The complaint was covered last week by the Anchorage Daily News, but more detail emerged by the time the Mat-Su Valley Frontiersman covered this Monday:
Covington, who is running Katie Hurley’s campaign for re-election to the board, is crying foul — or trying to — over an e-mail sent from the Alaska Republican Party urging people to vote for Robert Doyle, Hurley’s opponent.
“It’s a Web mail,” Covington said. “When it is a Web mail they have to pay for that. That means that they have expended funds in a public utility’s election, which they are prohibited from doing.” Non-profits can influence utility co-op elections, but parties are barred from that kind of activity. Repeated attempts to reach Doyle on Friday and Monday failed as of press time.
The e-mail that prompted Covington’s complaint contains an Alaska Republican Party banner as well as a disclaimer that the e-mail “is being forwarded to you in the spirit of sharing information at the request of the candidate and should not be construed as an endorsement of the candidate by the Alaska Republican Party.”
But Covington pointed to a couple of things that belie that disclaimer.
First, she said, Doyle asks that recipients call their friends and ask them to vote. But, more importantly, he signs off with a plea for donations.
“It’s not too late to make a contribution to my campaign!” he writes, before passing out his mailing address.
Covington said that while this may seem like a tiny infraction, “He has not gotten any money directly from the Republican Party but he is benefiting from the Republican Party.”
And that, she believes, is against the law.
This is the first time that the Alaska Republican Party has used these kinds of resources to attempt to influence a utility board election.
image - Carolyn Covington (PA)