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Alaska GOP's ‘old guard’ questions what happened to ‘new guard’ funds

Amanda CoyneThe New York Times
Loren Holmes photo

Frank McQueary, assistant treasurer of the Republican Party of Alaska, sent an email to GOP party officials on Monday about “potentially improper fundraising by Chair Elect Russ Millette.”

McQueary wrote that as assistant treasurer of the party, along with his role as standing rules chair, he has had “numerous enquiries forwarded to me regarding both interpretations of the rules and questions concerning the financial aspects of fundraising.”

Millette was not immediately available for comment.

McQueary told the group that he had contacted the Alaska Public Offices Commission (APOC), the state agency that monitors elections, seeking an opinion on whether funds have been properly reported by Millette.  

At issue is more than $1,600 raised by the splinter group, or ad hoc committee, that met June 9 in a church after the reconvening of the Republican Party Convention, McQueary said.

“To the best of my belief, the funds in question were not turned over to the party for reporting purposes, nor have they been reported by any other organization,” McQueary wrote. 

Money raised by any political party must be documented and reported. The APOC indicated it’s investigating the issue.

McQueary said that party practice dictates that donor information is received for money raised. If the donor is unknown, the party sends the money to the state Department of Revenue.

Funds were requested at various times before and during the meeting. Some of that money was used, according to a transcript of the meeting, to pay for a parliamentarian the group had hired from Washington state.

At the end of the meeting, Millette told the group that it had collected $1624.60. “This covers expenses for (the parliamentarian), which includes his airfare,” Millette told the group. He also said that another person in the crowd, Gene Brokaw, was paying for the church and that members could pay him back.

The business manager of the church confirmed that it had charged the group $200 to use the building. 

The June 9 reconvening was the brainchild of Millette, Alaska’s next chair of the Alaska GOP. He put out a call for state Republicans to finish what they started during the tumultuous state GOP convention in late April. Millette is a supporter of GOP presidential candidate Ron Paul. 

With the help of failed 2010 U.S. Senate candidate Joe Miller, Millette captured the hearts and minds of Alaska's Paul supporters and dissatisfied Republicans to win the state GOP chairmanship at the April convention.

The war between the two factions of Alaska’s GOP has brewed since. At the June 9 reconvening, the group voted to censure U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski for joining “far left interest groups” and “maliciously attacking” Joe Miller, who ran as a Tea Party candidate in the 2010 U.S. Senate race, but lost in the general election to Murkowski's write-in campaign.

Censuring didn’t stop with Murkowski. The group also voted to censure a handful of Republican Party officials who weren’t in the room, including McQueary.

Millette will become chair of the party early next year. In the meantime, he is the finance chair of the party, and old party boss Randy Ruedrich is still in charge. 

Correction: The original story said that Millette was treasurer of the party. That's incorrect. He is currently finance chair. 

Contact Amanda Coyne at Amanda@alaskadispatch.com