Republicans file second APOC complaint

Posted: Sunday, November 05, 2000

ANCHORAGE (AP) -- The state Republican party filed a second complaint Friday with the Alaska Public Offices Commission, again accusing the Alaska Conservation Voters of violating campaign finance laws.

In effect, the Republicans claim the conservation group has acted as an extension of six candidates' campaigns by producing and mailing expensive glossy advertisements promoting the candidates while claiming those were ''independent expenditures.'' That type of spending is not limited, according to state campaign finance laws, as long as the group does not coordinate the spending with the candidates.

Groups may contribute no more than $1,000 per candidate, not counting independent expenditures.

The conservation group has supported Democrats Sarah Scanlan, Bettye Davis, Sharon Cissna, Harry Crawford and Mark Handy, and nonpartisan Pat Abney.

At a press conference Friday, state Republican party chair Randy Ruedrich and four Republican candidates -- Con Bunde, Ramona Barnes, Jeff Gonnason and Eldon Mulder -- said they didn't see how the conservation group could have produced the mailers without talking to the candidates.

''Those are professional photos on those mailers,'' said Mulder, Handy's opponent in House District 23.

Mary Core, executive director of Alaska Conservation Voters, said the group has photos taken of the candidates for its voter scorecard or its newsletter. She said the group has done nothing wrong.

''We've been working very closely with APOC and have not conferred with the candidates,'' she said.

''This is an example of worried people finding something to complain about,'' she said.

Republican Party chairman Randy Ruedrich said the conservation group is not playing fair by violating the spirit, if not the letter, of campaign finance laws.

''They are changing how we run our state,'' he said.

Last week, Republicans accused the conservation group of funneling more than $100,000 from its general operating fund into its political account without specifying where that money was raised and of giving excess contributions to Handy.

APOC director Karen Boorman said the commission will look closely at both complaints after the election and decide whether to investigate.

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