Former Gov. Bill Walker lands at political ally’s law firm

Former Alaska Gov. Bill Walker talks strategy with one of his economic advisers on a trade mission to China last year. (Photo by Rashah McChesney/Alaska’s Energy Desk)

Former Alaska Gov. Bill Walker has a new job.

Walker, an attorney, this week joined the law office formerly known as Brena, Bell and Clarkson. The firm has changed its name to Brena, Bell and Walker, according to a document filed Friday in a federal case.

The “Clarkson” deleted from the name is Kevin Clarkson, who left his job to work as attorney general for Walker’s successor, Republican Mike Dunleavy.

Walker, 68, is a Republican-turned-independent who was elected governor in 2014. He suspended his campaign in last year’s gubernatorial race after his lieutenant governor, Democrat Byron Mallott, resigned.

Before he was elected, Walker and his wife, Donna, ran their own law firm, where they represented the city of Valdez, along with the Alaska Gasline Port Authority — a municipal entity that was promoting construction of a gas line from the North Slope to Valdez.

After Walker was elected, the firm was sold to Robin Brena, who also works on oil and gas law.

Walker, in a phone interview Friday, said he expects to resume doing work for Valdez, though he declined to identify other potential clients.

“Since I came out of law school, my focus has been on municipal law and helping municipalities with their legal, economic development issues and opportunities. So I’ll be doing that,” he said. “On the oil and gas side, I’ve certainly been involved in that, and I’ll continue that, as well.”

State corporate records show that Brena has been the sole owner of Brena, Bell and Clarkson. Walker declined to say whether he would become a part-owner of the firm.

Brena was a strong political supporter of Walker’s, donating tens of thousands of dollars to political groups that backed the governor’s campaign, and candidates and causes aligned with him.

While Walker has re-joined the private sector, he also hasn’t completely closed the door on his political career. In February, he reported transferring $47,099.53 into an account for a potential future political campaign.

“I’m not sure there’s anything to read into that at this point. My focus is on ways I can help clients, help local governments, help Alaska progress forward in a positive way,” he said. Seeking elected office, he added, “is not anything I’m posturing for, at this point.”

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