The Trail

Walker-Mallott campaign accuses group supporting Dunleavy of violating campaign finance laws

The re-election campaign for Gov. Bill Walker and Lt. Gov. Byron Mallott is accusing a group supporting Republican gubernatorial candidate Mike Dunleavy of violating campaign finance laws by failing to properly register and file reports with the Alaska Public Offices Commission.

The campaign announced in an emailed statement Monday that it had filed a complaint with APOC against the independent expenditure group, Families for Alaska's Future — Dunleavy. (The group was formerly called just Families for Alaska's Future.)

"The violations are egregious, staggering in scope, and continuing," the complaint summary said.

Steve Strait, chair of Families for Alaska's Future — Dunleavy, said in an interview Monday that he first heard about the complaint from reporters earlier that day. He said the group would wait for a determination from APOC, the state agency that regulates campaign finance.

"A complaint is just that, it's a complaint. It doesn't mean there's any validity to it," said Strait, a Republican businessman in Alaska. "So we're going to wait and see what APOC has to say."

Unlike candidates' campaigns, independent expenditure groups such as Families for Alaska's Future — Dunleavy can raise unlimited funds from individuals and organizations. The groups can't coordinate with the campaigns they're supporting or opposing. Independent expenditure groups have also stood up this campaign season in support of Democratic candidate Mark Begich and Walker, an independent.

In reports filed with APOC this month, Families for Alaska's Future — Dunleavy reported spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on television ads that support Dunleavy and oppose Walker and Begich. The group has gotten most of its money from the Republican Governors Association, or the RGA, a Washington, D.C.-based organization that backs Republican candidates for governor.


[Related: Pro-Dunleavy group backed by Republican Governors Association spends hundreds of thousands on TV ads]

The Walker-Mallott campaign says Families for Alaska's Future — Dunleavy violated state law when it registered as an independent expenditure group more than two months after the original date on six contracts that cover TV advertising time from late September to the Nov. 6 general election. Those contracts have a gross value of over $735,000, the campaign said. APOC requires groups register before making any expenditures, including an agreement, the Walker-Mallott campaign said. Also, it said, the RGA transferred hundreds of thousands of dollars of ad time to Families for Alaska's Future — Dunleavy, but the independent expenditure group hasn't reported any in-kind contributions from the RGA.

Anyone can fill out an APOC complaint form.

Stand for Alaska — Vote No on One recently filed a complaint against its opponents. APOC also recently fined Stand for Alaska — Vote No on One $1,925.

The Walker-Mallott campaign has requested expedited review of its complaint.

Tegan Hanlon

Tegan Hanlon was a reporter for the Anchorage Daily News between 2013 and 2019. She now reports for Alaska Public Media.