders. His office defended this practice by saying the Department had limited resources and this was not a priority. Has the Party examined Dan’s apparent “softness” on issues regarding domestic violence when he was in a position to come down hard on these types of crimes?” [Former Alaska Speaker of the House Gail Phillips, Peninsula Clarion, 4/23/2014]

Department of Law Had to Reform Sentencing Policy After Sullivan’s Tenure, Said Prosecutors Would Not Negotiate Plea Deals For Serious Crimes and Domestic Violence. As reported by the Anchorage Daily News, “State prosecutors will no longer negotiate plea deals for lesser sentences for Alaskans accused of serious crimes and domestic violence, the Alaska Department of Law said Tuesday. The change of policy, which took effect Tuesday, bars plea bargains involving sentences for the most serious classes of felony cases, as well as all cases involving sexual assault, sexual abuse of a minor and domestic violence, said deputy attorney general Richard Svobodny.” [Anchorage Daily News, 7/23/13]

2. Sullivan left billions on the table in $2.8 billion pension lawsuit settling for $.20 on the dollar

2007: Alaska Filed Lawsuit Against Mercer Investment Company For $1.8 Billion After Bad Calculations Left State Pension Funds Underfunded. “As reported by the Juneau Empire, ‘The state of Alaska has filed a $1.8 billion lawsuit against the company it says is one of those responsible for an $8.4 billion shortfall in funds to pay employee retirement benefits. The state is claiming that Mercer, which it hired as an actuary to advise it on issues such as how much money it needed to put away for its public employee and teacher retirement plans, badly underestimated the amount. The state said Mercer even made math errors in its calculations [Juneau Empire, 12/7/07]

2010: State Increased Asking Damages Up To $2.8 Billion After Additional Errors Were Found. [Juneau Empire, 6/13/10]

Juneau Empire: “The State Is Giving Up Claims Potentially Worth Billions.” Reported the Juneau Empire in June 2010, “In exchange for the $500 million settlement, which will net the state $403 million after legal expenses and fees, the state is giving up claims potentially worth billions.” [Juneau Empire, 6/13/10]

Sullivan Called $500 Million Settlement from Mercer Inc. “Fantastic.” In June 2010, The Peninsula Clarion stated, “Alaska officials announced late Friday that they’d won a record actuarial malpractice settlement from a consulting firm they say knowingly gave bad advice to the Alaska Retirement Management Board, costing the state billions. Mercer Inc., the actuarial consulting subsidiary of the huge Marsh & McLennan Companies Inc. insurance brokerage firm, has agreed to pay $500 million to the state, Attorney General Dan Sullivan announced at an Anchorage press conference. ‘We think this is a fantastic settlement for the state,’ he said, adding that the previous record actuarial malpractice claim was $110 million.” [Peninsula Clarion, 6/15/10]

Sullivan’s Mismanagement Of The Deal And Inability To Return Sufficient Resources To The Pension Fund Put The Alaska Permanent Fund At Risk. “In Alaska, public employee pensions, such as those for teachers, are contractual obligations protected under the Alaska Constitution. If the retirement trust funds don’t have enough money available to make pension payments, other state assets, such as budget reserves or the Alaska Permanent Fund, may be tapped for that purpose.” [Alaska Dispatch News, 9/6/14]

3. Sullivan actively pursued lawsuits against Alaska Native rights and tribes

Dan Sullivan Sued Katie John And Tried To Undermine Subsistence Rights. “… Sullivan waged war on subsistence rights by carrying on the Katie John litigation and seeking to overturn a prior court decision affirming the federal government’s retained authority to manage subsistence fisheries in Alaska. As most Alaskans know, Katie John was a revered Ahtna elder who fought tenaciously to protect her right to subsistence fish on her Native allotment in the Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve.” [Heather Kendall-Miller, Alaska Dispatch News, 08/31/2014]

June 2010: Sullivan Filed 208-Page Legal Brief Appealing District Court Decision In Katie John Case. [Katie John et al v. State of Alaska et al – State of Alaska Opening Brief, filed 6/4/10]

Sullivan And His Hired Gun Made The Extreme Argument That The Tribal Court Had No Jurisdiction To Protect Its Own Village Children.” Fortunately, not only did Alaska lose that case, the state was later forced to pay Kaltag’s attorneys’ fees. Sullivan’s hostility to tribal sovereignty was palpable in the state’s brief, even when the welfare of a small child hung in the balance.” [Heather Kendall-Miller, Alaska Dispatch News, 08/31/2014]

State Senator Called State Intervention In Kaltag Case A “Slap In The Face” To Natives Of Alaska. As reported by the Anchorage Daily News, “‘The facts in Kaltag are this,’ said Wielechowski. ‘You had a mom who was convicted of murder and was a drinker. You had a dad who wanted nothing to do with the child. You had the Kaltag tribe that took custody of the child, adopted her to residents who lived in Huslia. All participants consented to the tribal court doing this, all were Native, no one raised any concerns about the due process provided by the tribal court. The child is 10 years old, happy and healthy with the family, and the state comes in and wants to stop this.’ ‘Quite frankly to the Natives of Alaska, I think this is a slap in the face,’ Wielechowski said.” [Anchorage Daily News, 3/11/10]

4. Sullivan settled secret deal with a Chicago accounting firm that lost personal information of 77,000 Alaska state employees while working on lawsuit

Under Sullivan’s watch, the state left 77,000 Alaska state employees vulnerable to a massive security breach. State employed Chicago accounting firm that lost “names, birth dates and Social Security numbers of 77,000 people” (Daily Newsminer, 01/30/2010).

Sullivan rushed to settle with Chicago firm, instead of pursuing lawsuit for the state security breach. In January 2010,KTVA stated, “Attorney General Dan Sullivan says the company has known about the breach since early December, but just informed state officials days ago. ‘Let’s just say when I heard about it, and they originally knew about it, I wasn’t- we weren’t pleased,’ Sullivan says. ‘And the initial phone call from me to PricewaterhouseCoopers wasn’t very pleasant.’ With the large volume of possible identity theft victims, the state felt making this announcement was the quickest way to distribute the information. ‘We wanted to get notice out to affected individuals as soon as we could, which from our perspective is really as much of a notice event as it is a press event,’ Sullivan says…With so many potential victims, instead of pursuing a lawsuit the state felt a settlement would more quickly bring justice to victims. [KTVA, 1/28/10]

Headline: “Alaska public employees union criticizes data loss deal.” (Associated Press 03/04/2024) Sullivan cut a bad deal for Alaska state employees who were victims of security breach - As reported by the Fairbanks Daily Newsminer, in a letter to the administration sent Thursday, the Alaska State Employees Association criticized the state’s settlement with PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP for being too passive and too limited Specifically, it wants the affected people to be automatically enrolled into the firm’s credit protection services, instead of being required to opt-in. The union also questioned why those services will only be available for a minimum of two years, though consequences of the data loss may pop up long after the services expire.(Associated Press03/04/2024)

Security breach came in the midst of of the failed effort to resolve the state’s claims against Mercer. In January 2010, a press release by Attorney General Sullivan stated, “The information on Alaska public employees and retirees originally was maintained by Mercer, the former longtime actuary for the state, who provided financial projections for the state’s retirement systems. The state is suing Mercer in connection with the services it had previously provided the state. As part of the discovery process in the lawsuit, a law firm representing the state requested Mercer’s modeling and analysis of the state’s future retirement obligations. This modeling information contained the personal data. In the ongoing litigation, the law firm then turned that information over to the state’s experts, PricewaterhouseCoopers, for use in evaluating Mercer’s actuarial models. In early December, PricewaterhouseCoopers discovered that the information was missing. The state was notified of PwC’s security failure last week and obtained the data files containing specific information about the Alaskans involved Friday. As soon as officials in the Department of Law became aware of this breach, they began intensive discussions and negotiations with PricewaterhouseCoopers regarding efforts to locate the missing information and to put in place protections for Alaskans.” [Attorney General Sullivan Press Release, 1/28/10]