APOC to decide if mine opponent broke law

ANCHORAGE — State regulators are scheduled to deliberate next week as they try to decide whether an air service owned by an opponent of a proposed mining project broke election laws by flying candidates into remote Southwest Alaska villages to campaign.

The Alaska Public Offices Commission was unable to reach a decision on Friday after a contentious, 11-hour meeting the day before, the Anchorage Daily News reported.

Commission staff accused an air service owned by Pebble Mine opponent Bob Gillam of breaking a ban on corporate campaign contributions. The air service, RBG Bush Planes LLC, charged only for gas when it flew in two candidates running for the Lake and Peninsula Borough Assembly.

Gillam owns a home in the borough and has financed efforts to fight the Pebble Mine prospect, which he and other opponents say would endanger the salmon runs of Bristol Bay. Most recently, he bankrolled a successful borough ballot initiative that’s meant to stop the mine but is the subject of court challenges.

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