Sunday, April 02, 2006

Is the NPFMC even legit?

These questions came in from a reader, who obviously has been around the block up in Alaska. I've mostly been an observer of the Council process for 20 years, but I was the economist for the only strictly fishing bank in Alaska for a time. I have long pondered what is the source of their legitimacy. Then another reader said that Ted Stevens got conflict of interest deleted for the Councils in 1997. And if they are the only federal bodies that don't have to worry about conflict of interest, like the reader thinks, then maybe there are other federal rules that were broken to make it that way. Then you really have a red-headed stepchild.

From a reader:
Since Stephanie Madsen is Chairwoman of the North Pacific Fisheries Management Council, it is her obligation to set the highest ethical standards. I wish one of your readers would ask the following questions at theApril NPFMC meeting in Anchorage.

Who are your employers?-how much do you get in wages, etc. in total.? Did your income increase after AFA was passed? [American Fisheries Act 1999] Did you get a bonus/stock option for getting NPFMC to pass legislation to prevent any new buyers of crab in what is called Crab Rationalization.?

Did you have a corporation or LLP or LLC that gets any income from any source? Do you have a bonus/stock option with Trident Seafoods or any other processor? If you are successful in getting a similar[Ratz] bill thru in GOA, any bonus or special retirement plan?

Was any study done to calculate the value of the instant wealth given to Processors vs. the impact on crab fisherman? Who made the Cap on Crab Vessel Quota ownership higher for processors than for fishermen? Processors can buy up to 5%, while fishermen are capped at 1%, except for those grandfathered. What is the logic behind that?

Under AFA, have any Processors ever sold any Pollock rights to any independent fisherman? As a Lobbyist for Pacific Seafoods Processors Association, don't you have a conflict as Chairwoman of NPFMC, strongly advocating changing rules to favor one sector over another? Have you had legal advice, that allows you as an “employee” as opposed to as a registered lobbyist, to allow you to NEVER recluse yourself?

Do you discuss your agenda concerning NPFMC when you are attending theother boards you are on now? How many other boards and committees are you on ? While you have been a board member of the North Pacific Research Board, how many millions of dollars have been given away? Has NPRB given money/grants to any other groups you are member of?

Is North Pacific Research Board's approximate budget for 2006 $10,000,000.?
Do you think it might conflict the scientific groups that receive grants from your NPRB, when they might give valid testimony in front of your North Pacific Management Council if it differs with your interest?

Does NPRB supply many large grants to University of Alaska? Do you sit on other boards with employees of the University of Alaska? Has anyone from the University worked on studies for Ratz?

Is John Inani a board member? Are Frank Kelty and Arni Thomson advisors? Have you approved any funding by NPRB for lobbying? Has any of these lobbyists ever reclused themselves as required under the rules for advisors? Are there any members [fishermen] of North Pacific Research Board that are not strong lobbyists for Rationalization?

While you have been on the board, have you met the NPRB mission of membership “requirement for balanced representation across regions”? Were the "Conflicts of Interest and Reclusal" under section H. "Rules of Conduct" ever finalized?[ Not as of Oct 31st 2002]

Since your appointment to the Pacific Marine Fisheries Commission on 10/21/04, have you discussed with fellow board members Ben Stevens & Mckie Campbell, how to better lobby for Trident Seafoods, et al, efforts to Ratz the Gulf of Alaska Groundfish?

Did you advocate for Liz Cabrera for Advisor to PMFC? What was the intented lobby result of Pacific Marine Fisheries Commission by funding $100,100 mostly to Robertson, Monagle & Eastaugh in1998-2004.

Did you give any advice to the City of Unalaska on the $177,500 mostly spent [Robertson,Monagle & Eastaugh] on lobbying during 1998-2004?

Did you advise the Aleutian Pribilof Island Community Development Assn. to give $380,000, mostly to Robertson, Monagle & Eastaugh, to lobby for Ratz Opilio Crab being forced to be processed there (instead of Kodiak)?

As a lobbyist, did you help [John Inani ?] approve spending $152,200 of Alaska Fisheries Development Foundation funds on lobbyist Robertson, Monagle & Eastaugh? Why? Is it normal for Alaska Fisheries Development Foundation to spend such lobbying fees?

Why would the Alaska Groundfish Data Bank give $32,000 to the same lobby group? [R, M,&E ]
Have you lobbied groups or corporations on behalf of PSPA, prior to their testimony to your North Pacific Fisheries Management Council?

As an employee of Pacific Seafood Processors Association, do you advise or control it's PAC fund - Pacific Seafood Processors Political Action Committee (PSPAC)? How much have they paid out to Ted Stevens Foundation, Ben Stevens, Northern Lights PAC ?

As a Lobbyist do you advise other groups on funding, such as the $889,874 that Trident spent on lobbying in 1998-2004? [again mostly same group; R, M & E]

Did you know when you gave testimony to House, Labor & Commerce Committee on March 27th 2002, to allow seafood processors to subtract room & board from minimum wage workers ("processors are struggling to stay afloat," "Trident Seafoods expects impact of $5 million from this proposed bill"), that Trident Seafoods had on order a new French-built Falcon 50, 3 engine jet (approximate cost $48,000,000 without the interior)? (Jet is technically owned by Mariner Air LLC, tail #n573tr)

Have you flown to any NPMC meetings in this plane? Did you pay for it? Do you know of other council members flying to meetings in the Trident jet? Have you flown in American Seafoods Corporate 737 [$45 mill] jet? How many other council members use this jet?

Have you ever advised American Seafoods $780,000 lobbying effort? Have you flown at any time in any Corporate jet? Have you ever been present when other council members were offered a job by Processors,[Kevin Duffy][Dave Benton]?

Do you know whether Council member Doug Hoedel has sold F/V Peggy Joe to Trident on the condition that it's sale price will increase should Gulf Ratz go through? PSMFC holds all information collected on Bering Sea Crab Ratz, which allows you, Ben Stevens, and M.Campbell, as board members, the right to look at all info. colleted. Have you or any other members looked at individuals' financial data?

Have you sat in meetings with John Inani, Greg Baker, Barry Collier and Joe Plesha? If so, was legal antitrust advice discussed? Did you discuss the allocation of harvestable fish in any of these meetings? Have you ever ordered studies, that were not favorable to the outcome of Ratz, held from release?

STEPHANIE MADSEN, have you EVER allowed grant money to be spent by any group to look at the potential adverse impact of Rationalization?