Begich to pay fine for disclosure complaint

Agency says candidate failed to include some income in his report

Posted: Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Mark Begich, the Democratic challenger for U.S. Senate, will pay a $1,420 fine for failing to properly fill out state financial disclosure forms, a campaign spokeswoman said Monday.

The Alaska Public Offices Commission imposed the fine late Friday after hearing the findings from the commission's staff.

The agency determined Begich failed to include some income and assets listed on his federal disclosure report form that's required as a Senate candidate.

McHugh Pierre, a spokesman for the state Republican party, filed the complaint with APOC two days after Begich's general election opponent, incumbent U.S. Sen. Ted Stevens, R-Alaska, was indicted by a federal grand jury in July for lying on Senate disclosure forms.

Pierre compared Begich's federal and state financial reports and identified several discrepancies in his complaint.

APOC agreed with portions of Pierre's complaint, which included a failure to list business interests belonging to him and his wife, Deborah Bonito, to a mistaken stock symbol.

"In the course of reviewing the complaint and the response, staff found that most of the allegations are based on a misunderstanding by Mr. Pierre of the differing federal and state reporting requirements and time periods, or incomplete information relied upon by Mr. Pierre," the report stated.

"However, staff found, based on Mr. Begich's own admissions, that he has misreported or failed to report some of the information required on the APOC form."

A Begich spokeswoman says he corrected all errors and will pay the fine that reflects $10 a day for each day the report was deemed incomplete.

"We are pleased to have this matter over," said campaign spokeswoman Julie Hasquet. "We'll be paying the fine immediately."

Pierre said in a statement that he was pleased with the outcome.

"I am very happy that the commission is holding Mayor Begich accountable for his actions," Pierre said. "Begich has been filling out these forms for 20 years and should understand what needs to be included on his personal financial disclosure statement."



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