No Immediate Penalty After Pro Proposition Two Group Files Complaint Against Opponents
Commission rejects request for expedited consideration
ANCHORAGE - The group that wants a no vote on Ballot Measure Two in next week’s primary election won't be facing any penalties before the election even though it ran afoul of campaign finance laws.
The Alaska Public Offices Commission, in a 4-to-0 vote, decided that the Alaska Sea Party – which sponsored the citizens’ initiative to restore a coastal zone management program – did not meet the criteria in law for expedited consideration of their complaint about the TV ads being run by Vote No on 2.
Therefore, the complaint will not be heard until at least APOC’s September meeting, after voters will have approved or rejected the citizens’ initiative on coastal zone management.
The Sea Party wants to restore the process under which local comments are formally considered by federal agencies making decisions on development projects, including mining and oil and gas.
It’s being out-spent by several hundred thousand dollars, due to contributions by major oil companies.
The Sea Party filed a complaint about the Vote No on 2 ads, because they do not comply with a 2010 statute requiring any ads with audio to orally identify the top three donors to a campaign.
"The violation may continue to occur absent an emergency order by the commission for the violation to cease. And without such an order there could be a material effect on the outcome of the election and irreparable harm to voters and Alaska's election system," said Lisa Weissler of the Alaska Sea Party.
But a lawyer for Vote No on 2 said the group, notified of the complaint, immediately swung into action to edit the ads and include the required spoken disclosure of top donors.
"As of over the weekend and certainly by no later than this morning, all the ads now have both the written and the oral. As I said in the meeting, they already had the disclosure, so the disclosure was there for everyone to see," said Thomas Amodio of the Vote No on 2 group.
Because the violation was corrected, APOC chairwoman Elizabeth Hickerson said the Sea Party's complaint did not meet the standard of potential irreparable harm to qualify for expedited consideration.