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Panel approves time extension on Alaska campaign complaint

The commission that oversees campaign finance rules in Alaska on Monday granted a request by staff for more time to prepare an investigation report into a complaint alleging improper coordination between Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s campaign and a third-party group that supports his reelection.

The campaign disclosure coordinator for the Alaska Public Offices Commission, Thomas Lucas, had requested an extension of 30 days from the date the third-party group, A Stronger Alaska, responds to requests for information from commission staff.

Lucas, on Oct. 7, wrote that A Stronger Alaska had ‘refused to adequately respond’ to staff requests for information. Richard Moses, an attorney for the group, in a written response took issue with the characterization. Moses said A Stronger Alaska was concerned with ‘the breadth and relevance of the requests’ made by staff.

The commission on Monday ordered the subjects of the complaint to meet with staff by Thursday ‘to determine what documents will be voluntarily produced’ in response to commission staff requests. The commission said such documents should be provided no later than Oct. 31. If there remained disagreement over document requests, the commission said it would consider discovery-related motions by staff.

The election is Nov. 8.

Two organizations — the Alaska Public Interest Research Group, a public advocacy organization, and the 907 Initiative — filed the complaint in which they alleged improper coordination between Dunleavy’s campaign and A Stronger Alaska. The complaint alleged that Brett Huber, a former Dunleavy aide who managed his 2018 campaign, was hired by A Stronger Alaska as a consultant while also listed as a deputy treasurer for the Dunleavy campaign and while under contract with the governor’s office for work related to ‘statehood defense’ issues.

Huber and attorneys for the Dunleavy campaign and A Stronger Alaska have said there has been no coordination. Huber and the Dunleavy campaign said it was an administrative oversight that he hadn’t been removed earlier as a deputy treasurer.

The commission heard arguments in the matter Friday.

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