Campbell supports Palin's stimulus veto

To-be lieutenant gov. says federal money is a bribe toward programs

Posted: Wednesday, July 22, 2009

ANCHORAGE - The man set to become Alaska's next lieutenant governor said he agrees with Gov. Sarah Palin's veto of federal stimulus money for energy-related projects.

Military and Veterans Affairs Commissioner Craig Campbell will become acting lieutenant governor on Sunday when Palin leaves office and the current lieutenant governor, Sean Parnell, ascends to the top spot.

At a confirmation hearing, Campbell compared the money to a bribe.

"I do consider that when the federal government offers money and then says, 'but you have to now implement programs that the citizens of Alaska may not want to do,' they are bribing you towards a program," he said Monday in response to a question from the House Judiciary Committee.

Palin initially said she would not accept about one-third of the $930 million Alaska was eligible for under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, citing "strings" that could bind the state to federal mandates and increase the size of government.

Legislators said few strings exist and passed a bill accepting all federal money. Palin accepted all the stimulus funds except for $28.5 million in energy cost relief, saying it would require her to entice communities to adopt building codes.

The Alaska Legislature will convene Aug. 10 in a special session to consider overriding the veto. Despite his opposing view on the stimulus money, legislators say Campbell is likely to be confirmed at the same special session.

"If the Legislature believes that the strings aren't significant and they want to override the veto, I would not be arguing against that," Campbell said.

Campbell was appointed to his current job, which includes commanding the Alaska National Guard, by then-Gov. Frank Murkowski in 2003. Campbell praised both governors.

"The policies of Gov. Murkowski, the policies of Gov. Palin, I support; I think they've been good governors," he said. "Not on every issue, but I think they've been good governors."

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