Berkowitz campaign complaint rejected

Posted: Thursday, October 28, 2010

FAIRBANKS - A state commission has rejected a complaint by Democratic candidate Ethan Berkowitz claiming attack ads by a national Republican group amount to illegal campaign spending in the race for Alaska governor.

Berkowitz filed the complaint late last week with the Alaska Public Offices Commission, saying Republican opponent Gov. Sean Parnell had collaborated with the Republican Governors Association in advertisements.

The collaboration would have broken state law, he said.

But the commission on Tuesday said there was no convincing evidence to back the complaint, The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reported.

The Parnell campaign was not listed as a party in the complaint.

Campaign manager Michelle Toohey praised the decision and said Berkowitz had tried to drag Parnell "through the mud."

"I hope this finding is a clear message to the Berkowitz campaign that the Alaska Public Offices Commission is not a vehicle to make wild or false accusations about their opponents," Toohey said in a statement.

Berkowitz's campaign said the ads should be stopped to prevent "irreparable harm" to the results of Tuesday's election.

An attorney for the campaign pointed to identical photos of Berkowitz that appeared almost simultaneously on Parnell campaign fliers and in television ads by the governors association.

But the commission said the timing "does not establish reasonable cause to conclude that there has been an unlawful coordination of campaign expenditures."

The Republican Governors Association is based in Washington, D.C.

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