From Kyle Hopkins in Anchorage --
In the fall of 2006, Sarah Palin had just trounced former Gov. Frank Murkowski in the Republican primary and was fighting a three-way battle in the general election for governor.
Palin’s campaign was rooted in her image as anti-establishment Republican funded by a grassroots campaign.
So when the D.C.-based Republican Governors Association began running ads attacking Democratic candidate Tony Knowles and praising Palin, opponents cried foul, accusing her of being a hypocrite for leaning on outside money.
Critics wondered about one scene in the ad in particular: Palin striding from the Hotel Captain Cook. How did the RGA get that footage, they wondered, if the soft-money group is forbidden from coordinating its campaign with Palin? The Alaska Democratic Party accused Palin of illegally coordinating with the RGA.
In his book, Bailey now says the allegation was true.
Palin and her aides had walked through the hotel doors again and again in order to allow a camera operator to capture footage for the ad, he said. “Sarah conducted multiple takes and knew exactly what was happening. She had, I suddenly believed, broken the law."
“Not only that, but did so in the pursuit of what was a negative ad, ripping our opponent," Bailey wrote. "We promised a hundred, hundred times to run a positive campaign, no matter the political consequences. How could this be? We were the good guys. Suddenly nothing made sense in my world. If this wasn’t dirty politics as usual, what was?"
Bailey writes the Rep. Bill Stoltze, R-Chugiak, called him before the primary election saying he had “people who will help” Palin in the general election campaign. After Palin’s victory over Murkowski, Stoltze told him his friends were with the RGA and could provide hundreds of thousands of dollars in aid, according to Bailey's manuscript.
Stoltze encouraged Bailey to contact the RGA through Alaska lobbyist Kris Knauss, Bailey writes.
Bailey said he balked at working with the RGA but says former Palin aide Kris Perry was apparently an “enthusiastic ally” for the association.
Perry told Bailey to “walk with me and act normal” when they strode to and from the Captain Cook again and again for the scene that would late appear in the RGA commercial, Bailey says.
Perry appeared to be acting on a signal across the street, Bailey wrote. “As if on a rotary where the traffic is too heavy to escape, we went around and around, over and over. In and out, back and forth. Five, maybe six times we circled.”
Stoltze aide Darrell Breese said this afternoon that Stoltze had not yet read the chapter in question and wanted to see it before commenting. Perry and Knauss could not be reached for comment.
The Alaska Public Offices Commission in 2007 fined the RGA $2,350 for TV spots it ran during the campaign. The commission said ads broke campaign disclosure rules that say groups like the RGA could run “issues” ads, but not ads that endorse a specific candidate.
But the public offices commission dismissed a complaint that Palin coordinated with RGA on the commercial, saying they didn’t have any evidence.