Other Group

Defend Our Constitution

Website:

defendakconstitution.com/%20

Location:

Anchorage, AK

Type:

Single-issue advocacy group

President/CEO:

Bruce Botelho

Formation:

2021

Defend Our Constitution is an Alaska-based single-issue advocacy group that opposes a state constitutional convention. [1] The group is officially nonpartisan, but is led by prominent Democratic politicians. In addition, the group has ties to left-of-center special interest groups such as the Sixteen Thirty Fund, Arabella Advisors, and Planned Parenthood. [2]

Founding

Defend Our Constitution was founded in 2021 to oppose Alaska’s periodic referendum on whether to hold a constitutional convention. It was chaired by a Democrat, former Juneau mayor and state attorney general Bruce Botelho. [3] In addition, nine of the group’s board members were previous employees of Ship’s Creek Group, a Democratic-aligned consulting firm. [4]

Activities

The group funded and directed ad campaigns on television, radio, newspapers, and social media, as well as distributing mailers, fliers, and yard signs, in opposition to the ballot measure. [5] The measure was defeated by a margin of 69.8 percent to 30.2 percent in the 2022 midterm elections. By August 2022, Defend Our Constitution had spent $278,000 campaigning against the measure, compared to only $5,000 by the main pro-convention group, ConventionYes. [6]

Abortion featured heavily in the campaign, as the Dobbs decision raised concerns that a constitutional convention might be used to enshrine abortion restrictions in the state constitution. [7] Defend Our Constitution lists abortion provider Planned Parenthood as one of its partner organizations. [8]

Funding

Despite stating concerns about outside special interest groups as one reason for its existence, Defend Our Constitution listed D.C-based national organizations as its three top contributors: Sixteen Thirty Fund, a left-of-center funding intermediary, and two government-worker labor unions, the National Education Association and American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME). [9]

Sixteen Thirty Fund, which is managed by the left-of-center consulting firm Arabella Advisors, donated $500,000 to Defend Our Constitution in July 2022, accounting for 61 percent of all contributions to the group. [10]

References

  1. Defend Our Constitution. “About Defend Our Constitution.” Accessed November 11, 2022. https://defendakconstitution.com/about/ ^
  2. Hayden Ludwig. “DC Dark Money Pours into Effort to Block an Alaska Constitutional Convention.” Capital Research Center. September 6, 2022. https://capitalresearch.org/article/d-c-dark-money-pours-into-effort-to-block-an-alaska-constitutional-convention/ ^
  3. Mark D. Miller. “End of an Era as Botelho Prepares to Leave City Hall.” Juneau Empire. October 14, 2012. Archive accessed November 11, 2022. https://web.archive.org/web/20121015141955/http://juneauempire.com/local/2012-10-14/end-era-botelho-prepares-leave-city-hall#.UH0SHMVX0og ^
  4. Hayden Ludwig. “DC Dark Money Pours into Effort to Block an Alaska Constitutional Convention.” Capital Research Center. September 6, 2022. https://capitalresearch.org/article/d-c-dark-money-pours-into-effort-to-block-an-alaska-constitutional-convention/ ^
  5. Lisa Phu. “In Alaska, Voters Decide on Once-in-a-Decade Constitutional Convention Question.” Alaska Beacon. November 9, 2022. https://alaskabeacon.com/2022/11/09/in-alaska-voters-will-decide-on-once-in-a-decade-constitutional-convention-question/ ^
  6.  Hayden Ludwig. “DC Dark Money Pours into Effort to Block an Alaska Constitutional Convention.” Capital Research Center. September 6, 2022. https://capitalresearch.org/article/d-c-dark-money-pours-into-effort-to-block-an-alaska-constitutional-convention/ ^
  7. Lisa Phu. “In Alaska, Voters Decide on Once-in-a-Decade Constitutional Convention Question.” Alaska Beacon. November 9, 2022. https://alaskabeacon.com/2022/11/09/in-alaska-voters-will-decide-on-once-in-a-decade-constitutional-convention-question/ ^
  8. Defend Our Constitution. “Members and Endorsements.” Accessed November 11, 2022. https://defendakconstitution.com/members-endorsements/ ^
  9. [1] Defend Our Constitution. “About Defend Our Constitution.” Accessed November 11, 2022. https://defendakconstitution.com/about/ ^
  10. Hayden Ludwig. “DC Dark Money Pours into Effort to Block an Alaska Constitutional Convention.” Capital Research Center. September 6, 2022. https://capitalresearch.org/article/d-c-dark-money-pours-into-effort-to-block-an-alaska-constitutional-convention/ ^
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Defend Our Constitution


Anchorage, AK