November 25, 2022

Alaska’s campaign finance commission clears all limits on donations to political candidates

The commission charged with enforcing Alaska’s campaign finance laws has lifted all limits on donations to gubernatorial candidates, state legislative seats and municipal races — a move that could allow a huge surge of money to flow into the Anchorage elections next month and the state elections in August.

The Alaska Public Offices Commission, in an order published late Thursdayeliminated the caps in response to a federal court ruling in a years-long lawsuit that pitted free speech rights against the limits set by state lawmakers to limit the influence of the money on Alaska politics.

The federal court had struck down Alaska’s $500-a-year individual donation limit to candidates, saying it was too low. But he did not set new limits, leaving the issue of replacement caps in the hands of the commission and the state legislature.

Commission staff recommended that the limit be increased to $1,500. But such a decision requires at least four votes from the five members of the commission, and after a meeting on Monday, only three agreed in their official three-page order published Thursday, which was first reported by Alaska Landmine.

This means that until and unless the Legislative Assembly acts, there is no individual candidate contribution limit in effect, the commission said in its announcement.

This is a developing story and will be updated on Friday.