If Murkowski Cheated On Bar Exam, Why Not Cheat In An Election?

August 30, 2010

In 1987, after presumably taking and failing the admittedly difficult Alaskan Bar Exam several times, Senator Lisa Murkowski seems to have begun a long-term close relationship with a bar exam preparation company later hit with an 11.9 million dollar copyright violation judgment for wrongly acquiring currently in use bar exam questions to provide to exam applicants for a fee.

Documented by the public record below, some sources believe Murkowski was perhaps too caught up in the high-life at a heady restaurant, owned by husband Vern Martell in the 80s, to focus on passing the exam without cheating. I've heard reports that it was not uncommon to find lines at the night spot and Murkowski's social life may have impaired her judgment, willingness, or ability, to pass the bar legitimately in her younger days.

Murkowski's online bio documents the gap between her graduating law school and being admitted to the Alaska Bar, a time span in which the exam would have been available for taking four, or more times.

In 1985 she graduated with a law degree from Willamette University and became a member of the Alaska Bar Association in 1987.

Murkowski's status with the Alaskan Bar is inactive and it's believed she never actually practiced. While all of the information at this link can not be vouched for, credible sources in Alaska claim Murkowski became the state representative for PMBR in 1987. 

Current U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski was in charge of PMBR or Multi-State Section Alaska Bar Exam from 1987-98 until her father, Frank Murkowski, arranged for her to get a State House seat.

As documented in a complaint filed by the National Conference of Bar Examiners against PMBR in 2003 - (excerpted below in pertinent part) - it was actually an incident in Alaska that ultimately initiated the official filing. As documented in a page 1 story in a 2006 edition of The Gavel (pdf), the action resulted in an 11.9 million dollar judgment for plantiffs in the case.

While perhaps impossible to prove so many years on, strong circumstantial evidence exists to support an allegation Murkowski took an unethical short-cut in her path to admittance to the Alaskan Bar. If it's true that Murkowski went to such lengths to be positioned as heir apparent to the Murkowski political dynasty in Alaska, it's not exactly a stretch to be concerned she may go to any length necessary to hold on to political power as she now finds herself unexpectedly threatened by an Alaskan population tired of the corrupt politics as usual in the state unofficially nicknamed The Last Frontier.

Today, Alaska looks more like the frontier in a battle being waged by conservatives to take back control of the GOP from too many seemingly corrupt elites like Lisa Murkowski.


Plaintiff, :
v. :
INC., d/b/a PMBR, ROBERT :

The events giving rise to this lawsuit began with the February 2003 administration of the Alaska Bar exam, which was taken by Defendant Robert Feinberg, the PMBR creator and CEO, and 3 Dorothy Benson, another PMBR employee. After time was called, Feinberg attempted to leave the examination room with handwritten notes and Benson was found to have similar notes on her desk. Although Alaska is one of the few jurisdictions that allows note taking during the MBE, removal of those notes from the exam site is forbidden. After disclosure of the Alaska incident, Plaintiff obtained PMBR materials and found, so it alleges, many questions similar to those used on the MBE.

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  1. section9 says:

    Whoa! Someone has been doing some digging!
    Right, someone up there doesn’t like Teh Lisa.

  2. Mad Monica, Catty Commenter says:

    Awwww… come on Mr. Dan, just cuz she cheated doesn’t mean she’s a bad gal! After all, just cuz it looks like she’s fixin’ to pull a Franken doesn’t mean she is.. right? After all, she’s got that honesty gene built right into her.. uh… nevermind.. strike that.
    GO JOE! :)

  3. jodyo says:

    I’m not surprised to learn that Murkowski probably cheated to pass the Bar Exam. I can name another bigger name female politician who was unable to pass the exam after a number of tries in a piddly little state like Arkansas and was forced to resort to cheating in order to pass. I can also name a defense attorney much in the news currently for a murder case in FL who did the same. This seems to be the common means to obtain a license to practice law today. Only suckers actually bother to learn anything while in school and pass on their own.

  4. Chris says:

    The Obermeyers are nuts. I hate to break it to you but the Lady who runs that website is crazy. She was briefly on the Anchorage school board and has tried to run several times for many different offices. she is, unfortunately, a crank.

  5. pd says:

    “… strong circumstantial evidence exists to support an allegation Murkowski took an unethical short-cut in her path to admittance to the Alaskan Bar.”
    Dan, you got this one wrong. It’s not even circumstantial evidence. I don’t care about Murkowski or the Alaska race, but she didn’t cheat on the exam anymore than the millions of attorneys who have taken a PMBR class have cheated on the exam. The information taken from the exam was reformatted by PMBR and made available to anyone who took the class. PMBR writes practice questions based on the previous exam, covering similar topics, with similar tricks designed to dupe the test taker.
    Most lawyers take PMBR and/or BarBri. BarBri relies on similar methods and has been sued on multiple occasions. You could assert that Murkowski cheated (if you can draw a line between her working for PMBR and their breaking the rules of the exam), but it’s not like she paid someone to give only her the answers. At best, she cheated but she didn’t cheat to pass the exam.

  6. Sam says:

    Your lack of ethics and common sense is appalling. You take an admittedly unreliable allegation (from a crazy woman who says someone sabotaged each of her husband’s 28 bar exams!) that Murkowski left PMBR in 1998, and a lawsuit that says OTHER PMBR employees took notes on the bar exam in 2003, and from that, you accuse Murkowski of having cheated when she took the bar exam. And then you extrapolate from those imaginings that she also rigged a statewide election. You publish whatever crazy idea pops into your head. You would have been fired from any newspaper for turning in a story like this.
    You look even worse after I read Van Flein’s complaint. He conflates the security report on the voting machines with the personal computer Mike Roman was on, and suggests that Roman might have inserted a voting machine “memory chip” in the personal computer while Miller’s people were watching him like a hawk and telling him to get off the computer.
    Nothing in the story you’ve dreamed up makes sense. This is like when you made up a rumor that the guy who was found dead in Kentucky was a pedophile.

  7. Sam says:

    Update: My observation that Van Flein’s complaint was idiotic on its face has been officially confirmed:
    “The Alaska Division of Elections said there was no evidence to support the Miller campaign’s claim that a Murkowski ballot observer accessed the state’s computerized election management system….Elections officials said [Mike] Roman did request access to the computer with the state’s voter registration system but was not allowed. Alaska Division of Elections Director Gail Fenumiai said he would have not been able to compromise the system anyway. “There is no GEMS server in the Wasilla office, so there’s no way the state ballot tabulation system was compromised,” Fenumiai said.”
    Dan, you’re dumb as a rock.

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