Non-partisan gubernatorial candidate Bill Walker (William M. Walker) today thanked William C. Walker for stepping forward and identifying himself as the author of a 2004 letter to the editor of the Anchorage Daily News, signed, “Bill Walker, Anchorage.” Grover Norquist and his group, “Americans For Tax Reform (ATR), had criticized candidate Walker for apparently advocating a state income tax. Not only did candidate Walker not write the letter, it was satirical in nature and suggested a state income tax was, in fact, absurd.
“Alaskans have had enough of Outside politicians telling them what to think and how to vote,” Walker said, “and when these groups evidence a reckless disregard for the truth, their motivations are even more suspect. In light of the true author of the letter stepping forward, I renew my request for this organization to immediately remove its post referencing me and my campaign, and for the Parnell campaign to acknowledge that these attacks are without merit.”
When the article critical of candidate Walker appeared on the ATR web page last week, Walker’s campaign contacted ATR’s DC office to point out its error in attributing the comments to the candidate, but the group persisted in its erroneous attack. Legal counsel for the Walker/Mallott campaign sent the group a cease and desist letter demanding removal of the letter.
In a post on his own blog page (https://heyiwrotethat.blogspot.com/), letter writer William C. Walker took credit for the 2004 missive, and said it was entirely in jest. “I found the idea of both permanent fund dividends and a state income tax to be such an absurd idea that I wrote a satire proposing it,” William C. Walker wrote. “[The letter] was originally titled “A Modest Proposal” after Jonathan Swift’s 1729 satire where Swift proposes the absurd idea of the impoverished Irish selling their babies as food for the rich.”
In its zeal to attack candidate Walker, Norquist’s group was apparently unable to recognize the letter as satire.
Walker spokesperson Lindsay Hobson added,”we have shown ATR’s assertions to be factually incorrect, and we expect them to remove the offending web post and issue a retraction, if not a full-fledged apology. This sort of last-minute dirty trick has no place in Alaska electoral politics. This is shameful even in the midst of an already underhanded campaign season. Bill Walker and Byron Mallott remain committed to their clean, honest campaign, focused on issues critical to Alaskans.”