Alaskan Combat Military Veterans May No Longer Qualify For PFD, But Murkowski, Young & Begich Do

In a unanimous decision yesterday, the Alaska Supreme Court determined that former-Alaska Attorney General Wayne Anthony Ross’s son, an Annapolis graduate and active-duty Marine, no longer qualifies for an Alaska Permanent Fund Dividend. As a result, his minor children also lose their Permanent Fund Dividends.

This decision was reached even though there is no dispute that Lieutenant Colonel Brian Ross has been a life-long Alaskan resident. He was born and raised in Anchorage. After graduating from Service High School in Anchorage, he attended the United States Naval Academy.

Wayne Anthony Ross told Restoring Liberty that his son “graduated as the top Marine applicant of the Class of 1994. He served in Iraq three times. He always continued to maintain himself as an Alaskan resident, registering his cars, voting, keeping his Alaska driver’s license and hunting licenses here. He owns land and a lodge herein Alaska and has returned home almost every year. He intends to return home here after getting out of the Marine Corps.” Mr. Ross said that, in 2012, his son returned to Alaska three times.

Unfortunately for LTC Ross, who entered active duty in 1990, our ethically-challenged state legislature decided in 1998 that Alaskan residents who have been absent from the state for more than ten years should no longer qualify for an Alaska PFD. Exceptions were made for our royal congressional class (at the time Senator Murkowski, Senator Stevens, and Representative Young), their immediate families, and even their staff, but no exception was made for Alaskan military veterans deployed outside of the state.

Mr. Ross argued that this different approach for congressional members and their families was a violation of equal protection. Obviously, if the legislature is willing to permit Senators and our lone Representative to continue to collect the PFD even though their residences have been in the Beltway for far more than ten years, veterans deployed in the service of their country should have the same treatment.

The Alaska Supreme Court unanimously said “no.” This decision should come as no surprise given the fact that this same Supreme Court chose to ignore equal protection violations during the Miller-Murkowski senatorial race in 2010. There, our royal Senator received a hand count of her ballots while Mr. Miller’s vote result was established by a Diebold machine count even though it was an established fact that the Diebold machine count was inaccurate.

Our Supreme Court unanimously said that it did not matter that over 60% of all Alaskan votes (McAdams and Miller votes) were counted differently than Murkowski’s.

The Alaskan electorate needs to bring accountability to the Alaskan judiciary. And a tool to do that is available. It’s called the retention vote. Vote “No” this November.