Until an Alaska state lawmaker gets some answers about rumored nefarious political activities that Girl Scouts are involved with, he’s sticking to his guns and will not, not for all the Samoas in the world, let a resolution pass honoring the group’s 100 years of service.
That's the word from Rich Mauer with the Anchorage Daily News, who's been camping out in Juneau with the Alaska Legislature for a few weeks.
And Rep. Wes Keller isn't talking rumors about the scouts hanging out with elves. According to one website, the Girl Scouts are a tag-along to Planned Parenthood, a purveyor of radical feminism, tied to the World Bank, encouraging young girls to worship the moon goddess, using three syllables when pronouncing caramel, etc, etc, etc.
The resolution honoring the group was sponsored by Sen. Bettye Davis, D-Anchorage, and presented by her 21-year-old intern, Katya Wassillie, a senior at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. Poised and confident, Wassillie read a long list of Girl Scout successes to the House State Affairs Committee on Thursday.
She clammed up, however, when Keller, a Republican from Wasilla who took Vic Kohring’s seat when Kohring went away for a while, asked her about the rumors about the Girl Scouts.
Keller is vice chairman of the House State Affairs Committee. He was acting as chairman in Rep. Bob Lynn’s absence. "I'm sure you are aware of the information that's floating around the Internet, and I'd like to give you the opportunity to respond to your connection, the Girl Scout connection, with Planned Parenthood and the activist role in that -- is there a connection?” he asked. “Is there not? Frankly, I haven't looked into it, but I see it's out there. I just wondered if you want to make a statement on that," Keller said.
Davis, visibly upset, stepped in and said she had no comment about the rumors. She did take Keller to task for laying this on her without a heads up. Davis, who has never been a Girl Scout, either wasn’t aware of or didn’t follow the Girl Scout’s motto: "Be Prepared." Keller said he was going to hold up the resolution until he got answers.
In a press release sent out following the exchange, Keller defended his actions. “Unlike Congress, we tend to try to know as much as possible about every bill we are going to vote for or against before it passes,” he said.
Kohring, contacted by email, said he respects Keller, but "tying Planned Parenthood into the Girl Scouts goes a bit too far. Perhaps some within the Girl Scout organization are pro-choice, but if so, it's their business in my view," he said.
He also reminded this reporter about how the Girl Scouts had previously provided fodder for controversy in Juneau. Then, the issue was oil taxes, and oilman Bill Allen was the government's star witness in the federal corruption scandal that rocked Juneau. Allen, working on behest of the oil companies, pleaded guilty to bribing lawmakers to keep taxes low.
Kohring was one of those lawmakers. In March 2006, the FBI caught on tape a conversation with Kohring and Allen about Easter and a Girl Scout uniform for Kohring’s daughter.
Kohring, whose daughter lived in Oregon, was excited to go see her for Easter. Allen pulled out a wad of cash for Kohring to put in plastic Easter eggs.
Here's a snippet of the dialogue that was played in the Anchorage federal courtroom in 2007:
“We're going to have an Easter egg hunt right at the house, and I'll put money in, I promise ... and she'll be thrilled. I just sent her some money for her mom to buy her a Girl Scout uniform. She's thrilled about that, and I sent her a card telling her about how much I love and miss her and 20 bucks was included in that and ...”
Allen interrupted: “All right, well then, let me help you on her little uniform.” He reached for his wallet, pulled out money and handed it to Kohring, who thanked him profusely.
“On the uniform,” Kohring repeated. “The money I sent was a little short, so thank you. Said she needs about $100. I appreciate that, Bill, thank you so much."
Gov. Sean Parnell, by the way, supports the resolution. His spokeswoman, Sharon Leighow -- who doesn't herself eat cookies --said that the governor has a particular fondness for Thin Mints and has bought more than 10 boxes this year.
One of the few things Kohring and Parnell have in common is that Kohring also loves Thin Mints.
Watch the exchange here, starting at about minute 103.
Contact Amanda Coyne at amanda(at)alaskadispatch.com