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Union leader files APOC complaint against Anchorage mayor

Nathaniel Herz

A high-profile union leader has filed a complaint against Anchorage Mayor Dan Sullivan with the state agency that polices election laws, alleging Sullivan used city resources to further his campaign for lieutenant governor.

Vince Beltrami, the president of the Alaska AFL-CIO — the state’s largest labor organization — says in his three-page complaint to the Alaska Public Offices Commission that Sullivan used city staff to respond to “candidate actions.”

The complaint includes links to news stories describing how Sullivan’s municipal spokeswoman earlier this month issued an apologetic statement for comments he made at a candidate forum. Sullivan’s comments equated laws requiring union membership and payment of union dues with slavery, and the Anchorage branch of the NAACP later called on him to issue an apology.

“The statements that were provided in response to what happened at the candidate forum were coming from a municipal staffer,” Beltrami said in an interview.

Sullivan declined to comment on the substance of Beltrami’s allegations in a phone interview Thursday, but he said he has a meeting scheduled with APOC officials next week.

“There’s, I think, information they’ll have by then that’s going to answer any concerns that the complaint had,” he said.

In a subsequent text message, he said: “I believe the complaint is without merit.”

“The request from the NAACP was sent to the mayor, at the mayor’s office, so a response from my office was appropriate,” he added. “I am in my sixth campaign for elected office and have never had an APOC violation, and I don’t believe one occurred in this instance.”

APOC officially accepted the complaint Thursday, which means that Beltrami’s allegations, if proven true, amount to a violation of state statute, according to Paul Dauphinais, the agency’s executive director.

Penalties under state law amount to $50 per day for each day the violation continued. Dauphinais declined to comment on how any penalties would be calculated if the complaint is corroborated.

He said the agency will complete an investigation of the complaint within 30 days.

Reach Nathaniel Herz at nherz@adn.com or 257-4311.