Alaskans for Better Elections, the dark-money group that convinced Alaskans to approve open primaries and ranked choice voting, lodged a formal complaint with the Alaska Public Offices Commission Wednesday, accusing four organizations and two individuals of committing over two dozen violations of campaign finance laws.
The alleged infractions pertain to the groups who are trying to repeal Alaska’s open primary and ranked choice voting system.
The complaint was made against Alaskans for Honest Elections, Alaskans for Honest Government, Ranked Choice Education Association, Wellspring Ministries, Phillip Izon, and Art Mathias. The violations cited in the complaint include:
- Wellspring Ministries, an Anchorage church, providing financial support to the campaign activities of the Ranked Choice Education Association without disclosing such assistance.
- The Ranked Choice Education Association, recently established as a “church” in the State of Washington, purportedly engaging in activities resembling a ballot group, while concealing donor identities and potentially obtaining illegal tax deductions.
- Alaskans for Honest Elections allegedly channeling funds through the Ranked Choice Education Association while failing to disclose their donors and expenditures.
- Alaskans for Honest Government operating as an unregistered ballot group, violating the requirements set forth by election regulations.
- Philip Izon reportedly reporting fictitious contributions totaling over $200,000, potentially undermining the transparency of campaign finance records.
- Multiple instances of failing to properly register with APOC, disclose donors, and report expenditures.
The complaint, filed by election attorney Scott Kendall, comes at a time when Alaskans for Honest Elections appears to have gotten more than half of the signatures the group needs to get the repeal on the ballot next year. However, legal hurdles are ahead, because if the group does get all the signatures, Kendall and Alaskans for Better Elections will surely tie the ballot language up in court. The Alaskans for Better Elections group, once it was successful at the ballot in 2020, formed up as a permanent organization to defend the open primary and ranked choice voting method that statewide elections now fall under.
The ballot measure was sold to voters as a way to get dark money out of politics, but the dark money rules don’t apply to the organization itself.
In fact, Alaskans for Better Elections is funded by Outside dark money associated with hard-leftist causes. According to OpenSecrets.org, as of May 2023, Alaskans for Better Elections received $300,000 from Unite America, a political action committee based in Denver that supports electoral reform efforts to the benefit of left-wing candidates. Unite America is active in other states to replicate what it did in Alaska with the help of Alaskans for Better Elections, which is a pro-Sen. Lisa Murkowski group.
In the 2020 election cycle, when Alaskans for Better Elections was able to rewrite Alaska’s election laws through the ballot measure it pushed, Unite America gave the group almost $2.9 million, with an another $500,000 from the Unite America Reform Fund.
Alaskans for Honest Elections is funded primarily from individual Alaska donors. It registered with APOC in January to try for a ballot initiative to undo much of what Alaskans for Better Elections has accomplished. But Alaskans for Honest Elections is up against a group with nearly unlimited access to cash and aggressive legal counsel. Alaskans for Honest Elections could now see its bank account drained by having to defend itself.
APOC, an independent regulatory agency responsible for overseeing campaign financing and lobbying activities in Alaska, will investigate the alleged violations. If the allegations are substantiated, the organizations and individuals involved could face financial penalties. If the complaints are found to be without merit, Alaskans for Honest Elections has no recourse for collecting attorney fees and other expenditures from Alaskans for Better Elections.
The complaint in full: