Tuesday, October 23, 2012

APOC Complaint Against Bill Thomas

APOC Complaint Against Rep. Bill Thomas Campaign (R-Haines)–The response(s).

Back on October 13th, I posted about the APOC Complaint I had filed against the re-election campaign of Representative Bill Thomas, Jr. (above, on the left, with Sen. Al Kookesh, who appears in several of the ads.) The complaint is in response to a newspaper advertising campaign consisting of 12 ads which ran in the Chilkat Valley News during the weeks leading up to the primary election:
…Upon further research, it was impossible to determine exactly what category of legal contributions these ads were attempting to fit, if any:
James Studley was the one who coordinated the entire ad buy. He provided the photos, drafted the copy, designed the ads and worked with Ms. Evandon on the buy, but directed Chilkat Valley News to bill each business listed on the ads for payment.
James Studley is a Deputy Treasurer for the Thomas campaign:
…because Mr. Studley was one of Thomas’s Deputy Treasurers and he coordinated the entire advertising buy, this did not appear to qualify as an “Independent Expenditure” because AS Sec. 15.13.135. and regulation 2 AAC 50.270 states that Independent Expenditures cannot be coordinated with members of the campaign.
This wasn’t the only “coordination with the campaign” regarding these ads. Per the complaint:
At least three high-ranking members of Representative Bill Thomas, Jr’s re-election campaign staff sit on their Executive Boards of some of the businesses purchasing these ads:
– Haines Real Estate (2 ads): Owned by Alaska Resources Consulting, Inc — James Studley, Deputy Treasurer for the Thomas Campaign, is President of Alaska Resources.
– Alaska Resources Consulting, Inc.(2 ads): James Studley, Deputy Treasurer for the Thomas Campaign, is President.
– Oleruds Inc. (1 ad): Doug Olerud is the Chairperson & Deputy Treasurer of the Thomas Campaign and he is President of Olerud’s, Inc.
– King’s Store Inc.: Gregg Richmond, Deputy Treasurer for the Thomas Campaign, is on the King’s Store Board of Directors as a Secretary/Treasurer.
Realize, I just wanted to file this complaint because it seemed to me to be a particularly flagrant violation of the Regs and Statutes. I have felt that the Citizen’s United ruling has caused some folks to think that “anything goes” and I felt a complaint like this would let people know that is not the case. However, I even expressed that I was understanding of the complexity and even the confusion…to a point. While I could have (and was encouraged to) lodge complaints against ALL of the businesses involved in this ad buy, I chose to only target those at the campaign. I believed they had the far greater burden and responsibility to know the law and I could see how the other businesses would easily trust them to make sure things were above-board.
Alaska Public Radio Network (APRN) did an excellent radio story on the complaint. The Chilkat Valley News, the paper that ran the ads, also did a story and it was the first indication of what the Thomas Campaign’s argument was going to be…via Deputy Treasurer Jim Studley:

The above is a copy of others opinions.  It is provided here for SEAS members for information only.
It appears that Bill Thomas will be up to alot of outside money coming in the final 2 weeks  in this campaign.  According to APOC records, approximately 85% or more of the funds raised by Chairman Thomas came from donors outside the legislative district he is running in.  

One of his responses in the debates was that his neighbors in Haines were poor people.  

So what has he done to help his neighbors in Haines.  He says he has all the money in Alaska at  his disposal and after 8 years either has not gained the conficence of his 'poor' neighbors nor has he done much in the way of leading them out of poverty.
To SEAS members in the district.  Vote for the ethical choice.  Vote your conscience.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you so much for posting this before the election, I am only sorry I didn't see it until now. As the person who filed the complaint and was there when the Commission ruled against him, I can explain the real reason why he couldn't get any money out of Haines...despite his claim of mass poverty. One obvious reason was that his campaign staff member Mr. Studley involved all of the biggest Haines businesses in this violation of campaign law, so the embarassment alone might be enough. However, one of the stipulations of his settlement with APOC was that EVERY SINGLE PERSON involved with the ads in question would be required to attend APOC training before they could donate ANY money to his campaign. As the settlement (which included a second complaint that he carried too large a balance from his 2008 campaign into his 2010 campaign) also required him to pay a hefty fine, I'm sure he had a difficult time convincing folks in his district to support him.

    I also thank you for your reporting on his bullying of the folks at ADFG. I was the lucky woman who got to sit there in the APOC office while, on speaker phone, Bill Thomas claimed himself to be the victim and basically accused me of going after him because he was Native...because I was supposedly a racist...While I could laugh that off considering the multicultural nature of my immediate family, I'll never forget the embarassed faces of the Commissioners that he would even make such an accusation.

    I pray that Mr. Kreiss-Tomkins's lead holds or increases through the absentee and questioned ballot count.

    Linda Kellen Biegel