Alaska Public Offices Commission issues decisions on multiple complaints

The Alaska Public Offices Commission (APOC) has issued multiple decisions on complaints they heard at a recent January 24 meeting. The Commission took several matters under advisement and issued the decisions on February 4. Here are the cases and decisions.

Les Gara vs. Families for Alaska’s Future – Dunleavy 

This complaint stemmed from the disclaimer on radio and TV ads from the independent expenditure group, Families for Alaska’s Future – Dunleavy. That group was chaired by Steve Strait. But he was just the front man. The bulk of the money came from the Republican Governors Association (RGA). Mary Ann Pruitt was listed as a deputy treasurer. Pruitt now works for Governor Michael J. Dunleavy.

The group raised and spent neatly $3 million. You can hear their joke of a disclaimer below. The Commission found that the group violated the statue that says disclaimers must be “read in a manner that is easily heard.” However, the maximum penalty was only $900, plus $212.50 for costs. A pretty good deal for Families for Alaska’s Future – Dunleavy – spend millions on an election, disregard campaign laws, pay a penalty of only $1,112.50. What a deal!

Here is a link to the decision.

Walker Mallott for Alaska vs. Families for Alaska’s Future – Dunleavy

Another one against for Families for Alaska’s Future – Dunleavy! This complaint was regarding an October 5, 2018 Commission penalty of $4,450, reduced 50% from a maximum of $8,900, to Families for Alaska’s Future – Dunleavy for reserving TV advertising time in April 2018, before they registered with APOC. The group submitted an affidavit to try and mitigate the penalty. The Commission said no bueno. Another very tiny speed bump for the millions that Families for Alaska Future – Dunleavy raised and spent supporting Mike Dunleavy.

Here is a link to the decision.

Note: There is an identical complaint from Walker Mallott for Alaska vs. Republican Governors Association where the Commission also fined the RGA $4,450. That one is on appeal to the Alaska Superior Court. Families for Alaska’s Future – Dunleavy could appeal to the court as well. I have a feeling the RGA went straight to court, instead of appeal to the Commission, because they don’t want to open their books. Families for Alaska’s Future – Dunleavy had one main funder, the RGA. Can anyone say commingling?

Walker Mallott for Alaska vs. Republican Governors Association 

This one is kind of weird. It goes back to the 2014 election. Walker Mallott alleged that the RGA made expenditures without registering with APOC based on an IRS report they filed years ago. Someone in the Walker Mallott campaign was digging deep for this one. The RGA responded that the contributions and expenditures at issue were erroneously reported to the IRS. The Commission agreed with the staff’s recommendation that the complaint be dismissed.

Here is a link to the decision.

Stand For Alaska – Vote No On One vs. Yes For Salmon – Vote Yes On One, The Alaska Center, and Stand for Salmon

This is actually the same complaint from Stand for Alaska against the three different groups. These cats do not get along. I was at the January 24 Commission hearing. It was something else. A lawyer for Stand for Salmon said that Stand for Alaska was part of a “conspiracy fraud” against Stand for Alaska, and a lot more. It was a much more entertaining than the average Commission meeting.

According to the decision, Stand for Alaska – Vote No on One alleged that the three respondents, together and separately, violated various APOC registration and disclosure laws. For the following reasons, the Commission rejects most of the allegations, but found that Stand for Salmon violated AS 15.13.090 by issuing two advertisements without paid-for-by identifiers, and imposed a civil penalty of $2,900 for those violations.

Here is a link to the decision.

Stand for Salmon vs. Stand for Alaska – Vote No On One

This one is kind of weird. It has to do with attorneys fees based on a previous complaint. In July 2018, Stand for Salmon filed a complaint against Stand for Alaska alleging that Stand for Alaska was violating laws about naming conventions and not using proper “paid-for-by” disclaimers. The naming convention had to do with their name not indicating what they were opposing. I think this why they added “No On One” after Stand for Alaska. They disclaimer issue had to do with YouTube videos. The Commission ruled in favor of Stand for Salmon and fined Stand for Alaska $1,925, reduced from a maximum penalty of $7,700.

Stand for Salmon then decided to get loose and go after Stand for Alaska for attorneys fees. They wanted $26,645. More than 13 times the fine! At the January 24 hearing, the lawyer for Stand for Alaska made it clear how ridiculous he thought this was. The Commission said no way and did not grant any attorneys fees.

Here is a link to the decision.

Editor’s note: Campaign finance laws in Alaska are a joke. As long as the legislature continues to give APOC no teeth to enforce campaign violations, these well funded groups will continue to operate like there are no laws. The legislature has been cutting APOC’s budget for years. Their budget is around a million dollars. Yet they are supposed to oversee and regulate candidates and groups that raise and spend tens of millions of dollars combined. A fox guarding the hen house scenario if there ever was one.





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Chris cooper
3 years ago

What happened to ledoux voter fraud case?

Foo Bar
3 years ago

You do know that APOC was created by a citizens initiative?