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In fundraising for U.S. Senate race, Begich holds big lead over Treadwell

Dermot Cole

FAIRBANKS — Sen. Mark Begich ended 2013 with more than $2.8 million in his campaign account, according to documents released today by his campaign.

Alaskans for Begich raised a total of $849,364 during the last quarter of the year. An earlier version of this story said he had 3,400 new Alaska donors in the quarter, but that was incorrect. He has had 3,400 Alaska donors to date in this election cycle, a campaign official said.

Meanwhile, Lt. Gov. Mead Treadwell finished 2013 with $94,803 on hand, raising a total of $228,125 during the last three months of the year. His campaign said 80 percent of his donors are from Alaska. Treadwell said he had debts of $141,000 at the end of the year, which included a $50,000 loan he made to his campaign.

The Begich campaign released its entire 824-page report on its website early today, while the Treadwell campaign also distributed its 197-page year-end statement in the early afternoon, a step that the campaigns of Republican challengers Dan Sullivan and Joe Miller have yet to take.

According to federal election rules, the reports are due in Washington, D.C.  today. There is often a lag time of days or weeks in the dissemination of the reports, however. The way to end those unnecessary delays is for the candidates to post the full reports on their websites.

Begich has done that in a section on his campaign website dubbed "transparency."

Sullivan and Miller should follow suit and make their reports available to the public in a way that promotes access instead of inhibiting it. Waiting for the documents to be released by the Washington, D.C. bureaucracy is hardly in the interest of Alaskans. Early today, I asked the Sullivan, Treadwell and Miller campaigns if they plan to make the reports available in this manner. Treadwell is the only one to respond so far.

On Jan. 14, Sullivan, the former commissioner of natural resources, issued a press release that said he had raised $1.2 million in the last quarter of 2013.

Press releases are all well and good, but they are not enough. The Sullivan press release did not contain a breakdown of how much cash the campaign had on hand or any details on spending nor the identity of contributors.

It would be a service to Alaska voters for Sullivan and Miller to post their year-end reports today, following the example of Treadwell and Begich.

Dermot Cole can be reached at dermot(at)alaskadispatch.com. Follow him on Twitter at @DermotMCole.