Backers of Ballot Measure 2 are trying to weasel out of complying with ‘dark money’ provision they helped write

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The Outside financiers of Ballot Measure 2, the 2020 law voters passed to make campaign funding more transparent and to enact jungle primaries and ranked choice voting, now want to get around complying with the very law they wrote.

Scott Kendall, a campaign operative who has worked for Sen. Lisa Murkowski and Gov. Bill Walker, was one of the main engines behind the Alaskans for Better Elections ballot initiative that brought Ballot Measure 2 to life and convinced voters that it would get rid of “dark money” in Alaska elections. He is a repeat complainant against Republican candidates for violating what he sees as Alaska election regulations.

Now that Ballot Measure 2 has passed, however, he and a group he is aligned with don’t want to comply with it. Unite America, a dark money group that tricked Alaskans into voting for Ballot Measure 2, asked the Alaska Public Offices Commission if they can be excused from the “dark money” provision and not reveal their top donors.

“Unite America (UA) is a political organization based in Denver, Colorado that supports moderate-left candidates for elective office and advocates for changes in laws affecting the election process that UA claims will benefit centrist candidates but that are also supported by left-of-center and radical-left interests. Unite America is a ‘hybrid political action committee’ that allows it to operate as both as a Super PAC allowed to make unlimited, independent expenditures to help candidate campaigns and also as a traditional PAC that makes direct contributions to candidate campaigns,” writes InfluenceWatch.org, which tracks influencers in the political arena. Wherever Unite America is working in elections, it is working for liberal-Democrat candidates.

Learn more about Unite America’s involvement in pushing Ballot Measure 2 here.

Unite America asked the Alaska Public Offices Commission in early September whether a $30,000 donation to an AFL-CIO campaign group called Putting Alaskans First Committee would fall under the “dark money” provisions of Ballot Measure 2. Putting Alaskans First is working to elect Democrat Matt Claman for Senate, liberal Republican-in-name-only Kelly Merrick for Senate, and Democrat Scott Kawasaki for Senate. The group is working against Republican Sen. Mia Costello. On the Kenai, the group has worked against Tuckerman Babcock for Senate and supports his opponent, NEA representative Jesse Bjorkman. Putting Alaskans First has also spent tens of thousands of dollars opposing Mike Dunleavy for governor.

Since the first $30,000, Unite America has put another $100,000 into Putting Alaskans First, according to filings with APOC.

The Alaska Public Offices Commission staff said that Unite America’s plan to reveal its true sources of funding didn’t meet the spirit of Ballot Measure 2, and that the staff would recommend to the commission to reject that plan. A decision by the commission itself could come in December, long after the election.

The letter from the Unite America attorneys argue against Ballot Measure 2 provisions, while the commission staff Tom Lucas’ opinion on the matter quotes Scott Kendall, author of Ballot Measure 2, extensively.

“UAP [Unite America] attached a letter from Scott Kendall to its advisory opinion request. Mr. Kendall was the primary author of BM2. The letter is addressed to Alaska Public Offices Commission Executive Director, Heather Hebdon. In the letter, Mr. Kendall states that the purpose of the ‘dark money’ provisions of BM2, ‘was to end the practice of obscuring true sources of contributions to independent expenditure groups by funneling them through intermediaries’.  Here, UAP is the intermediary. The true sources of the money it intends on contributing to Alaska independent expenditure groups are its contributors,” wrote Lucas.

“However, Mr. Kendall goes on to warn:

“In Short, the Dark Money provision in Ballot Measure 2 did not give APOC the authority to regulate contributions made for purposes other than impacting candidate elections in Alaska. To the extent an entity receives funds for non- campaign purposes and keeps those funds segregated from campaign funds, the non-campaign funds do not fall within Ballot Measure 2 or under APOC’s authority at all.”

“Here, the funds contributed by UAP are not segregated from the funds UAP uses for other purposes. Instead, UAP simply tapped its general fund to make its contribution to PAFC and intends on doing the same thing for future contributions to Alaska independent expenditure groups.”

Lucas concludes that Unite America’s proposed method of identifying the true sources of the funds it contributes to Alaska independent expenditure groups does not comply with the intent or letter of BM2.

“If UAP funds its contributions to Alaska independent expenditure groups through its general fund, it must name all true sources of the funds used for those contributions since February 28, 2021, on its first Statement of Contributions Report and only previously unreported contributions thereafter,” Lucas wrote.

See where Putting Alaskans First is spending all of its money this election cycle, at this link.

“Here, UAP proposes to choose for itself which of its contributors will be considered the true sources of its contributions using no uniform methodology. This, it cannot do because it violates the clear intent of BM2 and the letter of the statutes enacted,” Lucas wrote.

Key takeaway:

Unite America, dark money from Outside the state, funded and is intertwined with Alaskans for Better Elections, which is connected directly with Scott Kendall, who is one of Alaskans for Better Elections architects and the author of the “dark money” provision that Unite America is now trying to skirt. Kendall is also a backer of Sen. Lisa Murkowski and Bill Walker for governor, and has worked against other Republicans on the ballot.

24 COMMENTS

  1. A backfire for Prop 2, intended to shutdown closed Republican primaries and backsource campaign donors from out of state. Now that Bill Walker is about to get beat, and beat good, and Lisa Murkowski is also likely to lose, the little lapdog of Walker (Scottie Kendall) is in panic mode. The entire intent of Prop 2 may actually work to place Conservatives in office. Little man Kendall is like the Covid vaccine, trying to stop the Republicans through subterfuge. But the Republican virus is clever and keeps growing and finding new hosts.

    • Also–the lefties are now all lined up like good little foot soldiers praising the daylights out of RCV. Until Nov 9th–when they’ll be condemning it…

    • Read Suzanne’s article about findings by pollster Ivan Moore and see if you still think “Murkowski is likely to lose.”

      ‘https://mustreadalaska.com/must-read-alaska-show-pollster-ivan-moore-says-murkowski-cant-win-without-her-base-of-democrat-voters/

      • Ivan Moore’s push/pull polls are partisan stumps for Democrats. Always have been and he’s correct only 50% of the time.

        • MRAK apparently thought enough of Moore’s credibility to interview him on its video podcast, then follow up with an article summarizing the podcast interview.

  2. 50,000 dollars from a Houston, TX couple. Another 40,000 dollars from two people in Southern CA. It is ALL outside money.
    We need to get rid of BM2, give it a flush as it were.
    Then push a stand alone campaign transparency bill.

  3. Once again, Porcaro’s pet project is the gift that keeps on giving. Nice way to cap off a career by aiding a guy who stands for everything Porcaro allegedly was against.

    I’m not surprised by Kendall. Anyone who didn’t think he’d try something slimy hasn’t been paying attention.

    • We cannot know what Porcaro is for or against. He will say (and probably do) anything as long as he is paid adequately to do so. But it is rich to recall that he said he was totally FOR Ranked Choice Voting before he switched to saying now he is totally AGAINST it.

    • As is his extended family up in Fairbanks. The well-known Hopkins Cabal. Unfenced political animals.

  4. They never think about compliance with laws their favored lobbyists long legged recent girl grads write for Alaskans. We got you, kaboodle.

  5. “Unite America (UA) is a political organization based in Denver, Colorado that supports moderate-left candidates for elective office…”

    There is no such thing as a moderate left; they will always go sideways given enough time. Never trust a progressive

  6. These people are financing Kelly Merrick, who is basically running unopposed in her new district in Chugiak/ Eagle River where most people are unaware of who she is. Her campaign has a lot more money than any of the other candidates and it is evident with all the signs and people canvassing neighborhoods with her material. The left really needs her to win.

  7. I am so weary of this scumbag Scott Kendall screwing up our elections with his constant lawsuits and complaints.

  8. You can tell a lot about the company one keeps. Murkowski, Walker, Bjorkman, Merrick et al will reap what they have sowed!

  9. There is no law, no matter how cleverly written that cannot be worked around. There is always a loophole, and the backers of a law are more likely to know where those loopholes are than the opponents.
    .
    Especially when it comes to election and campaign laws. I have yet to see one that is not specifically designed to hinder anyone not promoting it.

  10. Is this not the same Scott Kendall that has brought in group of Dunleavy supporters before the APOC and alleging even more in an attempt to get the Republican Governors’ Association funds pulled from the Dunleavy campaign while trying to duck his own sins? He has done everything in the last 4 years to kill Dunleavy’s attempts to introduce initiatives to let the people decide on their taxes, or to get the PFD enshrined in the Alaska Constitution so bums like Walker cannot kill it. And the so-called Alaskan press has been silent about it for the most part, so newer Alaskans don’t know what is going on. The more that I find out about Kendall and Walker the less I can even tolerate them. The latest dodge is that they are promising two dollar gas to Alaskans to get their votes. And some are falling for this scam. The only thing Scott Kendall does is to be King of the Scam Artists. Same with Walker. It is my worst nightmare that Alaskans will vote either Gara or Walker in. Please, Alaskans, wake up, Rank Red and all get out to vote. Use their slime RCV against them. Then get rid of it in the next election! By the way, Suzanne, where is Dunleavy’s election interview?

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