Rep. Gara: Alaska Senators Should Not Confirm Supreme Court Justice That Supports Unlimited Corporate Election Spending or Political Party Gerrymandering

Rep. Gara: Alaska Senators Should Not Confirm Supreme Court Justice That Supports Unlimited Corporate Election Spending or Political Party Gerrymandering

Issues Likely to Be At The Fore In Coming years, Voters Should Not Have Their Voices Silenced By Outside Money and Political Party Legislative Districts

Anchorage – On Wednesday,
Representative Les Gara (D-Anchorage) sent a
letter to Alaska’s two U.S. Senators asking them to protect voters from being silenced by unlimited corporate and
group election spending, as well as political party gerrymandering of legislative district boundaries.

Much of the debate regarding Supreme Court Justice nominee Brett Kavanaugh has been focused on his views on important social issues. However, Rep. Gara believes two other major issues are likely
to come before the court that can shape and limit American’s rights to democracy for decades.

The U.S. Supreme Court will likely be asked to revisit the 5-4 Citizens United decision in 2010 to allow unlimited election spending by corporate and outside groups. A
study from the Wesleyan Media Project found that in the 2016 election roughly $1.8 billion in dark money was spent by corporations and groups
to influence the electorate. Much of that money was spent on negative ads that alienate voters.

“We shouldn’t allow corporations and outside groups to buy elections, and I hope our Senators understand the election money allowed by the Citizens United decision has drowned out the voices
of citizens and put the country’s elections up for sale to the wealthiest donors,” said Rep. Gara, who has previously raised the issue with Alaska’s Senators and introduced legislation to address unlimited campaign spending in Alaska.

Another issue that could soon come before the U.S. Supreme Court is the gerrymandering of legislative districts by political parties. In his
letter, Rep. Gara is asking Alaska’s U.S. Senators to oppose any nominee that will uphold the discredited practice
of drawing state and federal legislative districts in a manner that benefits the political party in power. This year, Rep. Gara attempted to change this in Alaska through House Joint Resolution 26. However, the resolution required two-thirds of the Alaska
Legislature to vote for a Constitutional Amendment. Unfortunately, there was not enough support to pass the measure this year. As a result, Alaska remains one of roughly 40 states that allows the political party in power to draw partisan district lines to
keep the majority party in power.

“Voters have a right to have their voices heard. The wrong Supreme Court justice will tip the balance so that unlimited election spending and partisan elections district lines will continue to
take away the voices of voters. Senators Murkowski and Sullivan need to admit that it’s wrong and make sure the next Supreme Court Justice does not become the deciding vote to continue these abuses. These are the most important issues facing our democracy
because they will determine whether citizens will have fair power to make election changes. If these issues are decided wrongly, they will damage our democracy for a generation,” said Rep. Gara.

For more information, please contact Rep. Les Gara at (907) 250-0106.

Rep. LES GARA

Finance Vice-Chair

Toll-Free +1 800 465-2647

STAFF:
Laura Chartier
Legislative Aide
+1 (907) 269-0106
Laura.Chartier@akleg.gov
Craig Tuten
Legislative Aide
+1 (907) 269-0106
Craig.Tuten@akleg.gov

Capitol: January-April

Address: Room 515 Capitol Bldg.
                 Juneau, AK, 99801
Phone: +1 907 465-2647
FAX: +1 907 465-3518
Email: rep.les.gara@akleg.gov

Anchorage: May-December

Address: 1500 W Benson Blvd, Rm 414
                 Anchorage AK, 99503
Phone: +1 907 269-0106
FAX: +1 907 269-0109
Email: rep.les.gara@akleg.gov