Breaking: No campaign donation limits at all in Alaska

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There are no limits on campaign donations in Alaska right now.

In light of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruling in Thompson v. Hebdon, the Alaska Public Offices Commission staff issued a draft advisory opinion last fall concerning contribution limits to campaigns, setting the new limit at $1,500. The amount was set arbitrarily by staff to be in the spirit of the previous $500 limit, struck down by the court, and to adjust for inflation to something more reasonable.

That staff opinion was struck down by the Commission itself on March 3, 2022, when the commission issued a final order, saying, “there are no longer any individual-to-candidate; individual-to-non-political party; non-political party group-to-candidate; and non-political party group-to-non-political party contributions for Alaska’s state and local elections.

At the same time, the Commission implored the Legislature to come up with new campaign limit legislation that voters would approve.

The ruling means unless the Legislature makes a new law that holds up in court, an unlimited amount of cash may be spent in Alaska races, clearly a game changer for a state that, until last summer, had the strictest limits on contributions of any state.

This story will be updated.

25 COMMENTS

    • How is that?
      .
      Do you realize who the biggest donors are (nationally), and what party they donate to?
      .
      The #1 political donor in the US is an organization called Act Blue. They donate MILLIONS exclusively to Dems. The remainder of the top 10 political donors are all leftists, and they donate almost exclusively to Democrats.
      .
      Republicans may be able to grab a few more $$$ from this ruling, but the Democrats now have access to billions. Do not be surprised to see dem war chests swell at a rate 5-10x that of Republicans.

    • Did you know that in the 2016 presidential race Donald Trump’s average donation to his campaign was $50? That’s right, $50.00. Hillary had far fewer donations but her’s ranged in the hundreds of thousands, most were in the millions.

  1. Wonderful news folks! So now you can contribute both your Permanent Fund Dividend AND your newly-minted $1300 energy check! Isn’t the Welfare State of Alaska great? Let’s support those Conservative politicians who are trying to return Alaska to the Stone Age.

    • Stone Ager here, please send me money and then I’ll decide what office I want to run for. Since we’re treading new ground with our voting and contributions, please help me invent a new elected office to be elected to. Let’s start with ……wait for it….Czarvenator! …. anybody else got a name for our new office to be elected to?

    • What the hell are you talking about? Are you sure you don’t have democrats and republicans mixed up?

      • Surely, you’ve got a “less than serious” bone somewhere…. come on man we need some creative names!

    • Norm, who is trying to send us back to the stone age? Biden and the Dems have shut down our resources and expect everything to be electric with no plan to produce more electricity or upgrade the grid (I know, your wall has plenty of outlets so why worry). When the grid fails, you will know what the stone age is.

  2. I have never understood why any donations to a campaign are allowed except from the constituents for whichever office a candidate is running. Anything else leads to corruption.

      • Spending money is NOT speech! And weak and feeble apologies for, and rationalizations of, trying to equate the two only and invariably lead to total political corruption.

        • Jeff,
          In the constitutional sense the word “speech” isn’t restricted to words that come out of a persons mouth. It is widely understood that constitutionally protected speech includes but is not limited to written and printed text, oral statements, television and radio broadcasts, internet posts, and symbolic speech or freedom of expression such as non-written and non-spoken forms of expression like wearing armbands or uniforms, displaying or burning flags, artistic expression, and even spending money especially and specifically spending money on political campaigns. Spending money is an expression of speech, and has been found to be so by the courts up to and including SCOTUS.
          .
          By restricting spending for certain groups and allowing others unrestricted spending you are in fact promoting corruption, if we are not all equal under the law…but I believe the 14th Amendment covers that, they even have a fancy term for it, the Equal Protection Clause.

  3. In the market place of dollars vs. ideas, ideas win every time. Money does not buy elections, as much as the media who profits off of the money spent on elections would have us believe. While the mantra that money buys elections is a good sound bite and plays well with those who aren’t paying attention, that myth gets shattered every election cycle. There are countless candidates who spent more than their opposition who failed to win an election. There are studies showing a winning candidate can cut their spending by half and only receive 1% fewer votes while a losing candidate can double their spending and receive only 1% more votes. This has been shown to be true in races where the same candidates run against each other multiple times. Typically money goes to good candidates. Now the power of incumbency is hard to overcome with or without money. By removing exceptions to the campaign donation limits and allowing everyone to play by the same rules we’ve finally removed an impediment to the free and fair elections that so many of us desire.

  4. Wait a minute! From what we were told by a couple of District 1 leaders who went to Juneau to learn about Prop 2 and the Rank Choice Voting, businesses cannot donate to a candidate unless they are a single owner small business. Is there a big conflict between Prop 2 for in-state elections and this ruling? It also appears that all the wild promises by the supporters of Prop 2 (Dan Ortiz and Lisa M) there is no protection against big outside money for federal candidates: ie, Senate and House. Please set me straight if my information is not correct. We are closer and closer to no election integrity and no way to double verify outcomes (per Prop 2 computer only counting of the ranked choice). Think we should take this state back?

    • Prop 2 was mainly designed to “fortify” elections in favor of RINOs. The “dark money” provision only requires disclosure of the source of donations. It doesn’t limit the donations themselves.

  5. I agree with your comment, Steve-O, in theory.

    It seems to me…and I could be misinterpreting your position here..

    Perhaps you are referring to PAID CAMPAIGN ads in the media?

    Because the mainstream “media” has been misusing its platform outside of actual paid campaign funding to effect the outcome of elections for a long time now.

    A fair election cannot ever be had until the most aggregious of media platforms are held accountable by all legal means necessary.

    Mainstream Media platforms have been heavily bankrolled to corrupt the Constitutional Freedom of the Press Protections.

    The media ITSELF is solely responsible for the”chilling effect” on the Freedom of Speech in the United States of America.

    Americans challenging the media are not threatening to reduce freedom of speech.

    Americans are fighting to take it back!

    In this new era of campaign funding, I hope that Campaigns boycott all media platforms that feel entitled to a huge “bump” in their advertising revenue during the election season.

    I strongly recommend Campaigns boycott these media platforms.

    The statistic you base your argument upon, is that the amount of campaign funding only bears a 1% swing to the total campaign effort.

    If that is true, boycotting the media during the election season is a very inexpensive and very LOUD statement from any campaign.

    Bypass the media and use precious campaign funds in more effective and ethical communication strategies.

    • Trudy,
      Campaign funds aren’t dedicated solely to media expenses. Limiting the amount of money certain groups can spend on political activities while allowing others loopholes to get around those spending restrictions is inherently unequal. By allowing all political spending to be done so on an equal footing we are allowing more freedom instead of restricting freedom, as some here would prefer.

  6. I don’t really care about funding limitations on campaigns, because it is common knowledge that the premise of limitations is a myth.

    Why regulate something that cannot be policed?

    There are two dominant political parties in the United States- Democrats and Republicans.

    They are non profit organizations for the primary purpose of fundraising.

    Maybe instead of limiting campaign funding, remove the tax exemption of campaign revenue and political “parties” revenue.

    The people/entities that donate to campaigns and political parties still get their tax benefit through “gifting”, “donating” or whatever proper terminology.
    But the campaigns and political parties are legally required to declare taxable revenue/income to the IRS.

    The Campaigns/Political Parties could potentially not have tax burden if they operate for their intended purpose.

    This transfers the burden of accountability to the campaigns/political parties by requiring them to keep records of their expenditures for the IRS.

    This removes the scrutiny away from who is donating to who is receiving and spending said donations.

    Also, it creates a baseline measure between campaign promises, through campaign depending, to actual performance and follow through.

    This gives Americans better data on real information.

    Americans then have more tangible information about who and where they want to invest their support, money and voting capital.

    Ending the devisiveness in our country shouldn’t always come from a mutual enemy we can all rally around and against.

    Ending the devisiveness can only be sustainable by putting in place regulations that put accountability in the proper place.

    That increases freedom, increases transparency, and makes information available to measure the performance of elected officials.

    Voters then have tangible data about politicians/elected officials and to make their own determination whether they are satisfied as citizens or choose to make a change…

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