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Ketchikan legislative candidate gets complaint

Possible challenger to two incumbents accused of campaigning without filing for office

Posted: November 9, 2011 - 1:01am
Dave Scott
Dave Scott

The Alaska Public Offices Commission has filed a complaint against one of the candidates in what will likely be a highly contested race for the state’s southernmost House legislative district.

David Scott, 36, of Ketchikan has announced he’ll run for the local House seat, which if the current redistricting plan withstands court challenges will already have two incumbents.

Scott will take on Rep. Peggy Wilson, R-Wrangell, and Rep. Kyle Johansen, R-Ketchikan.

Scott was formerly chief of staff for Johansen, and is currently serving in the same position for Sen. Donny Olson, D-Nome.

Scott hasn’t yet formally started his campaign, and that’s what caught the attention of election regulators at the commission.

“Mr. Scott violated campaign finance laws by failing to report his candidacy with APOC prior to making an expenditure,” the commission’s complaint says.

Scott announced he was running on Oct. 18, sending press releases to the Ketchikan Daily News and most other area media outlets. APOC’s complaint noted that was Alaska Day, and said the announcements were done on personal time and sent from his home computer.

It’s not clear why Scott did not file an intent to run for office. The Empire was unable to contact him Tuesday.

An APOC attorney said in a staff report outlining the circumstances of the case that three days after Scott’s announcement, APOC staff notified him that he wasn’t in compliance with requirements he file a letter of intent or registration for office before making any campaign expenditures.

Under state law, any expenditure, no matter how minimal, that’s part of a campaign, or “express communications” that encourage votes for a candidate can only be done after they file for office

While Scott currently works for Olson, APOC noted he’d sent out his campaign announcements from his home computer and conducted interviews on his own time.

Scott’s press release said it was time Ketchikan had new representation in the legislature and said his top priority would be creating a business-friendly environment.

“I’m familiar with the industries of Southeast Alaska — commercial fishing, timber, mining, tourism & shipbuilding — and I know they are suffering under irresponsible policies enforced by non-elected bureaucrats,” Scott’s release said.

“Mr. Scott derived considerable publicity from this minimal expenditure,” APOC attorney Martha Tansik noted.

Scott was notified by Oct. 21 that he had failed to file for office in a timely manner, and the commission staff suggested he rescind his announcement or immediately file a letter of intent registering his candidacy.

After several days without action on Scott’s part, APOC filed a complaint against Scott accusing him of violating campaign finance laws.

Scott apparently still has not yet either filed to formalize his candidacy or rescinded his stated intent to run.

There was no answer at Scott’s Ketchikan phone number, and a message left with Olson’s office Tuesday was not returned.

The deadline for Scott to respond with any objections to the complaint or any defenses to the allegations is Thursday.

The commission’s staff will then conduct an investigation, and the commission may dismiss the complaint, assess a civil penalty or refer the case to the attorney general for further action.

• Contact reporter Pat Forgey at 523-2250 or at patrick.forgey@juneauempire.com.

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