A once and possible future candidate for the state’s southernmost state House seat has rescinded his announcement that he’s running, hoping to stave off an investigation into inappropriate campaign spending.
David Scott of Ketchikan, an aide to Rep. Donny Olson, D-Nome, announced on Alaska Day that he was running for the state House seat in the district likely to contain two Republican incumbents, his former boss, Rep. Kyle Johansen, R-Ketchikan, and Rep. Peggy Wilson, R-Wrangell.
That announcement, covered in several southern Southeast media outlets, also drew the attention of the Alaska Public Offices Commission.
Three days after Scott’s announcement, on Oct. 21, APOC staff notified Scott that he appeared to be in violation of state campaign expenditure laws because of his beginning to campaign without registering or filing to do so.
APOC investigators filed a complaint against Scott on Oct. 26, and said the full commission would hear the complaint.
Scott responded on Nov. 8 that he’d rescinded the announcement press release on Oct. 24, and said he had not intended to violate any of APOC’s rules.
“I had no intention of trying to ‘skirt’ any ethics barriers or campaign laws,” Scott said in his response to the complaint.
Scott told APOC that he checked with the Legislature’s Ethics Committee, which governs his actions as a legislative staff member, to make sure he didn’t violate any rules.
Scott pointed out that he’d sent the press release out from his private computer and had intentionally done so on a state holiday, but acknowledged that he should have done more.
“In retrospect, I should have contacted APOC as well,” Scott wrote.
APOC staff suggested to Scott before they filed the complaint against him that he either rescind his announcement of candidacy or file paperwork to run for office.
The courts have held that any expenditure, even a minimal one such as an email, is still an expenditure that can’t be done before a candidate has filed to run for office, APOC said.
“No action was taken by Mr. Scott as of the date of this document,” APOC’s Oct. 26 complaint staff report says.
Scott is now telling APOC that he’d rescinded his campaign announcement earlier on the 24th, but provided no evidence of having done so or an explanation of why he hadn’t notified APOC of having done so before it filed a complaint against him.
Scott did not respond to phone and email inquiries for further explanation.
APOC’s executive director Paul Dauphinais said his agency has 30 days from when the complaint against Scott was filed to prepare its response, following which Scott can file a response to that.
Due to deadlines and commission meeting schedules, Dauphinais said the earliest the matter could be heard by the commission would be at its February meeting.
• Contact reporter Pat Forgey at 523-2250 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.