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APOC rejects Treadwell deal resolving campaign complaint

Becky Bohrer

JUNEAU -- The Alaska Public Offices Commission on Thursday afternoon rejected a consent agreement with Lt. Gov. Mead Treadwell over campaign finance disclosures.

The board on Thursday morning heard terms of the agreement, which said Treadwell agreed to pay $6,704 in penalties and costs associated with the complaint.

The board took it under advisement, but in rejecting it later Thursday, sent it back to the APOC staff for further investigation.

The sticking point was whether there were discounts for ad services in last year's campaign. APOC's staff alleged there were discounts, but Treadwell denied that.

The consent agreement was signed earlier this week by Treadwell and the executive director of the Alaska Public Offices Commission, Paul Dauphinais.

APOC staff alleged that Treadwell's campaign accurately report spending to a law firm in a timely fashion, failed to properly amend reports for spending at a restaurant and didn't accurately report expenditures to an ad firm that APOC staff says provided discounted services. The allegations stemmed from Treadwell's run for office last year.

The agreement called for a $3,166 penalty for reporting violations and $3,538 in staff costs for handling the complaint. It also called for Treadwell and his campaign to attend candidate training and for them to work more closely with APOC in the future. It stated there was no evidence of any willful or intentional conduct to avoid reporting.

No penalty was assessed for the allegedly discounted ad services. While APOC staff believed that evidence showed the campaign received commercially unreasonable discounts, Treadwell denied receiving any discounts. According to the agreement, the two sides recognized the evidence was "inconsistent and even contradictory," and felt the settlement was the best way to resolve the matter.

Martha Tansik, an attorney for APOC staff, told the commission there was no way to definitively answer whether the rates were reasonable.

Burke Wood, who was hired as a media consultant to the campaign, said in an affidavit that he included what he described as "courtesy discounts" on some of his invoices to the campaign, though he said those weren't actual discounts.

"I did this so that the total amount for the invoice reflected a commercially reasonable amount based on the market and the amount of work performed," he said.


By BECKY BOHRER
Associated Press