Public Offices commission admonishes Murkowski, Ulmer

Posted: Friday, June 06, 2003

JUNEAU (AP) Gov. Frank Murkowski's gubernatorial campaign did not collect more than the $20,000 allowed from out-of-state contributors, the Alaska Public Offices Commission ruled on Thursday.

But the then-candidate for governor did violate state campaign laws by failing to list the occupation of several donors who gave more than $100. As a penalty the commission waived a $1,480 fine and plans to send a letter of admonition.

Alaskan Independence Party gubernatorial candidate John Glotfelty filed the complaint against Murkowski in September, alleging the violations happened in 2001.

Glotfelty, who filed the complaint on behalf of the party, lost in the Alaskan Independence Party Primary to Don Wright.

In his complaint filed against Murkowski, he alleges the campaign accepted more from out-of-state donors than allowed by law. The complaint also alleged that numerous contributors did not list their occupation.

Independence Party Chairman Mark Chryson said according to information obtained from the Alaska Public Offices Commission web site about $60,000 in donations were received from people who did not list their employer or occupation information.

An APOC investigation did not determine how much in donations were improperly logged. But it found that all the necessary information was provided for donations made in 2001 and only a small percentage of 2002 donations did not list employers or occupations.

Murkowski attorney Timothy McKeever told the commission that the campaign made a concerted effort to contact the donors.

''If you were to look at campaign disclosure reports, this is not a rare bird,'' said Brooke Miles, APOC executive director.

The commission is expected to take up a complaint on Friday alleging Democrat gubernatorial candidate Fran Ulmer also failed to disclose similar information.

The Republican Party of Alaska filed the complaint in September, also alleging Ulmer improperly accepted campaign contributions. APOC staff is recommending the commission make a similar ruling against the Ulmer campaign on Friday when it hears the case.

Miles said the commission is considering adopting new regulations to require campaigns to refund contribution if the employers or occupation of a donor cannot be ascertained in a reasonable period of time.

The five-member commission voted 4-1 on a motion to admonish the Murkowski campaign for violating election law and waive the fine. Andrea Jacobson, the commission chair and its only non-partisan member, cast the lone vote against the motion.

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