Dunleavy's brother and Bob Penney back shadow campaign with $500,000

The names of the big money players in the governor's race appear only in the fine print on campaign ads.

The shadow gubernatorial campaign bankrolled mostly by Mike Dunleavy's brother in Texas and Alaskan businessman Bob Penney now reports a total of $500,000 in contributions from the two men.

Francis Dunleavy, a former JP Morgan executive from Houston, has now invested $275,000 in the political group that appears to the public to be the Dunleavy campaign, but is actually an independent organization that advocates for all things Dunleavy.

The Dunleavy for Alaska signs that have appeared across Alaska are the product of this group. 

The official Dunleavy campaign organization, which is subject to a $500 campaign contribution limits, is Alaskans for Dunleavy. 

The independent shadow campaign doesn't have to consult with the candidate to perform exactly like an official campaign, which is what is happening.

The official Dunleavy campaign would have to find 1,000 donors to raise $500,000 on its own, an onerous task, but with a so-called independent group, Francis and Bob can spend whatever their deep pockets will provide.

Other campaigns have made use of so-called independent groups to evade campaign finance restrictions. The difference here is that most of the money is from two men and one of them is the candidate's brother.

Francis was a key figure in a scandal that led to JP Morgan paying a $410 million settlement five years ago in connection with accusations that the firm manipulated electricity prices in California and the Midwest.

The latest contribution to the shadow campaign of $25,000 by Francis was reported to the Alaska Public Offices Commission on June 22, while Penney added $50,000 to his total on June 25. Penney has now donated $225,000, according to APOC reports.

The APOC is underfunded by the Legislature and governor, a situation that has gotten much worse over the past several years. Most elected officials dislike the APOC, except when its reports provide campaign fodder on the opposition.

The APOC website, which is difficult to navigate and in need of an overhaul, shows that the official Dunleavy campaign had collected about $150,000 from last summer until early this year.

Dermot Cole6 Comments