Legislators are looking at ways to require more detailed disclosure of who pays for political advertising. The issue arises out of last month’s decision by the US Supreme Court that will allow corporations and labor unions to use their own money to influence voters. The decision involves independent campaign expenditures – advertising and other activities that are not coordinated with a candidate’s formal campaign structure. Assistant Attorney General John Ptacin told the House State Affairs Committee this Thursday that the decision does not invalidate Alaska’s ban on corporate contributions directly to an individual candidate. However, there are impacts on other parts of existing law. He said a corporation or a union must now be considered as a person and will be limited exactly the same as any individual who makes a private statement during an election. Such limits include a ban on anonymous advertising. Legislative attorney Alpheus Bullard told the committee that there is no easy way to simplify all the ramifications of the Supreme Court decision. As an example, the ban on anonymous advertising can be bypassed by establishing a new, non-profit corporation to create ads and pay for their use.
Dave Donaldson, APRN – Juneau
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