The agency overseeing Alaska campaign finance laws handed down a $1,925 fine against Stand for Alaska — Vote No on One, saying the group violated requirements associated with previously using a name that did not clearly show opposition to the Stand for Salmon ballot measure.
But the Alaska Public Offices Commission reduced the potential top fine of $7,700 that could have been levied against the industry-backed group. The harm to the public was not enough to justify a larger amount, the three-member commission said in an eight-page decision Friday.
The opposition group had called itself Stand for Alaska but changed its name in June, adding the tagline showing dissent. The group should have changed its name March 13, when the state certified the initiative for the ballot. It was improperly named for about three months.
Other violations were related to YouTube videos with "paid for by" lines incorrectly bearing the group's previous name for roughly two to three weeks, depending on the video.
The measure — called Ballot Measure 1 by the state — goes before voters Nov. 6. Opponents have argued it will stop development projects across Alaska. Supporters say it will protect salmon and other fish without hurting the economy.
Officials with both groups could not immediately be reached for comment Tuesday morning, shortly after the decision was made public on the APOC website.
Ryan Schryver, director of Stand for Salmon, has previously said the group used the wrong name for so long because it was trying to win voters by confusing them.
Stand for Salmon filed the complaint with APOC on July 6.
Kati Capozzi, campaign manager of Stand for Alaska, has said the group made an honest mistake and quickly fixed the problems.
In reducing the fine, the commission noted that many of the group's public communications clearly stated its opposition, including portals such as YouTube or Facebook through which the improperly labeled videos would commonly be accessed.
The commission also reduced the fine for Stand for Alaska — Vote No on One because it is an "inexperienced filer" subject to reporting requirements for less than a year.