Wednesday, 23 June 2010

$193 million given to oil and gas explorers in Alaska - will the recipients ever be revealed?

Regular readers of our blog will remember that Sarah Palin has a special interest in oil and gas explorers. Heck, you could even say that she "hearts" them - special visits with overnight stays to their homes in Giddings, Texas, included, for example in June 2009!

Republican vice presidential candidate Palin blows a kiss to her family during her address at the 2008 Republican National Convention in St. Paul

In return, the oil and gas exporers in Giddings immediately "hearted" Sarah back and made huge donations to SarahPAC on June 13, 2009:

SarahPAC donations Giddings

Regina described these facts and highly suspicious connections in Giddings in detail in February 2010 in a groundbreaking post, which was written in close collaboration with our brilliant readers EyeOnYou and austintxx, who provided essential parts of the research (please read Regina's post to get the full background).

This is another story the MSM has missed so far - amongst several others, as we all know.

But it's never too late.

On April 30, 2010, Sarah Palin appeared at the "palin4life" event in Dallas - an appearance which was extensively covered here on Palingates. Guess who Sarah Palin visited AGAIN during this new trip to Texas? Her friends in Giddings! Palin even mentioned this fact in her "secret" speech (the media was barred from attending) at the palin4life event in Dallas, as we know first-hand from somebody who was in the audience that evening.

The palin4life event in Dallas was in general not very remarkable, however, one interesting fact to note is that Palin entered the room only after the audience had spoken their prayers. Sarah was apparently not very keen to pray together with them...

Back to the oil and gas explorers:

What are the roots of Sarah's "love" of oil and gas explorers? Where did it all start? I am afraid that we don't have the answer yet. Anyone's input is highly appreciated.

However, we are trying to discover more facts, step by step, and we are not alone in our efforts.

To be more precise:

On July 10, 2009, one month after the donations of Sarah Palin's friends in Giddings, the State of Alaska, Department of Revenue, published the following press release:
Alaska Supports Oil & Gas Investment

Department of Revenue released today the amount of refundable oil and gas tax
credits under ACES for the fiscal year 2009.

Fifteen new oil and gas explorers received $193 million in cash from the state of Alaska for their oil and gas tax credits earned through the investments they made exploring for and developing new oil and gas fields in the state. Of this amount, $19 million was for credits under the Exploration Incentive Credits program (EIC) and $174 million was for capital investments credits under the ACES production tax system.

In addition, hundreds of millions of dollars in ACES tax credits were taken by
companies already producing oil and gas in Alaska who have made new additional
investments. These tax credits were used by the companies as offsets to their tax
liabilities, and did not require payment from the state.

Screenshot Alaska Press Release 193 million tax credit

After we published our revelations about the Giddings connections in February 2010, this "refundable" cash payment by the State of Alaska suddenly appeared in a completely new light.

The State of Alaska keeps the recipients of these funds secret. Why? God knows! But it's the people of Alaska who are ultimately paying for it!

However, we were not happy with this situation. We can now reveal that Andrée McLeod, the famous Alaskan watchdog, who without fear and with great endurance pursues the scandals of the Palin administration, filed a FOIA request to the State of Alaska on March 19, 2010, which reads as follows:

Dear Commissioner Galvin and Director Garnero.

Pursuant to Alaska Statute 40.25.110, I request the names and amounts of the fifteen (15) new oil and gas explorers who received $193,000,000.00 in cash from the State of Alaska for their oil and gas credits earned through the investments they made exploring for and developing new oil and gas fields in the state, as stated in your July 10, 2009 press release. (July 10, 2008 presser attached.)

I also request copies of the warrants used to transfer these $193,000,000.00 to these fifteen (15) new oil and gas explorers.

If this information is not available or maintained in your office, please let me know what department I must contact to get this information and the name of the person who maintains that information.

And lastly, this information would be acceptable if scanned and sent electronically.

Thank you for your time and attention on this important matter.
Andrée McLeod

With letter from March 26, 2010, Commissioner Galvin DENIED the request.

In response, Andrée McLeod submitted a new letter which reads as follows and which is believed to be in full accordance with the requirements for this particular FOIA request:

Dear Commissioner Galvin.

I’m in receipt of your reply where you’ve denied my request below, citing AS 40.25.100(a), AS 40.05.230 and AS 40.25.120(a)(4).

Let’s put aside my request for the amounts and copies of warrants of the $193,000,000 public dollars that were dispersed to the 15 oil and gas explorers for the moment….Am I to understand that you refuse to even provide the names of the 15 oil and gas explorers who received $193,000,000 dollars of our public dollars, as stated in your July 10, 2009 press release?

Thank you for your time on this important matter.

Andrée McLeod

Commissioner Patrick Galvin answered on April 8, 2010:
Ms. McLeod,

I am currently seeking advice from the Department of Law on the extent of my discretionary authority on this matter. Taxpayer confidentiality statutes are extremely broad, and the Department treats them very seriously. Penalty for disclosing confidential taxpayer information includes a personal fine and/or imprisonment for up to 2 years.

Once I have been advised of my authority to satisfy your request, I will respond directly.

AK Commissioner Pat Galvin
Commissioner Patrick Galvin

What happened since then? Not much!

But Andrée McLeod, who has had many unpleasant experiences with the State of Alaska since the start of her investigations into the Palin administration and who is with good reason Sarah Palin's "enemy No 1" in Alaska has not lost her fighting spirit and wrote on May 11, 2010 to Commissioner Galvin with a reminder, and after nothing happened, wrote a forceful letter on June 18, saying the following:
Dear Mr. Galvin.

Still have not heard back on this. It certainly is not a sign of good public stewardship to hand out $193,000,000 state dollars under such a cloak of secrecy.

Are we any closer to making public the names of the 15 oil and gas explorers who received 193,000,000 of our State of Alaska public dollars in cash, as stated in your July 2009 press release? (attached)

Why does this governor insist on keeping the names of the 15 oil and gas explorers who received 193,000,000 of our State of Alaska public dollars in cash, as stated in the attached July 2009 press release?

Are legislators in accord with the secretive manner that the Palin/Parnell administration has doled out $193,000,000 of our public dollars, as stated in the attached July 2009 press release? Silence is consent.

Andrée McLeod

Does the State of Alaska care?

What are the reasons for the secrecy?

Are Sarah Palin's friends in Giddings the same who received the cash from the State of Alaska?

Why is the media in Alaska not looking into this?

So many questions and no answers so far.

Let's keep the pressure up and let's uncover the truth, step by step.

As I said above, I would like to encourage everyone to start to look into these matters. We just know that there are some inconvenient truths hidden somewhere.

We are eternally grateful to Andrée McLeod for her initiative, energy and accomplishments, and we will be writing again soon about another endeavour she is undertaking.

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