Governor gives contract to former campaign manager

JUNEAU (AP) —Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s office has issued a consulting contract to a former Dunleavy campaign manager who later served as a staffer to the governor for up to $50,000 in part to advise the administration on what legal fights to pursue against the federal government.

The contract with Strategic Synergies was signed in April and released by Dunleavy’s office last month. Brett Huber is listed on the contract as the firm’s sole owner. The contract runs through Oct. 24.

Alaska has long had a contentious relationship with the federal government over lands and resource development and other issues. The state has a history of pushing back in areas where it thinks the federal government is overreaching.

Huber was Dunleavy’s campaign manager in 2018 and an aide to Dunleavy following the Republican’s election. Huber went on the manage an unsuccessful campaign in 2020 against a voter initiative that ended party primaries and instituted ranked choice voting for general elections.

He was brought back to the administration last year as a state employee, a senior policy adviser for “statehood defense.”

Huber left state government on April 2, said Patty Sullivan, a Dunleavy spokesperson. She said by email that Huber was selected for the contract because the work is similar to what he was doing as a state employee and is “beyond the ability of a line attorney at the Department of Law to perform.”

The contract calls for research and consulting on the “broad issue of ‘Statehood Defense.’” Among other things, it calls for meeting with Dunleavy’s chief of staff and other employees on “key Alaska defense issues,” researching federal laws and regulations related to Alaska lands and providing recommendations for legal action “to protect Alaska.”

Huber said he “transitioned from state employment to working contractually on these issues because it made more sense for me personally and for the state.”

Strategic Synergies is also working for “A Stronger Alaska,” a group funded by the Republican Governors Association, which seeks to elect and reelect GOP candidates to their states’ top offices.

 

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