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Coastal Management campaigns debate source of contributions

Posted: August 9, 2012 - 12:06am

The Alaska Sea Party is calling foul on the Vote No on 2 campaign’s out-of-state campaign contributions, but the opponents are saying the concerns are nothing but “overblown rhetoric.”

The Alaska Sea Party, which sponsored the initiative to resurrect a Coastal Management program in Alaska accused foreign corporations of trying to “buy this election any way then can.”

The Sea Party based its claim on an analysis of campaign contributions so far which show that while it is likely to be outspent ten to one, 99.7 percent of the money in favor of the initiative comes from Alaska, while 69.3 percent of the Vote No on 2 money comes from Outside.

“Our concern is that so much of it is coming from corporations that are headquartered outside Alaska and are clearly intended to shape one aspect of how as Alaskans we chose to govern ourselves,” said Bruce Botelho, co-chair of the Alaska Sea Party and mayor of Juneau.

The biggest single largest contributor is Shell, which is a subsidiary of Royal Dutch Shell, based in The Netherlands.

Vote No on 2 spokesman Willis Lyford said there was nothing wrong with companies that employ thousands of Alaskans having a say on a ballot measure that will affect them.

The Sea Party analysis showed that of the “Alaska” portion of the “Vote No on 2” money came 92 percent from the Alaska Miners Association and the Resource Development Council.

Lyford said those groups represent Alaskans.

Botelho’s co-chair, Terzah Tippin Poe, in a press release announcing the analysis, called the prospect of outsiders trying to buy an election “stunningly blatant, arrogant and aggressive.”

Lyford, though, said the Alaska Miners Association is made up of individuals such as small Alaska placer miners.

“She’s thrown them under the bus too, with this assertion about big outside operators,” he said.

And he pointed out that one of the big outside companies involved in opposing Ballot Measure 2 was Hecla Mining Co., owner of Juneau’s Greens Creek Mine.

“Hecla is the largest single tax payer in the borough, the largest single employer and a 75-percent Alaska-hire employer,” he said.

Botelho acknowledged there were some Alaskans in the two resource groups that opposed the measure, but questioned where their campaign donations were.

“It would be good if those individual Alaskans were contributing,” he said.

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

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