Big Labor weighs in on Republican primaries - Must Read Alaska
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Big Labor weighs in on Republican primaries

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LABOR HAMMERS BIRCH, JUMPS ON JOHNSON

Anchorage House and Senate races are getting heated with and AFL-CIO — Big Labor money — beginning to show up in member-to-member literature that is being distributed to member and nonmember households throughout the districts in the House District 26 and Senate Seat L.

Big Labor, representing tens of thousands of state employees, has thrown its endorsements to incumbent Bob Lynn for House and Jeff Landfield for Senate.

ALASKANS OPPOSING PARNELL? WHO IS THAT?

One of the more curious aspects about the “Labor lit. drop” is the “top-three” support not just from two labor groups, from an independent expenditure group called “Alaskans Opposing Parnell.”

Who is that? Vince Beltrami and Joelle Hall, one and the same with AFL-CIO. They’re the same group that put out the savaging hit pieces on Sean Parnell during the 2014 election, including this one on YouTube. They’re definitely a group that doesn’t mess around but goes for the jugular.

It’s not typical for the unions to get involved in a Republican primary in Alaska, because Big Labor typically marshalls its resources for the general elections. We are seeing a new pattern, one that is developing in other states as well, as described by this 2013 article in Mother Jones magazine.

When the Alaska Public Offices Commission was asked about whether Alaskans Opposing Parnell was still a legitimate group, APOC said:

Alaskans Opposing Parnell has not made an expenditure for the 2016 election.  Alaskans Opposing Parnell disbanded in 2015 after they disbursed their leftover funds by contributing them to Putting Alaskans First.  Alaskans Opposing Parnell’s final expenditure was made in 2015. 

Alaskans Opposing Parnell may be one of Putting Alaskans First’s largest contributors that Putting Alaskans First is required to identify, but Alaskans Opposing Parnell did not make the expenditure for the door piece – Putting Alaskans First made the expenditure.  

While APOC’s explanation is inadequate at best, because the disclaimer clearly states Alaskans Opposing Parnell has made an expenditure, it’s more troubling that APOC sees no problem with the group working under cover. The 2015 report for Alaskans Opposing Parnell states: “Disbanding: No plans to re-form. Closing out campaign account.”

Here’s what the Alaskans Opposing Parnell piece look like for Lynn and what the related piece looks like for Landfield. It appears that, in spite of what APOC is choosing to believe, an expenditure has indeed been made.

Screen Shot 2016-07-26 at 6.13.50 PM

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SOUTH ANCHORAGE DISTRICT L

THE BELTRAMI EFFECT

We delved into Alaskans Opposing Parnell in the APOC reports and came up with this, and it’s all perfectly legal, until APOC decides it’s not:

Screen Shot 2016-07-26 at 6.41.12 PM

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Here is the relevant statute that applies to Alaskans Opposing Parnell getting involved in other races:

Sec. 15.13.050. Registration before expenditure.    (a) Before making an expenditure in support of or in opposition to a candidate or before making an expenditure in support of or in opposition to a ballot proposition or question or to an initiative proposal application filed with the lieutenant governor under AS 15.45.020, each person other than an individual shall register, on forms provided by the commission, with the commission.
(b) If a group intends to support only one candidate or to contribute to or expend on behalf of one candidate 33 1/3 percent or more of its funds, the name of the candidate shall be a part of the name of the group. If the group intends to oppose only one candidate or to contribute its funds in opposition to or make expenditures in opposition to a candidate, the group’s name must clearly state that it opposes that candidate by using a word such as “opposes,” “opposing,” “in opposition to,” or “against” in the group’s name. Promptly upon receiving the registration, the commission shall notify the candidate of the group’s organization and intent. A candidate may register more than one group to support the candidate; however, multiple groups controlled by a single candidate shall be treated as a single group for purposes of the contribution limit in AS 15.13.070(b)(1).
(c) If a group intends to make more than 50 percent of its contributions or expenditures in support of or in opposition to a single initiative on the ballot, the title or common name of the initiative must be a part of the name of the group. If the group intends to make more than 50 percent of its contributions or expenditures in opposition to a single initiative on the ballot, the group’s name must clearly state that the group opposes that initiative by using a word such as “opposes,” “opposing,” “in opposition to,” or “against” in the group’s name.

 

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Suzanne Downing had careers in business and journalism before serving as the Director of Faith and Community-based Initiatives for Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and returning to Alaska to serve as speechwriter for Gov. Sean Parnell. Born on the Oregon coast, she moved to Alaska in 1969.

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