What is This Billionaire Washington Insider Doing In Alaska?

David Rubenstein, co-founder and managing director of The Carlyle Group, and wife Alice Rubenstein sit for a photograph at the Kennedy Center Spring Gala in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Sunday, May 6, 2012. The annual Kennedy Center Spring Gala provides funding to support the Center's performances, education, and outreach initiatives. Photographer: Stephanie Green/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Alice Rubenstein, owner of Alaska’s largest newspaper the Anchorage Daily News, has been making a lot of moves in Alaska when it comes to politics and journalism. She first came on the media scene when she purchased Alaska Dispatch back in 2009 – an online news outlet that was founded in 2008.

Rubenstein has a lot of influence over the political narrative in the state. Not only is Rubenstein your typical Washington insider but she is also close with Barack Obama.

In fact, she hosted a private dinner for him two years ago in Alaska.

More about Alice Rubenstein.

From Anchorage Press:

Alaska Dispatch News owner Alice Rogoff Rubenstein has made dramatic changes to the face of news media throughout the 49th state. By no coincidence, she now wields even more political influence over Alaskan, American and global politics; she has enough power and money to win over candidates from pretty much every persuasion. But just who is Alice Rogoff Rubenstein and why is she shaping up to overtake policy making and journalism in the Last Frontier? That’s something every Alaskan should take notice of, because Alice and her inner circle have a vision for all of us, and it may not coincide with the vision the vast majority of residents have for the state’s future.

Alice’s reported path to Alaska was well within the range of normal. Supposedly in 2001 she visited the state and fell in love, then longed to return and call the place home. In reality her family’s dealings with Alaskan politics date back 20 years earlier, to the mid 1980s. Nonetheless Alice subsequently purchased a home on the Anchorage Hillside-one of many she owns and splits her time between. Her D.C. political connections are significant, and she has spent the majority of her life residing in Bethesda, Maryland. The island of Nantucket claims to hold her interest throughout the summer and she has a swank pad in the elite ski town of Beaver Creek, CO.

Alaska is more or less Alice’s playing field of private interests and in the last 10 years she has very much made herself at home here. For her own ulterior motives, she has been extremely vocal in wanting to do away with the permanent fund dividend distribution program. Last week she authored a commentary titled “Alaska will pay dearly if we don’t act on budget now” which was published in the ADN.

Oddly, Alice doesn’t talk about balancing the budget at all in her commentary, rather she presumes the state’s budget will be balanced by raiding the permanent fund. Instead the entire piece advocates reducing the PFD to $1,000 this year and further limiting payments for future years to come. Without legislative intervention this year’s PFD check will likely be close to double that amount. Alice’s concern is about the amount of money the fund will lose in terms of future compound interest if the 2016 dividend payout continues as scheduled. It is in essence a different way of saying the fund won’t gain as much in 10 years’ time if you plebeians take such a big cut of today’s earnings.

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Alice herself has not kept a balanced budget in any of her Alaskan endeavors thus far and it seems a little odd to be taking advice from someone who-using her words-clearly can’t keep her own house in order. She concludes the piece with this statement: “Legislators, there is no justification for wasting so much of our state’s precious savings” (by paying out the 2016 dividend according to schedule). It’s easy to dismiss the impact of the dividend as “wasted” throughout Alaska if you happen to be married to a multi-billionaire with a huge stake in the state’s wealth. It’s also ironic that she considers herself to be in “investment mode” as ADN continues to lose money hand-over-fist.

Take heed Alaska, this is far from over. There is way more going on here than most people realize and quantifying the complexities of it all would be a daunting task. Throughout the years the Rubensteins have set a precedent of slighting the people of the United States out of billions in tax revenues and hoarding their wealth for themselves. Their charity is directed at furthering their own self interests and largely lacks contributions to humanitarian causes, demonstrating little compassion for those less fortunate-or cunning-than themselves.