Fine, penalty recommended for Ketchikan candidate

Alaska Public Offices Commission said legislative aide began campaign without mandatory filing

The Alaska Public Offices Commission is recommending more than $2,000 in penalties against a former, or possibly current, legislative candidate.

The commission’s staff has filed a complaint against David Scott, a Ketchikan-based legislative staff member it accuses of running for office and spending money campaigning without filing legally to do so.

Scott, currently chief of staff for Sen. Donny Olson, D-Nome, told media in southern Southeast he was running for the city’s seat in the state House of Representatives

That drew the attention of the commission, which enforces campaign disclosure laws, because Scott hadn’t filed to run.

In a staff report prepared last week, a reason for that oversight was suggested: Legislative staffers aren’t allowed to run for office, and Scott would have had to quit his legislative job to begin campaigning.

Scott remains employed by the Legislative Affairs Agency as of Tuesday. His full-time pay rate is $5,953 a month, but since about the end of the regular legislative session he’s been working at a reduced 30 hours per week, the agency said.

The commission’s investigator, attorney Martha Tansik, reported that she’d warned Scott that his candidacy was in violation of reporting requirements and that he needed to either to file to run for office or withdraw his candidacy.

Tansik’s report says Scott was warned against an “in name only” technical rescinding of his candidacy, but it appears that’s what he did anyway.

Despite telling some media he was rescinding his announcement, he told Ketchikan radio station KRBD something different.

“When KRBD asked, after receiving the email rescinding the press release, if Mr. Scott were still a candidate, he told them he was still running for House,” the APOC staff report said.

Other than the KRBD interview, APOC said all of the Southeast media sites that had posted Scott’s candidacy announcement still had it posted after he said he had withdrawn his candidacy.

Further, APOC staff said the local Republican party confirmed to them Scott had sent no rescission to party members. Scott had originally sent them the press release as well.

Commission staff recommended Scott be hit with a civil penalty of $2,357.50, a combination of a $700 fine along with $1,657.50 in staff costs, as well as be required to attend an APOC candidate training session within the next six months.

The full commission will decide whether to uphold the staff-recommended penalty.

Scott did not respond to a request for comment Tuesday, but he had previously told the Empire he would decline to public comment so as to not appear to be trying to influence the APOC hearing.

Among those already interested in the Ketchikan-based seat for which Scott has expressed interest are current Republican Reps. Kyle Johansen of Ketchikan and Peggy Wilson of Wrangell. Scott formerly worked for Johansen, who is currently on the outs with the House’s Republican leadership but who was formerly the House Majority Leader. Wilson is currently a member of the House Majority Caucus leadership.

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

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