The group attempting to recall Governor Mike Dunleavy (R – Alaska) has not disclosed a single donor or expenditure since the group formed in July 2019. Because the group has technically not yet filed the recall petition with the lieutenant governor, they are not required to file income or expenditure reports with the Alaska Public Offices Commission (APOC).
Alaska Statute 15.13.110. Filing of Reports, section (e) states:
A group formed to sponsor a referendum or a recall shall report 30 days after its first filing with the lieutenant governor. Thereafter, each group shall report within 10 days after the end of each calendar quarter on the contributions received and expenditures made during the preceding calendar quarter until reports are due under (a) of this section.
In September 2019 the group turned in over 49,000 signatures to the Division of Elections. A little over 28,000 were required. This first phase allowed the group to start gathering the required 71,252 signatures to get the recall on the ballot. The reporting requirements are triggered once those signatures are turned in. A loophole in the statutes has resulted in the group being able to raise and spend money for over a year and a half, yet not having to report any of it.
If the group spends all of the money they have raised before turning in the next round of signatures, they will not be required to report any of the money raised or spent. If they move any money over to the ballot phase after the next round of signatures are turned in, then all of the money they have raised and spent since starting will be required to be reported.
Pat Race, a Juneau business owner, recently became a member of the group’s steering committee. He’s also been soliciting donations on Twitter. He stated 96% of donors are “individual Alaskans and in-state organizations.” Although he, nor the group, would say what percentage of total donations come from in-state, a much more revealing number.
Race responded to a comment I made asking for more information by stating, “I’ve pushed for more but the steering committee doesn’t want to burn our donors by exposing them to retribution from the governor.” He added that he personally favors more disclosure.
I reached out to Meda DeWitt, Chair of Recall Dunleavy, to see if she would disclose their donors in the interest of public transparency. Her response denying the request is below. At the end she oddly suggested that I donate to the group.
The group that initially formed to oppose the recall, Stand Tall with Mike, has also not disclosed any income or expenditures due to the same loophole. They began raising money in 2019 to oppose the recall in court. They were also registered in 2020 but are not registered in 2021. A new group, Keep Dunleavy, was registered in 2020. If Stand Tall with Mike does not register in 2021, and no funds are transferred, they will not be required to report any of their income or expenditures.