The Alaska Public Offices Commission has scheduled a special meeting at 4 p.m. on Wednesday to review a campaign finance complaint that alleges the campaign of far-right Anchorage mayoral candidate Dave Bronson wracked up more than $170,000 in campaign finance violations.
The complaint was filed on Monday by the campaign of Anchorage mayoral candidate Forrest Dunbar campaign, alleging violations that fall into six broad categories totaling more than $170,000. Though the results of the April 6 election are still a week away from being finalized, Dunbar and Bronson are set to face off in a run-off for Anchorage mayor in a May 11 election.
At the Wednesday meeting, the Alaska Public Offices Commission will consider a request for the commission to take up expedite the complaint. If they do, according to the meeting notice, the commission may immediately take up the complaint at the hearing. It’s unclear just what action APOC would take at this point in the process, but it has typically considered fines in cases of inaccurate reporting.
The complaints were put together by Paula DeLaiarro, Dunbar’s campaign treasurer. DeLaiarro has been involved in several other campaign finance complaints against conservative candidates, including a complaint that led to APOC staff finding that now-former Rep. Lance Pruitt had wracked up more than $1 million in campaign finance violations over prior campaigns. The staff recommended a far lower fine that the commission has yet to act upon.
“In all my years reviewing APOC reports, I have never seen a candidate campaign at this level with this volume nor this frequency of violations and obfuscated data,” DeLaiarro said in a statement accompanying the announcement. “Bronson’s approach to his campaign finances indicates either a gross fiscal incompetence or a willful disregard for the law and an intent to deceive the public. But my biggest concern is that the issues we have cited are just the tip of the iceberg. I am worried that there is an enormous amount of illegal dark money activity happening below the surface that we cannot see.”
In a comment to the Anchorage Daily News, Bronson claimed that Dunbar “is using APOC as a tool to try and distract my team” but did not directly address the allegations.
The allegations against Bronson break down into six broad categories that are as follows:
- The central complaint alleges that the Bronson campaign illegally benefitted from polling conducted by the Recall Felix Rivera campaign. The complaint references an ad by Bronson citing favorable polling number, but an expense was never listed by Bronson’s campaign. Instead, the Recall Rivera Campaign did report an expense to the polling company cited in Bronson’s mailer but never publicly disclosed the results of the campaign, which Dunbar’s campaign says is an “backdoor network” to funnel campaign contributions.
- $1,400 in contributions over the individual limit.
- A failure to properly report $18,000 in debt to radio stations in a timely manner
- $2,665.63 in improper contributions towards fundraising fees and event catering
- $104,185 in campaign marketing expenditures that the Dunbar group alleges were “laundered through political consultants, with the actual advertising expenses and targets hidden from the public.
- Hundred of unreported dollars in Facebook advertising
The meeting advisory
For more information on the complaint, visit APOC’s website here.