A group that campaigned for an alcohol tax in Anchorage is the subject of a complaint from the staff of the Alaska Public Offices Commission.
Recover Alaska engaged in trying sway an election, but without registering as a campaign group or revealing how much it was spending, something that is required by law.
The group not only had polled the Anchorage voters to discover what messages would get voters to pass an alcohol tax, the group then went to extraordinary expense to persuade those voters and get them to return their mail-in ballots.
That 5 percent tax was passed by Anchorage voters — it’s basically the same tax voters had rejected the year before. The measure with about a 2 percent margin.
Although one knows how much Recover Alaska spent to convince voters, since the group never filed with APOC, it’s believed to be over $100,000 to win the campaign. Recover Alaska also gave $70,000 in contributions to “Yes for a Safe, Healthy Anchorage,” which was the main group, properly registered, that formed to advocate for the alcohol tax.
Shortly after the Anchorage Assembly passed an ordinance to put Proposition 13 on the April ballot, Recover Alaska started running Facebook ads encouraging people to “learn more” and advocating for the passage of Prop. 13. But the group never reported to APOC, which has opened an investigation.
“These expenditures required Recover to register and report their activity. Staff now files this complaint and believes the facts will show that Recover violated provisions of campaign disclosure law,” the complaint reads.
Recover Alaska is a coalition of groups trying to reduce the harm of excessive alcohol consumption in Alaska, which has the highest per-capita alcohol consumption in the nation.
Partners in Recover Alaska include the Alaska Mental Health Trust Authority, Mat-Su Health Foundation, Rasmuson Foundation, Providence Alaska, the State Department of Health and Social Services, and South-central Foundation.