Requested By: Stephen McAlpine
Prepared By: Greg Granquist, Group Coordinator
Date Issued: December 5, 1996
Subject: Can a candidate raise money to
fundraise through calendar year
1996 to repay personal moneys contributed to their 1994 campaign
You have asked the Alaska Public Offices Commission for an advisory opinion concerning the applicability of 2 AAC 50.401 and AS 15.13.100 to further fundraising efforts by the 1994 McAlpine for Governor campaign (McAlpine campaign). Specifically, you ask if the McAlpine campaign may continue to fundraise through calendar year 1996 to repay yourself for personal monies contributed to the campaign totaling approximately $34,000.
Staff's proposed answer is yes. The McAlpine campaign may continue to accept contributions and hold fund-raisers until December 31, 1996 in order to repay the candidate for his personal contributions to the campaign.
In 1994, Steve McAlpine was a candidate for Governor of Alaska. The McAlpine campaign spent $329,753 and finished 1994 with $ 23,189 in unpaid expenditures. In addition, as of December 31, 1994, Mr. McAlpine had personally loaned the campaign $13,358.
Subsequently, Mr. McAlpine personally loaned additional funds to the campaign so it that it might pay the accrued expenses. Currently, according to Mr. McAlpine, all accrued expenses have been paid. The campaign, however, has no funds and needs to raise funds in order to repay Mr. McAlpine for his personal loans which total approximately $34,000. Steve McAlpine is not currently a candidate for any office and has indicated that he does not plan to seek election to any office in 1998.
The Existing Statute and Regulations
* AS 15.13.100 prohibits a candidate from making expenditures - including fundraising expenditures - before filing for office except for personal travel expenses, opinion surveys, or polls. AS 15.13.100 does not prevent a candidate from accepting contributions before filing.
* 2 AAC 50.380 exempts a candidate from the expenditure prohibitions of AS 15.13.100 if the candidate files a letter of intent with the Commission stating that the candidate intends to declare for office in a future election.
* 2 AAC 50.401 prohibits post-election expenditures unless the candidate has a campaign debt. After one year following the year of the election, 2 AAC 50.401 prohibits even those candidates with a debt from further expenditures unless the candidate files for future office, files a letter of intent, or seeks an advisory opinion from the Commission concerning the applicability of AS 15.13.100 to their fundraising efforts.
Basis of Staff's Recommendation
AS 15.13.100 and 2 AAC 50.401 do not preclude the McAlpine campaign from accepting contributions after December 31, 1995. 2 AAC 50.401 prohibits the campaign only from making expenditures to raise money after December 31, 1995, and that prohibition may be lifted by an advisory opinion from the Commission.
The Commission added regulation 2 AAC 50.401 in 1986 to clarify AS 15.13.100's prohibition on expenditures prior to filing for office. The Commission's concern was that candidates who had not closed out their campaigns, particularly incumbents, could gain an advantage over new candidates if they were to hold post-election fund-raisers to repay personal loans as a new election approached. They would thus be able to amass a campaign war chest immediately prior to a new election without first having to declare their candidacy.
This concern is not germane in Steve McAlpine's case. He has stated that he will not be a candidate for Governor in 1998. For this same reason, he is not filing a letter of intent which would allow him to continue to raise funds under 2 AAC 50.401 to pay off the 1994 debt. Accordingly, staff recommends that the Commission grant the campaign's request to make expenditures to raise money to pay off its 1994 debts until December 31, 1996.
The Commission approved this advisory opinion on December 5, 1996. The advice in this opinion applies only to the specific activity for which the advice was requested.
A copy of the original letter requesting the above advisory opinion is available upon request at the Alaska Public Offices Commission. (907) 276-4176.