GOP Operative Accuses Democratic Senator Hollis French of Violating Campaign Laws
ANCHORAGE - As the election approaches, the battle for a west Anchorage senate seat is getting fiercer by the day.
A lot of this battle is being fought under the purview of the Alaska Public Offices Commission (APOC), which enforces campaign finance laws.
Wednesday, the commission, overruling its own staff, voted to fine Republican Bob Bell $390 for initially failing to fully disclose the clients of his engineering firm and the amounts they paid.
Now another Republican is going after French.
Republican operative Bernadette Wilson held a news conference at state GOP headquarters Thursday afternoon to announce that she has filed a complaint against French with APOC.
Wilson contends that he illegally coordinated his own re-election campaign with the issue-oriented campaign of the independent group “Putting Alaskans First,” which is supporting French’s stand against a dramatic reduction in oil taxes.
The evidence, she said, is that one person and two companies are doing work for both campaigns.
"I have not only filed an expedited complaint with APOC, but made the request that because so many of these links seem to be related to media directly, that all ads that Hollis French has placed and all ads that the independent expenditure group in this particular race has placed, that all of them be pulled until we get a decision," Wilson said.
French said voters should be skeptical of such an accusation so close to the election.
In any case, he said the mere presence of the same personnel in both campaigns is not evidence of coordination.
"I think you'll find this is an area of the law that's not very clear. But I know that I've maintained a firewall between me and the Putting Alaskans First campaign, and we're running in a small Senate district. They've got a different objective."
Paul Dauphinais, executive director of APOC, said the staff decided to accept Wilson’s complaint for the commission's consideration.
He said the commission would consider the matter before the election.