Did Lisa Murkowski Cheat on Her Fifth Attempt to Pass the Alaska Bar Exam?

In October 2010, McClatchy News Service reported that Senator Lisa Murkowski failed the Alaska Bar Exam four times, and only passed on her fifth try after receiving help from PMBR, a company that offers courses on how to pass the bar.

The story went on to report how Lisa Murkowski subsequently went to work for PMBR, helping other students struggling with the bar exam.

What the press failed to report is that the very company Lisa Murkowski received assistance from, and later worked for, was slapped with an $11.9 million judgement against them for “copyright infringement” and “unfair business practices.” In other words, they cheated.

The judge found that questions on the Multistate Bar Examination were illegally obtained and used by PMBR in direct violation of copyright law. This illegally obtained information was then used to assist clients to pass the exam. The National Conference of Bar Examiners filed the suit against PMBR creator and CEO Robert Feinberg and Dona Zimmerman for a 2003 incident in Anchorage, Alaska, after Feinberg and employee Dorothy Benson were caught carrying notes on the Alaska Bar Exam out of the testing room. This initiated a broader investigation by the NCBE, resulting in legal action.

As the founder and CEO of PMBR, Robert Feinberg’s direct involvement in this scam raises disturbing questions relating to Lisa Murkowski’s involvement with her former boss, and whether she ever legitimately passed the Alaska Bar.

After failing the bar exam on four previous occasions, did Lisa Murkowski cheat on the fifth try? And more disturbing, did she then spend the next several years assisting others to cheat?

In some cases, PMBR reported success rates as high as 90% compared with the average success rate of 53%. Clearly, those using this fraudulent company were advantaged in an unfair way.

Alaskans deserve to know whether their United States Senator writing laws in Washington has the basic competency required to practice law in her home state, and whether she unethically used and knowingly assisted in a fraudulent pay-to-play scheme that degraded her profession. It’s time for Lisa Murkowski to come clean.

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