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Charlo Greene's ongoing dispute with APOC heads to court

  • Author: Suzanna Caldwell
  • Updated: September 28, 2016
  • Published February 9, 2015

The Alaska Public Offices Commission is going to court in an effort to determine if Anchorage marijuana activist Charlo Greene violated campaign finance laws.

A petition to enforce an administrative subpoena was filed on behalf of APOC in Anchorage Superior Court on Feb. 3, though no date on when Greene must comply with the subpoena had been assigned by Judge Michael Corey as of Monday afternoon.

Since September, APOC has been attempting to investigate whether Greene, whose legal name is Charlene Egbe, broke campaign finance law during the debate over Ballot Measure 2, the initiative that legalized recreational marijuana in Alaska. Greene became a vocal advocate in support of the measure, appearing at public hearings across the state in the lead-up to the Nov. 4 vote. Greene has continued to challenge the agency's efforts to collect information regarding her financial activities during the campaign, arguing that her fundraising was for her business, not her work to see the ballot measure passed.

Greene, a former television news reporter who gained attention after quitting her job live on air to focus on her marijuana business, could face civil penalties for not complying with the subpoena or for campaign finance violations, if any are found.

According to an affidavit from APOC Executive Director Paul Dauphinais included in the petition, the commission first contacted Greene in September after the agency received a public inquiry about whether her Alaska Cannabis Club website should be registered with the agency since it contained a banner supporting Ballot Measure 2. An online fundraising campaign netted Greene just over $8,400 in the wake of her on-air departure from her reporting job.

After being contacted by APOC, Greene filed several independent expenditure reports, but then stopped and began challenging efforts to gain access to her fundraising records.

After a public hearing at which Greene's representation challenged the agency's authority to enforce the subpoena, commissioners disagreed and in a three-page opinion said it was within their authority to subpoena the records.

According to the affidavit, Dauphinais then asked Greene to comply with a new subpoena date of Dec. 15. That date was then postponed when Dauphinais was contacted by attorney Ben Adams, who was then representing Greene, asking for an extension.

The agency agreed and gave Greene until Jan. 15 to comply with the order.

However, on Jan. 6 APOC received notice from Adams -- better known as the "Alaska Pot Attorney" -- that he was no longer representing Greene.

On Jan. 15, Greene sent an email to Dauphinais at 9:23 a.m. -- just minutes before she was scheduled to comply with the subpoena -- saying she would not be producing the documents.

In the email -- filed with the court as part of the petition -- Greene states that she never gave Adams the authority to represent the Alaska Cannabis Club before the agency.

She also wrote that she has not been found in violation of campaign finance law and that submitting records to the agency would make her business vulnerable to liability.

"Therefore, unless, and until, I receive in writing a certified document indemnifying me, the Alaska Cannabis Club, the members of the Alaska Cannabis Club and the members of my family, for any potential liability, civil or criminal, then documents that you request, or have subpoenaed, cannot be produced," Greene wrote.

In an emailed statement from the Alaska Cannabis Club on Monday, Greene indicated she would continue to fight the subpoena.

"I'm glad the matter is being taken out of the hands of APOC -- a now defunct agency with absolutely no checks or balances that has been used as a political intimidation tool for far too long," Greene wrote in the statement. "We made it clear to APOC that the 'Freedom and Fairness Fight' wasn't just about Ballot Measure 2 and this case is proving that."

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