Election regulators this week dismissed all of the charges against Anchorage political consultant Art Hackney and two others accused of violating state law when they raised money for last year's proposal to tighten state mining law.
The proposal, Ballot Measure 4, was defeated by voters last August after the most expensive election campaign ever in Alaska -- $12.5 million spent by the sides for and against it. The ballot measure was an effort to create stricter rules for water-pollution discharges for large mines and it especially targeted the proposed Pebble copper and gold project in Southwest Alaska.
Despite this week's dismissals, the heart of the case has not yet been resolved. Anchorage businessman Bob Gillam and several groups remain accused of conspiring to hide that he was the source of roughly $2 million in contributions -- nearly 90 percent of his donations to the campaign to pass the proposed law.
The commission recently rejected a proposed $30,000 settlement with Gillam and others accused of conspiring to hide his role in the donations.
But this week, APOC dismissed the portion of the case that accused Hackney, Gillam and some members of anti-Pebble groups of failing to register as a ballot group when they worked together on the proposed law. APOC staff had alleged that those violations went as far back as 2005, when they began to talk about the proposed law.
Acting on an administrative law judge's recommendation, the commission ruled this week that those particular charges were not legally valid.
That removes all of the charges against Hackney, Virginia consultant Michael Dubke and local Pebble opponent Richard Jameson, of the Anchorage-based Renewable Resources Coalition, a non-profit advocacy group.
In a separate case, Hackney has accused several pro-mining groups of not reporting their spending against Measure 4 by the required deadline. That case is still pending and APOC staff recently suggested that the commission fine two of the groups. The commission hasn't yet held a hearing in the case.
Find Elizabeth Bluemink online at adn.com/contact/ebluemink or call 257-4317.