Alaska Public Offices Commission (APOC) records show Anchorage developer Mark Pfeffer, and those who work for him, donated heavily to elected decision makers in the same election cycle Pfeffer was pursuing a deal to renovate and lease to the state the Legislative Information Office (LIO) building in downtown Anchorage. That deal would eventually total $44 million and cost the state a rent increase from $57,000 per month to more than $280,000 per month.
Court documents in a lawsuit filed against the Alaska legislature by Anchorage Attorney Jim Gottstein show Pfeffer Development and the state legislature were working on a deal since at least the beginning of 2013, with a deal being completed on September 19th of that year.
During the 2012-2014 election cycle Pfeffer and those working for him, including lobbyist Robert Evans and Project Manager John Steiner donated over $45,000 to legislators and political parties. The largest chunk of those donations went to the Alaska Republican Party at $11,000, while the Alaska Democratic Party received $1,000. Those donations could intern then be re-donated to individual legislators or candidates.
The primary committee charged with negotiating and approving the new LIO deal was the Legislative Council, a special committee made up of members of both the Senate and House. The Legislative Council’s function is to oversee the day-to-day administrative functioning of the legislature. APOC records show that of the 16 members of that committee, 12 of them took donations from Pfeffer and his associates totaling $9,400.
Altogether 39 of the 60 legislators, including both Republicans and Democrats, took money from Pfeffer’s people. Governor Parnell was also a large recipient of Pfeffer money, taking a total of $3,700. This is important because the entire legislature and Governor would need to support, or al least accept, the final deal, as Pfeffer himself says in an email to Rep. Mike Hawker on July 13, 2013 “If the full legislature decides to move forward by approving the lease (and the governor signs off} what more do you need?” And thus the Taj MaHawker was born.