Democrats pressure governor to appeal the reversal of $500 campaign donation limit


The Alaska Senate Democrats are asking Gov. Mike Dunleavy to fight a Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals decision that made the $500 campaign donation limit in Alaska illegal.

The court said in Thompson v. Hebdon that Alaska laws placing limits on certain campaign contributions violate the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

Read: Court strikes Alaska’s $500 campaign contribution limit

“If the court’s ruling stands, there will be no limits on individual campaign contributions to candidates or political groups, and no limits on nonresidents’ campaign contributions,” the group wrote in a letter to the governor.

“Alaskans recognize the corrosive effects of big money in politics and understand that elections should not be decided simply by wealthy individuals capable of making unlimited campaign contributions—including Outsiders who do not live and work here, and cannot vote here, but seek influence over Alaska’s elected representatives for favorable policy from which they will reap benefits. Unlimited campaign contributions are a threat to our democracy and should not be permitted to drown out the voices of average Alaskans,” the Democrats said.

The campaign limit is one that especially hurts Republican candidates because they do not typically get donations from union organizations, which are exempt from the limit.

But the group is saying the governor has a constitutional duty to fight the court.

“We therefore urge you to direct the attorney general to seek rehearing en banc within the timeframe required for the petition. The case was decided by a three-member panel of judges, with the court’s Chief Judge dissenting in the outcome. If the petition is granted, eleven members of the court will review these issues, and the Chief Judge would serve on that bench,” the group wrote, adding that “The Chief Judge’s dissenting opinion is factually and legally sound, and the state should rely on that reasoning for our arguments.”

The Democrats say the ruling is going to threaten the integrity of elections and must be blocked by the governor.

“Campaign season is already underway, and there is a danger that a gap in the law could result in wealthy donors making significant, unfettered campaign contributions. Therefore, as long as legal proceedings continue or should the petition be denied, the attorney general should seek a stay of the Thompson ruling until it is overturned or until Alaska enacts constitutionally permissible changes to our donation limits,” they wrote.

Those signing the letter were Senate Minority Leader Tom Begich, Scott Kawasaki, Jesse Kiehl, Elvi Gray-Jackson, Donny Olson, and Bill Wielechowski. Sen. Lyman Hoffman, a Democrat, did not sign the letter.


    • Way to go Shirley with your thoughtful analysis. It turns out the really big money in politics comes from wealthy folks Outside and a lot of it is passed on to Democrats or in regard to issues that are typically considered “progressive.” The big money swells in tech and other industries are outspending other sources and the R’s are behind anymore in the political money wars. This isn’t an issue of our Governor standing tall. He had nothing to do with the lawsuit. The issue is whether to appeal the court ruling that denies application of a law passed in Alaska. To not defend Alaska law is standing small, not tall.

  1. Wonder how they feel about outside groups bankrolling the ranked choice voting initiative WHICH was an illegal ballot measure because it had TWO OTHER points on it besides ranked choice! Scott Kendall brought in tens if thousands of dollars from outside money on that! If the Dems agree to limiting PAC money along with outside money, then, and only then would I support Dunleavy opposing the ruling from the 9th Circuit. Otherwise, take your crocodile tears somewhere else Democrats!

    • Dear Victim: Your constitutional analysis in regard to the single-subject provision is wrong. As it legally wrong. As in wrong as a matter of fact.

  2. Sorry, this is just something else. The Democrats asserting the possible bad influence of big “Outside” money? This doesn’t just “go” it runs with all speed from the sublime to the very ridiculous.

  3. Why would Governor Dunleavy do that! He is a Republican for goodness sake! He be shooting his own foot while outside money will be pouring by the millions into the Democrat’s 2022 Governor pick whoever they decide. hahaha

    Governor Dunleavy will make the correct choice however he is led.

  4. Elvi Gray-Jackson is an embarrassment. She shows up at the state senate chambers dressed like she is going to the beach and then offers very little or nothing constructive or additive to the discussion or debate. That she is involved in an attempt to overturn this judicial ruling just adds more to the worthlessness that she and these Alaska Ds represent.

    • Well, what microagressions did Senator Gray-Jackson commit to offend your sense of well being Butch? Who would think anyone with a handle like “Butch” could be so sensitive?

      • Edgy boi Joe can’t help but own them boomer cons. Keep melting them snowflakes with your hot takes, Joe. It ain’t cringe at all.

  5. Maybe that bunch of do nothings could get to work on some election reform legislation and quit looking around like it was the court or the Governors fault they are not doing their jobs….there were a few acting interested in doing some of that this past year but it seems to have ground to a stop as the session neared its end and of course none of this has a chance in the completely non-organized and counter-productive house…

  6. 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. There are countless candidates who spent more than their opposition who failed to win an election. If Democrats were serious about limiting campaign donations then there would be no exceptions like those afforded to unions who shell out cash overwhelmingly to, you guessed it, Democrats.

    • Steve-O is right about money not buying an election, especially when you have a decent candidate with a terrific message.

  7. Good now you can reduce the number of APOC workers since there will be less information for them to gather or at least less fines for them to dole out. Less to track more freedom for the candidates.

  8. The threat to Alaska Elections is the Unions and Democrats. Ballot Measure 2 was the greatest threat to elections and was 95% funded by outside Alaska money. Sorry Democrats you are the biggest threat to Alaska Sovereignty.

    • Here is a comment long on dubious conclusions and short of thoughtful analysis. Hey, it’s a free country and making up stuff based on subjective feelings disconnected from reality is not only possible, it is common in the modern world.

  9. So the Dems had it good with the Union donations that were NOT limited to $500 and now that it is open to anyone and everyone for unlimited amounts, they are complaining? I am shocked. Not really.

Comments are closed.