Judge lets finance initiative on ballot

Posted: Friday, December 31, 2004

An Anchorage Superior Court judge has ruled that a campaign finance citizen initiative does not violate Alaska's single-subject law and will be allowed to appear on the August 2006 primary ballot.

The Alaska Libertarian Party and Anchorage attorney Ken Jacobus sued the state earlier this month, claiming the sweeping initiative regulating campaign contributions and lobbyists involved multiple subjects and therefore violated state law.

The initiative would lower the amount candidates can receive from individuals and political parties, lower the amount lawmakers can make as private consultants before having to disclose their earnings to the state and reduce the amount of time lawmakers can spend lobbying the Legislature before registering with the state.

Anchorage Superior Court Judge John Suddock ruled Wednesday that the single-subject law is broadly defined under state law and that the initiative falls under the single subject of "limiting undue influence on elected officials."

"The Alaska Supreme Court has stated that the single-subject rule should be 'broadly construed' and that only a 'substantial and plain' violation of the rule will suffice to cause it to invalidate proposed legislation," Suddock said in the decision.

"My take on it is we're having to go to the initiative process to stop this Legislature from undermining the campaign finance laws," said initiative sponsor Rep. Eric Croft, D-Anchorage.

Jacobus said the Libertarian Party has not yet made a decision whether to appeal the ruling.

• Timothy Inklebarger can be reached at timothy.inklebarger@juneauempire.com.

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