Alaska News

Campaign group tied to Walker aide under investigation

Alaska campaign finance regulators are investigating a political group tied to Gov. Bill Walker's deputy chief of staff.

Marcia Davis served as treasurer for Your Future Alaska, which registered as a political "entity" one week before Election Day last year and spent $50,000 on Walker's behalf without coordinating with his campaign.

The group raised a total of $75,000 -- $50,000 from philanthropist and former grocer Barney Gottstein, $20,000 from Bristol Bay Native Corp., and $5,000 from Ahtna Inc.

But those donations, all made before the election, were not disclosed until the group made an updated filing with the Alaska Public Offices Commission on Wednesday.

Paul Dauphinais, APOC's executive director, said Your Future Alaska is under investigation but wouldn't say whether its activity was allowed under state campaign finance law.

Asked to cite the relevant statute affecting Your Future Alaska, he referred to a state law that requires "persons" spending money on elections to disclose their donors within 10 days.

In a phone interview, Davis said Your Future Alaska had sought legal counsel and followed state and federal law as the group became involved in the gubernatorial campaign. The group also consulted with APOC and followed their rules, only to be told after the fact that it should have disclosed its donors' identities, she said.


The ambiguity, Davis said, stems from the U.S. Supreme Court's landmark Citizens United decision in 2010 -- the ruling that struck down limits on corporate and union spending on elections.

The ruling, Davis said, treated corporations as "persons." Your Future Alaska is registered with the state as a nonprofit corporation.

"It's unclear right now, and we're proof that you can take their classes, that you can get outside legal help and you can have APOC call you and walk through the filing and you can still get burned," said Davis, an attorney. "We were adhering to the law as it was being dictated by APOC and our attorney."

She said the disclosure forms she initially filed with APOC didn't even have a block to list contributors.

The $50,000 that Your Future Alaska spent to support Walker went to Walker Mallott 1, another political group that also operated independently of Walker's campaign. That group's treasurer, Vicki Otte, also was vice president of Your Future Alaska.

Walker Mallott 1 paid for Internet, radio and newspaper advertisements, including in Alaska Dispatch News. Ads posted by the group on YouTube endorsed the campaign of Walker and Lt. Gov. Byron Mallott, and also attacked incumbent Republican Gov. Sean Parnell.

In its legally required notice at the end of its ads, Walker Mallott 1 said its top three contributors were Chugach Alaska Corp., Bristol Bay Native Corp., and Your Future Alaska.

Ahtna Inc., also donated directly to Walker Mallott 1. Gottstein did not, though he donated money to another independent group than ran ads in support of Walker, and he was named in its disclosures.

Nathaniel Herz

Anchorage-based independent journalist Nathaniel Herz has been a reporter in Alaska for nearly a decade, with stints at the Anchorage Daily News and Alaska Public Media. Read his newsletter, Northern Journal, at