Alaska's campaign finance watchdog Wednesday rejected a complaint against a fundraising committee headed by Anchorage Republican Rep. Gabrielle LeDoux, allowing her to continue raising money from lobbyists who are otherwise barred from donating to LeDoux's personal campaign.
The Alaska Public Offices Commission voted 4-0 to reject the complaint, which was filed in August by the Alaska Democratic Party.
Lobbyists aren't allowed to donate to legislative campaigns unless they live in a candidate's House or Senate district.
But LeDoux found a way around that rule by creating a new committee, Gabby's Tuesday PAC, that's distinct from her campaign. She then raised $5,000 from lobbyists, and transferred the committee's money to the campaigns of other Republican lawmakers and candidates — much like members of Congress use "leadership PACs" to cultivate other politicians' alliances and allegiances.
The Democrats said LeDoux's committee was acting as the equivalent of a candidate, since it was controlled by LeDoux herself, and should have been subject to the restrictions on lobbyists' donations.
But the APOC commissioners, citing previous legal interpretations, ruled that a PAC only functions like a candidate's committee when the PAC's primary purpose is assisting a particular candidate. That wasn't the case for LeDoux's committee, which has transferred money to more than a half-dozen different candidates.
"The commission shares the concern raised by the complaint that some may use what could be seen as a 'loophole' to circumvent the campaign contribution limits" in existing law, the commissioners wrote in their order Wednesday. They added: "However, the commission is obliged to apply the law as enacted. Thus, the concerns in the complaint are more properly directed to the Legislature for review."