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Anchorage

Dunbar files complaint with state against Bronson over alleged campaign finance violations

Tuesday, Sept. 25, 2018. Alaska Public Offices Commission sign. (Alex DeMarban / ADN)

Anchorage mayoral candidate Forrest Dunbar is accusing opponent Dave Bronson of violating campaign finance rules.

In a complaint filed Monday with the state, Dunbar’s campaign asserts that multiple alleged infractions amount to tens of thousands of dollars in misreported campaign finances and illegally accepted contributions by Bronson’s campaign.

Dunbar’s campaign requested that the Alaska Public Offices Commission give the complaint expedited consideration because of the “voluminous and serious alleged violations,” the complaint states.

“Bronson’s approach to his campaign finances indicates either a gross fiscal incompetence or a willful disregard for the law and an intent to deceive the public,” Paula DeLaiarro, Dunbar’s campaign treasurer, said in an emailed statement. “But my biggest concern is that the issues we have cited are just the tip of the iceberg.”

In response to the complaint, Bronson said in an emailed statement that Dunbar “is using APOC as a tool to try and distract my team.”

“We will have a response to the complaint once our attorney reviews it,” he said.

Dunbar’s campaign alleges that Bronson accepted contributions above the allowed maximum limit from individuals and did not properly report thousands in debt to radio stations in a timely manner. It also claims Bronson’s campaign funneled more than $100,000 in marketing expenditures through political consultants for advertising while keeping the actual advertising expenses and objectives “hidden from the public,” according to an emailed statement from Dunbar’s campaign.

It makes other claims, including that Bronson may have received thousands in illegal campaign contributions through a “backdoor network” with the campaign to recall Assembly member Felix Rivera. It may have received expensive polling data from Recall Rivera that is unaccounted for in its finance reports, said an email from Dunbar campaign manager Claire Shaw.

Shaw said that it is impossible to tell exactly how much money is not properly accounted for in Bronson’s campaign reports because of a lack of transparency regarding debt and expenses.

“The failure to provide an accurate picture of a campaign’s finances has a definite impact on an election. Campaigns plan their strategy centered around, in part, how much money the opponent has, where money has been spent, when and for what,” the complaint states.

Heather Hebdon, executive director of the APOC, said that the commission will hold a hearing within the next two days to decide whether the complaint warrants the requested expedited consideration. If it grants expedited consideration, the commission would hold a hearing on the merits of the complaint within two days, she said.

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