National GOP group dumps $2.7 million into Alaska for Dunleavy

The campaign group masquerading as “Families for Alaska’s Future-Dunleavy” has no real connection to Alaska or its families.

The front group for the Republican Governors Association does have a deep connection to undisclosed wealthy donors across America, however.

Since late August the GOP powerhouse has sent $2.7 million this way to support former Sen. Mike Dunleavy in the governor’s race and oppose Gov. Bill Walker and former Sen. Mark Begich.

The association, located in Washington, D.C., is chaired by Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam and Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts.

It is trying to make its work appear to be the product of Alaska families.

About $7,000 out of $2.7 million has some connection to Alaska. Randy Ruedrich, the former head of the Alaska GOP, gave $2,000, while the Associated Builders and Contractors political action committee gave $5,000.

The national Republican group gave $400,000 on Aug. 24; $10,000 on Aug. 29; $300,000 on Sept. 8; $450,000 on Sept. 20; $100,000 on Sept. 28; and $1.45 million on Oct. 3.

The so-called “Families for Alaska’s Future” has already reported spending more than $1 million, which just about guarantees that in the near future it will be hard for any family to avoid ads showing Dunleavy on his tractor or attack ads on Walker and Begich.

A big ad buy had been made under the Republican name, but it was changed to the so-called “Families for Alaska” group in late August.

Last week, the Alaska Public Offices Commission said that the Republican group violated state election law by not registering and issued fines totaling $8,900 against the two.

It’s not clear exactly where the $2.7 million came from. “The dollar amounts involved in this complaint are among the highest expenditures in state-conducted election history,” the Walker campaign said in a statement about its APOC complaint.

KTOO in Juneau quoted
Walker’s campaign manager, John-Henry Heckendorn, as summing up the money flow this way: “Unfortunately, it’s not that hard to set up a front group that is nothing but a name on a piece of paper, effectively, to conduct your expenditures on your behalf, and then hide all of your donors, so no one has any idea where the money’s really coming from.”

The national Republican money aimed at helping Dunleavy has now far surpassed the total spent on his behalf by his brother Francis in Texas and Alaska businessman Bob Penney.

All told, nearly $4 million has been aimed Dunleavy’s way, all of it with no official connection to the candidate, whose entire official campaign has raised $261,933.

Walker’s official campaign has raised twice that much, while Begich’s official campaign raised about $400,000. An independent group backing Walker has raised nearly $1 million, while one supporting Begich has raised about $70,000.

Dermot Cole1 Comment