Alaska News

Alaska Democrats join Clinton campaign fundraising plan aimed at wealthy donors

The Alaska Democratic Party has joined a fundraising campaign with Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign that facilitates big contributions from deep-pocketed donors, saying it won't "unilaterally disarm" while Democrats pursue campaign finance reforms that could bar such donations.

The campaign — technically known as a "joint fundraising committee" — takes advantage of a 2014 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that eliminated a $123,000 federal cap on the total contributions that individual donors could make to political parties and candidates in a single two-year election cycle.

At the time, Democratic U.S. Sen. Mark Begich was in the middle of his unsuccessful re-election bid against Republicans like Dan Sullivan, who was ultimately elected.

Following the Supreme Court decision, Alaska Democratic Party Chair Mike Wenstrup complained that campaign finance rules allow "super-wealthy individuals to funnel money into races like Alaska's."

"And the latest Supreme Court decision just opens the flood gates to more spending by Dan Sullivan's Outside supporters," Wenstrup said in a prepared statement, referencing Sullivan's Ohio roots.

In a federal filings this month, the Alaska Democrats joined with Clinton's campaign, the Democratic National Committee and 32 other state parties in creating the Hillary Victory Fund.

Individual donors are being asked to donate up to $366,100 to the fund each year — $2,700 of which goes to the Clinton campaign, while the DNC and the state parties get the rest, according to a report in the Washington Post.


In a prepared statement, Wenstrup said the Clinton fund is "an effort to help state parties benefit from the excitement around Democratic presidential candidates, so we can elect Democrats up and down the ticket in 2016 and beyond."

Campaign finance reform, Wenstrup added, requires changes in the membership of the Supreme Court to overturn past rulings that eliminated spending limits.

"We can only do that by electing Democrats up and down the ticket," the Democrats' statement quoted Wenstrup as saying. "We will not unilaterally disarm and hand the election over to the Republicans, who think that corporations are people and want to give corporations and the super-wealthy even more control over our democracy."

Republicans, meanwhile, are similarly pursuing wealthy contributors. The Post's report said one of the Republican National Committee's programs is seeking $1.34 million contributions from couples.

Nathaniel Herz

Nathaniel Herz is an Anchorage-based journalist and a former reporter for the Anchorage Daily News. He’s been a reporter in Alaska for nearly a decade, with stints at ADN and Alaska Public Media, and has written for, The Washington Post and others. Read his newsletter, Northern Journal, at