Groups backing Dunleavy fined $4,450 for finance disclosure violations
Two groups backing Republican Gubernatorial candidate Mike Dunleavy on Friday were fined $4,450 each for failing to file accurate and timely financial disclosure reports.
The Alaska Public Offices Commission issued its ruling Friday, following last week’s complaint by incumbent Gov. Bill Walker’s campaign.
The campaign filed complaints against the Republican Governor’s Association and the Families for Alaska’s Future-Dunleavy.
Campaign manager John-Henry Heckendorn said last week, the groups' group failed to register with APOC before purchasing campaign ads backing Dunleavy.
APOC held an expedited hearing on Tuesday and released the following conclusions outlined in a nine-page order:
- The RGA violated the prohibition on making expenditures without first registering with APOC when it reserved ad time. The five-person panel ruled, 3-2.
- FFAF violated the prohibition on making expenditures without first registering with APOC when it reserved ad time. The commission ruled, 4-1, on this allegation
- FFAF failed to file accurate APOC reports because it did not report contributions and expenditures related to media reservation. The commission ruled, 4-1, on this third item.
Stacey Stone, an Anchorage-based attorney for the two groups, said in an interview: “There is not a unanimous consensus from APOC. We main our position on this obviously, but I think it’s important that APOC was divided on this issue.”
The commission voted 4-1 to reduce the maximum fines by half, arriving at the $4,450 figure while citing the group’s “status as inexperienced filers – i.e., entities that have been subject to a registration or reporting requirement for less than 365 days.”
The commission also ordered the RGA to register with APOC and the FFAF group to update its financial disclosure filings to reflect accurate expenditures.
“(W)e are proud to have made sure that the RGA must register as an independent expenditure group in Alaska and disclose its donors, rather than continuing to hide behind an invented front group,” said Walker campaign manager John-Henry Heckendorn in a prepared statement. “This was the primary objective of filing the complaint.”
According to the order, the commission can still adjust the fines. Heckendorn said he would pursue a higher fine.
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