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APOC charges pro-recall PAC for spending discrepancies

Aaron Bolton, KBBI News

The Alaska Public Offices Commission – or APOC – has issued three violations against Heartbeat of Homer, the political action committee that pushed for the recent recall effort of three Homer City Council members.

Heartbeat Chairman Michael Fell was among those who collected petition signatures to initiate a recall election, targeting council members Donna Aderhold, Catriona Reynolds and David Lewis. Petitioners took issue with two resolutions the council members crafted and sponsored, namely a resolution regarding inclusivity.

The pro-recall group could have been charged a total of $1,500 for failure to disclose some expenditures and other filing discrepancies.

Campaign Disclosure Coordinator Tom Lucas explains Heartbeat will only be responsible for about half of the fees due to it being its first campaign cycle.

“It’s not unusual. It’s one of the reasons when it’s the first cycle, we give a pretty big break and when it’s also their first mistake,” Lucas said.  

Expenditure reports are due 10 days after money is spent for campaign related purposes. APOC became aware of three discrepancies after expenditures for t-shirts, mailbox flyers and advertisements showed up on a subsequent 30-day report, incurring two violations for the PAC.

APOC typically charges $50 every day a violation is unresolved. It notified Fell of both violations on May 16 and only charged $50 for the second violation.  

The third came after APOC was alerted Heartbeat was running radio ads in early June that it had not disclosed.

“We didn’t see any place that they were reported. So we contacted them, and they ended up amending one of their independent expenditure reports to show it,” Lucas explained.

Heartbeat’s amendment came 29 days after it had failed to report spending money on the ads. The final violation also included two filing discrepancies. Fell was notified on July 20 that APOC was charging Heartbeat $725 for the mistakes.

Heartbeat is allowed to appeal, and Lucas says it is appealing its second violation. Heartbeat has until Aug. 19 to appeal the final charge.

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