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Tara

Anchorage Assembly should not certify alcohol tax vote

The most updated Anchorage election vote count puts Proposition 13, the alcohol tax, up 51.24 to 48.76. Unlike last year, where the vote failed 46.24 to 53.76, the pro alcohol tax side ran a real campaign this year and was well funded. However, the Assembly should not certify the vote due to shenanigans that occured.

Unofficial results as of April 15, 2020

First, some background. As previously reported by the Landmine, the group supporting the tax, Yes for a Safe, Healthy Anchorage, properly registered with the Alaska Public Offices Commission (APOC). Yes for a Safe, Healthy Anchorage reported over $250,000 in contributions. Over $70,000 of that came from Recover Alaska, a nonprofit. But Recover Alaska did not register as a group with APOC, although they did in 2019. In 2019, Recover Alaska gave only $5,000 to the group supporting the alcohol tax compared to over $70,000 this year. Because they did not register as a group and file reports it’s not clear where the more than $70,000 Recover Alaska gave to Yes for a Safe, Healthy Anchorage came from.

Recover Alaska also ran Facebook and radio ads supporting the alcohol tax. Alaska law requires groups supporting or opposing candidates or ballot propositions to register with APOC and file reports that disclose their income and expenditures. Recover Alaska did not do this in 2020.

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Between January and April 2020, Recover Alaska spent thousands of dollars running ads on Facebook. Facebook only gives a range on each ad. According to Facebook, the group has spent $8,285 on ads between May 2018 and April 2020. Some of this was for ads supporting last year’s alcohol tax and some was for unrelated ads.

Here are all the ads they ran on Facebook and Instagram between January and April supporting the alcohol tax.

Recover Alaska also ran radio ads supporting the alcohol tax. They filed FCC disclosure forms for radio ads that were run on KENI. The FCC requires these forms for political ads. The forms do not show how much money they spent, just that they ran ads on KENI from March 16 to April 6. The forms can be seen here and here.

Campaign laws exist for a reason. Unfortunately they are frequently broken or ignored. APOC rarely issues significant fines to candidates or groups who break the law. When they do the fines are usually not much. The Anchorage Assembly should send a message and not certify this vote. They should demand more information from Recover Alaska about who funded their campaign and how much money they spent.

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Fart Chance
2 years ago

How much did CHARR pay you for this post?

B Toone Pickens
2 years ago
Reply to  Fart Chance

Right ? Hard to pity CHARR, they’ve been working against the better interests of our community for a long, long time now. I can’t think of another advocacy group in Anchorage that is so dedicated to their cause, that they fail to see the impact that their industry does to our community. CHARR is a morally bankrupt organization that I truly hope goes out of business.

Nunya Bidness
2 years ago

Violation of state laws is APOC’s job. The Assembly’s job is to certify the results of the election. The two are not related.

2 years ago

Alcohol, like marijuana, is a legal, but non-essential, recreational drug. Alcohol is classed as a depressant, meaning that it slows down vital functions—resulting in impaired judgement, slurred speech, disturbed perceptions, unsteady movement and an inability to react quickly. Because alcohol use is legal and pervasive, it plays a particularly strong role in the relationship to crime and other social problems that the Municipality of Anchorage pays to deal with (e.g. DUIs, homicides, rapes, domestic violence, assaults and Fetal Alcohol Syndrome). By not recovering the costs that alcohol abuse causes the Municipality is, in fact, subsidizing the cost of alcohol, a… Read more »

B Toone Pickens
2 years ago

Wah ? Sorry that you’re butt-hurt about being left out of the Press Club, but this is why. You’re a pseudo-journalist with an agenda a huge ego, both of which get in the way of any objective reporting.

Ostrich Alaska
2 years ago

Yeah, this post reminds me of the underpants gnomes in South Park. You’re missing the part of how you get from the underpants (alleged violations) to the profits (refusing to certify the election).