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Alaska News

APOC delays decision to fine groups tied to Walker aide

  • Author: Alex DeMarban
  • Updated: July 7, 2016
  • Published February 10, 2016

Alaska campaign finance regulators will privately deliberate whether to fine two independent political groups tied to Gov. Bill Walker's deputy chief of staff for actions that prevented contributors from being revealed.

On Wednesday, the Alaska Public Offices Commission appeared close to accepting a consent agreement recommending fines of $6,370 for Your Future Alaska and $1,338 for Alaskans First for violating campaign finance laws as they spent money in fall 2014 to support Walker, an independent, and a slate of Democratic candidates.

The groups were registered as nonprofit corporations by Marcia Davis, now Walker's deputy chief of staff. Davis also served as secretary and treasurer of the groups for a period of time.

The independent groups said they did not coordinate their efforts with Walker's or other official campaigns.

On Wednesday, at a meeting of the Public Offices Commission, Ronald King and Vance Sanders, two of the commissioners, moved to accept the consent agreement. But Commissioner Mark Fish, a Libertarian appointed by Walker in 2015, requested that the five-member board take the issue under advisement.

The commission typically agrees to such requests. The decision will lead to private deliberations and a ruling within 10 days, officials said.

The agreement, signed by APOC staff and an attorney for the groups, said the two groups were involved in an illegal "pass-through technique" that obscured funding sources to Your Future Alaska, though it added that the actions may have happened "unintentionally."

The fine was lowered sharply from its maximum amount in part because the group consisted of "inexperienced filers" and undisclosed contributions to the groups amounted to less than $100,000, a small figure relative to the $3.2 million spent in the governor's race.

The agreement also notes that the contributions and the groups' activities were "permissible," while the missteps did not cause significant public harm.

But Anand Dubey, a Republican who lost a bid for a House seat in 2014, said at the commission meeting Wednesday that he was harmed by the groups' spending because some of the money went to support Matt Claman, a Democrat who beat him by 90 votes.

Some of the money "was used to attack our race so I believe our entire campaign was a victim," Dubey said.

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