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Oil industry opened the checkbooks to influence Alaska legislators

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Sean ParnellThe oil industry spent more than $1 million lobbying in Alaska as it tried to lower state oil taxes this year, including a $3,120 dinner in Washington, D.C., when the Alaska Legislature shut down for lawmakers’ “Energy Break” trip to the nation’s capital.

The spending, which ranged from wining and dining Alaska legislators to statewide advertising campaigns, came as the industry and Alaska Gov. Sean Parnell made a heavy but unsuccessful push to convince the Alaska Legislature to slash how much the state taxes the profits made by the oil companies.

“We consider our effort to inform Alaskans about the need for comprehensive oil tax reform as part of our mission as the business trade association for the industry in Alaska, so it is well worth the time and expense,” said Kara Moriarty, executive director of the Alaska Oil and Gas Association.

AOGA’s legally required disclosures with the Alaska Public Offices Commission include $144,147 in lobbying expenses through the first three months of the year. That is a period covering most of an Alaska legislative session dominated by the bruising debate over whether to lower oil taxes by up to $1 billion a year.

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