From Kyle Hopkins in Anchorage --
This week, we ran a story about political polls paid for by Veco. In the story, pollster David Dittman said that as best as he can remember, former Gov. Frank Murkowski’s chief of staff, Jim Clark, had him bill a $20,000 poll to the company.
Yesterday, the editorial staff ran an opinion piece about the poll.
Clark called this morning with a prepared statement on behalf of himself and Murkowski.
“The allegations in the editorial are unfounded. Neither Gov. Murkowski nor I instructed David Dittman to do a poll and bill it to Veco. APOC reports show that the Murkowski campaign paid Dittman $102,000 during the primary campaign.”
(Clark had declined to comment for the original story.)
After talking to Clark, I called Dittman and read him the statement.
“Wow,” he said. “Wow, wow, wow. Geez, I hate to get into this …”
I asked if the statement from Clark and Murkowski is true.
“No,” he said.
A moment later he added: “The best way to say it is, that’s not the way I remember it.”
Dittman said he and Murkowski have been friends for 30 years and that in his view, there was nothing wrong with the poll.
He said he remembers conversations with Clark about billing Veco. “There were conversations… as I remember it. That’s what I was suggested to do. And that’s what we did do.”