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Pro-Begich super PAC draws $287,500 from four donors

Dermot Cole
Loren Holmes photo

FAIRBANKS -- The super political action committee created last year to support the re-election of Sen. Mark Begich pulled in $287,500 in 2013 with just six contributions from three groups and one Anchorage businessman.

Put Alaska First, the pro-Begich PAC run by Jim Lottsfeldt of Anchorage, was the most successful early on of the three super PACs formed especially to promote Alaska candidates in the Senate race, according to reports filed with the Federal Election Commission.

The committee backing former Natural Resources Commissioner Dan Sullivan brought in $70,100, while the committee backing Lt. Gov. Mead Treadwell collected $800.

The committees are required to remain independent of the candidates and to not coordinate campaign efforts. The biggest chunk of the money to Put Alaska First came in two contributions totaling $170,000 from the Senate Majority PAC, based in Washington, D.C. That group said its goal is to "protect and expand the Democratic majority in the U.S. Senate."

The second biggest contribution was $100,000 from a Kirkland, Wash., firm, Hillside Jetty Pelagic, LLC, with ties to the fishing company Fishermen’s Finest, which operates in Alaska waters.

Anchorage developer Jon Rubini gave the committee $10,000, while the San Pablo Lytton Casino in San Pablo, Calif., provided $7,500.

Put Alaska First said it had spent or disbursed all but about $7,000 by the end of 2013, including spending more than $168,000 on ads and TV production.

Political donations to the candidates are capped at $2,600 for the primary and equal amount for the general election, while contributions are prohibited from corporations and labor unions.

None of those restrictions apply to the independent committees and the other super PACs in the aftermath of the Citizens United decision by the U.S. Supreme Court and other rulings.

Alaska’s Energy, America’s Values, the super PAC formed by Art Hackney of Anchorage for Senate GOP candidate Dan Sullivan,  took in $70,100 from four donors and had $29,299 in cash at the end of the year.

Donald K. Miller of Greenwich, Conn., chairman of Axion International Investors, gave $50,000, while Anchorage businessmen Dana Pruhs and W. Thomas Gimple each gave $10,000 to the pro-Sullivan group.

Freedom's Frontier, the super PAC supporting Treadwell, reported donations of $800, with $500 of that from Scott Hawkins of Anchorage and $300 from Alan Philp of Lakewood, Colo., the organizer of the committee. There is no super PAC specifically formed to support Fairbanks lawyer Joe Miller.

Contact Dermot Cole at dermot(at)alaskadispatch.com. Follow him on Twitter @dermotmcole.