Grift-and-go: Former lawmaker Rep. Liz Snyder is subject of formal campaign funds complaint with APOC

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2079

Former Alaska House member Liz Snyder, a Democrat who represented a portion of midtown Anchorage from 2021 until 2022, and then moved back to her home state of Florida, has some explaining to do to the Alaska Public Offices Commission about why she used campaign money to pay her husband a “thank you gift” for services rendered on her campaign.

According to a formal complaint filed by civic activist Jay McDonald, Snyder and her husband, Sam Snyder, converted campaign contributions into personal income during her first run for office in 2018, eight years after she moved to the state and began her political activism. She also fudged the reporting requirements for campaign debts that she owed.

In the 2018 campaign cycle, Snyder used her husband Sam as her campaign treasurer. Sam is an environmental activist who worked for a salmon-focused nonprofit while in Alaska, and is a director at True Blue Strategies, a political consultancy. Upon filing her first campaign registration on April 4, 2018, Liz indicated her Sam as the treasurer, and he remained so until the end of the 2018 cycle.

Liz Snyder narrowly lost in 2018, to Republican Rep. Lance Pruitt, (and she narrowly won by 11 votes against him in 2020 and served part of one term before moving back to Florida.)

Liz Snyder’s first 30-day campaign disclosure covering the reporting period from Feb. 2 through July 20, 2018 indicates that the report was filed by herself.

Liz’s first 7-day campaign disclosure, covering the reporting period from July 20 through Aug. 11, 2018 indicates that it was filed by Samuel Snyder.” There was no payment to Sam logged on this report, nor was there a debt to Sam logged on this report. This became an important point in the complaint.

Liz Snyder’s next two campaign disclosures covering the reporting period from Aug. 12 2018 through Oct. 27, 2018, filed by Liz Snyder, again with no payment or debt to Sam, her husband and treasurer.

Liz Snyder’s final “year end” campaign disclosure covering the reporting period from Oct. 28, 2018 through Feb. 1, 2019 indicates that it was filed by Samuel Snyder.

In that report, on Dec. 4, 2018, check #157 for $2,000 was listed as an expenditure for “Sam Snyder (APOC Consulting), NA.” The explanation for the expenditure was, “Thank You Gift for APOC Support.”

It’s important to note that this expenditure is logged as a check to Samuel Snyder, and not a check to “SDS Consulting” which is the corporation owned by Sam.

Around this same period of time, an independent expenditure group named “[Mark] Begich for Alaska” was created, and it used SDS Consulting. In its first filing, the group recorded a debt of $5,500 on Aug. 29, 2018 to “SDS Consulting (Sam Snyder)” for “APOC Compliance and Filing Support.”

This group’s later filings show that the debt of $5,500 to “SDS Consulting (Samuel Snyder)” was paid in full on Nov. 5, 2018 with check #90 along with the description “APOC Filing Support – Clears debt from 9/24.”

This shows that Sam Snyder was providing these kinds of services for a fee.

According to Alaska Administrative code 2AAC 50.321. (a)(6), there are reporting requirements for “expenditures that are incurred but not paid.” At the time that an expenditure is incurred it becomes mandatory to report it.

Subsequent APOC rulings have further clarified that even if a candidate does not know what the debt amount is going to be, the candidate is required to report the estimated debt amount and tie it to the initial date it was incurred.

The way that Jay McDonald sees it, if Liz Snyder hired Samuel Snyder for the purpose of APOC Consulting and filing, she is required by 2AAC 50.321. (a)(6) to report the terms of that agreement at the date that agreement began.

Because Sam Snyder began filing her APOC reports on July 21, 2018, McDonald says it is reasonable to assume that their agreement began at some undisclosed point in that period and the agreed upon or projected debt should have been reported at that time.

But instead, no debts or payments were recorded to Samuel Snyder until the final year end report.

McDonald said that he cited reports filed by “[Mark] Begich for Alaska” in his complaint document because it proves that Sam Snyder provided this service professionally, that he knew that the requirement to report the debt for his service exists, and that he filed this debt correctly in that instance with Mark Begich’s group.

“If Samuel Snyder provided a legitimate and legal service to Liz Snyder it was never disclosed as a debt and Liz Snyder is in violation of 2AAC 50.321. (a)(6),” McDonald wrote in his complaint.

One of the problems McDonald pointed out is that Liz Snyder appeared to be actually paying Sam Snyder, but calling it a “thank you gift,” something that is not an approved expenditure to a close family member who shares the same household.

Statute “very clearly and in plain terms states that ‘campaign contributions held by a candidate or group may not be converted to personal income of the candidate.’ If Liz Snyder and Samuel Snyder filed their 2018 taxes jointly as a married couple, then Liz Snyder claimed $2,000 from her campaign as personal income. There is no exemption to this statute that invalidates this statute which applies to how Liz Snyder converted her campaign funds into personal income. Liz Snyder violated AS Sec 15.13.112(b)(2) even if she were paying Samuel Snyder for services rendered,” McDonald said in his complaint.

“Statements that Liz Snyder made in public further complicate matters. In public posts she made to Facebook Liz Snyder claims that she paid Samuel Snyder $7 per hour. $2,000 divided by $7 per hour comes out to 285.7142857 hours of labor from Samuel Snyder. The year end report that the check to Samuel Snyder was paid on began 10/28/2018 and the payment to Samuel Snyder was on 12/04/2018, 38 days later. That would come out to just over 7.5 hours of paid labor every single day with no breaks in that period, which is unlikely,” McDonald said.

“Furthermore, 2 AAC 50.384(a) required that Liz Snyder disbursed all campaign funds no later than 02/01/2019. According to the year end report filed by Liz Snyder, her final campaign funds were not disbursed until 07/19/2019, which is 5 months and 18 days past the statutory deadline,” he wrote in his complaint.

The Snyders have since left the state. In August of 2022, while Liz Snyder was still taking a check from the state government as a legislator, Sam Snyder bought a home in St. Augustine, Fla., for $575,000. Liz did not run for reelection, but ended up back where she came from, still taking a check from the State of Alaska. Her term actually ended in January, 2022.

McDonald paid a process server to serve the Snyders at their home close to the beach in St. Augustine, Fla.

McDonald earlier this year filed a complaint against another newcomer-lawmaker, the radical Democrat Rep. Jennie Armstrong. in that complaint, Armstrong started trying to raise money to pay down her debt to campaign lawyer Scott Kendall, although she had never disclosed the debt personally or in her campaign reports.

The estimated fine for the Armstrong could be as high as $385,000, according to calculations assessed by APOC staff.

31 COMMENTS

  1. A “thank you gift to her husband?” From campaign money? He’s probably the only one who dared to explore where others cared not to.
    And she made sure it wasn’t from personal funds.
    That’s a a helluva thank you, Liz.
    😂🤣

    • Fraud committed by a certain republican US Senate candidate approximately 15 years ago didn’t seem to bother GOPers too much.

      • Fannie, dear, can you be a bit more specific or are you just here to throw aspersions and leave? It is very difficult to reply factually to a comment such as yours, since it really says nothing. Care to elaborate instead of wasting everyone’s time??

  2. It’s a complete mystery to me why voters give these young Democrat women one vote. They really are grifters. They know absolutely nothing about Alaska. The can speak the far left language prevalent in most of coastal America on equality, gun control, transvestites, and climate change; but that is not what we want in Alaska. Yes, they support unlimited funding of education and they do all they can to enact an income tax. They really are grifters, arriving here because they think we need socialism comparable to California and Massachusetts. They arrive here, are elected, and then they leave the state forever.

    I watched the Armstrong trial as it was televised live. It was funny in that she pretty much said she deplaned here in Alaska feeling very horny, met her husband-to-be and decided to stay. How soon she decided to stay in Alaska became the key feature. Okay, she charmed the judge and she charmed me too; but that is no reason to vote for her.

    Both Snyder and Armstrong are cuter in person than in their photos. Is curb appeal why people vote for them?

    Juneau has plenty of cute women, especially during the session and during the tourist season. Please work hard to send thoughtful, informed people to Juneau! Thanks.

    • It shouldn’t really be a mystery, when the alternative is Lance Pruitt. I don’t really mean that as a perjurative, but as an acknowlegement that Lance made basically zero effort to appeal to left-of-center swing voters, and didn’t even work very hard for the tight-of-center moderates.

      Liz, whatever her true values were, ran a faitly centrist campaign. Her lack of experience in both politics and Alaska was balanced by her promise to represent constituents moeso than party.

      Forrst Wolfe was a very refreshing GOP candidate for Muldoon in that regard. He didn’t win, but he had a refreshingly constituent focussed message.

    • “cuter’ …… “charmed” ….. a Peltola advantage also.
      Who want’s to vote for old, ugly people (w/ experience, who can actually run things correctly)

  3. Not the first far left “progressive” to move to Alaska to try and insert radical left politics into our state – and then when losing an election run – move to another state. Won’t be the last. Reference Rep Armstrong. A candidate in the MatSu did that a couple of years ago and was in the state less than 2 years – literally moved right after losing the election back to…drum roll…California. I can understand military types who end up living here after serving but tired of seeing people move here on a political agenda. I’m sure it happens on the right too but it seems far less prevalent than from left wing ideologues.

    • A bigger problem is the Lefties that move here, get a job & stay.
      It is those lib voters that vote for these clueless greenhorns.
      Especially the ones on our assembly

    • All recent examples. Time for another history lesson. Does anyone remember Andre Marrou? Of the three Libertarians elected to the legislature, he was the only one who remained loyal to the party as it imploded. Marrou won a fluke election to the House in 1984. While he certainly was well-spoken and a capable campaigner, he benefited mostly from the misfortunes of the incumbent, Milo Fritz. Firstly, Dr. Fritz was 75 years old and had served single terms in the House representing Anchorage in each of the previous two decades. While he was well loved in Anchor Point, doubtless he was not up to the rigors of modern campaigning in a one-on-one race. Secondly, Fritz raised the ire of Bill McConkey, arguably Alaska’s most powerful political consultant at the time. The LP still had their act together enough to pour a five-figure sum into Marrou’s campaign. Fast forward and Marrou proved to be a very ineffective lawmaker known for talking way too much on the House floor. What influence he had in Juneau came from his friendship with Walt Furnace. When it came time for reelection in 1986, he spent far more time campaigning against Dick Randolph, who had recently left the LP, than against his actual opponents, C. E. Swackhammer (recently retired AST detachment commander) and Marilyn Dimmick (KPB Assembly member). The campaign against Randolph endeared him to Libertarians nationwide, who were still reeling from the backlash associated with selecting David Bergland as their presidential nominee at the 1983 national convention. Anyway, Marrou predictably lost reelection and immediately left Alaska. I’ve yet to find anything which says he resigned. He latched onto his newly-found fame, becoming the LP’s VP nominee in 1988 and presidential nominee in 1992, before fading into obscurity.

  4. Funny how whenever grift comes up, certain names also come up. It must be difficult to run for office when your relatives are crooks.

  5. Thanks Jay. It is about time Republicans became like “Scott Kendall” does to every Republican and scrutinized every Democrat for filing!!

  6. Face it. These progressives win elections because they are supported by unions, with enough dark money sloshing around to grift away. Government unions and their allies have made our public servants our masters and evidently there is nothing we can do about it.

  7. Jay McDonald is doing what anyone can do. If you’re tired of the crap, contact Jay and he will tell you things anyone that you can do. Keep positive

  8. Hang on, is that the same Liz Snyder, who also taught class at the UAA at the same time she was serving as a legislator??

  9. Why did the cabal buy/merge with Alaska USA FCU? They had ignored Alaska until they needed to dispossess the natjve people of the land. They are autonomous sentients. Now Global CU quiz and record conversation of natjves when they attempt to use Ak USA financial “services”. What is on their mind?

  10. Thank you Mr. Jay McDonald for your time and efforts on my behalf and those of us who rail against corrupt politicians and do nothing to hold them accountable. I am in your debt.

  11. As I thought she represented me in the state house, I called her last summer and asked for an appointment. She told me by phone that she was unavailable to arrange an appointment because she was in the Lower 48 states on vacation. It now appears that the primary reason she was Outside was to drive her family to their new home in Florida. I don’t appreciate people who lie to me.

  12. A 575K house in America’s – red-ist state.
    Typical lib promoted by our government unions
    This is why HRC lost ….corporate liberalism.
    How do Dems vote for these “(woman) man of the people” creeps?

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