Insurance-focused political group fined $5,500 after decade of failed disclosure

The Alaska Public Offices Commission voted Wednesday to fine an insurance-focused political action committee $5,500 to settle a complaint that it failed to register with the commission for more than a decade and for two years accepted contributions that violated state law.

According to APOC’s report, “Over the 14-year period of non-reporting, INSURPAC had completely fallen off APOC staff’s radar. If not self-reported, INSURPAC’s violations may have remained undetected.”

The maximum possible fine for the violations was $448,950, but APOC reduced that fine by 98.8%, in line with past commission practice. The action was taken during a regular meeting Wednesday. Several other possible fines on other organizations were considered, but no action on those fines was announced Wednesday. Under APOC’s procedures, decisions on those fines will be announced in the coming weeks.

The Public Offices Commission is the state’s campaign finance regulator.

According to the settlement agreement approved Wednesday, INSURPAC of Alaska failed to file campaign disclosure reports between 2005 and 2017. In 2015 and 2018, it received contributions that violated the $500 per-person annual cap.

The violations were discovered after INSURPAC voluntarily disclosed them to APOC. According to the organization, it hired a treasurer in 2003, and that person worked until August 2018, “when he unexpectedly and suddenly passed away.”

When the organization regained access to its accounts in November 2018, the new treasurer found that the organization had not been reporting to APOC as required by law.

APOC voted to reduce the penalty because INSURPAC reported its own violations, did not participate in elections between 2005 and 2017, and cooperated in the subsequent investigation.