Rapid-fire listing of contributors in Dunleavy ad clearly violates state rules

In 2010, the Legislature approved a landmark disclosure requirement for campaign ads that continues to provide voters with essential information that many people involved in politics would rather conceal.

I’m referring to the law that says the top three contributors have to be identified in the so-called “dark money” ads that have become a central feature of every major campaign.

Rep. Les Gara and Sen. Hollis French came up with this top-three disclosure rule, which has survived attempts by some Republican legislators to do away with it. It is often the only way to find out who is really behind groups that claim to be based in Alaska.

Some people always try to thwart disclosure by delivering the names and home cities of the contributors in an accelerated manner. Speeding up the voiceover and making the fine print as hard to read as the safety warnings on new drugs are consistent problems.

But the most egregious example I’ve every seen of this rapid-fire delivery is an ad by “Families for Alaska’s Future,” one of the Outside groups backing Republican Mike Dunleavy.

Gara said Wednesday he is filing a complaint with the Alaska Public Offices Commission.

The voiceover was sped up on the ad to many times beyond the normal rate of speech so that it is impossible to hear what is being said. That seems to be because the top contributors appear to be Republican organizations from Washington, D.C. They don’t want to take credit for telling Alaskans how to vote.

Gara said the high-speed delivery “clearly violates Alaska's statutory requirement that dark money ads reveal the top three contributors to voters ‘in a manner that is easily heard.’”

"The illegal nature of this ad is beyond dispute. The chair of the dark money group collecting the Outside money for this ad, Steve Strait, should pull it now and admit he is breaking the law and misleading voters to get his candidate elected," said Gara.

For the long term, the APOC ought to come up with regulations that say the voiceover delivery of the top contributors has to be at the same pace as the rest of the ad.

Dermot Cole7 Comments