Voters will know who is paying for political advertising during this year’s elections – if a bill the Senate passed on Thursday becomes law. The measure is the state’s response to a U.S. Supreme Court decision last January that allows corporations and unions to use their own money to pay for political ads – as long as they are not done within the formal campaign structure of candidates. Judiciary chairman Hollis French (D-Anch) said the Supreme Court made a fundamental change in the way states conduct elections. The bill requires that those paying for advertising relating to candidates or issues identify themselves to the Alaska Public Offices Commission, and identify themselves in the advertisement itself. The bill passed with no opposition, but North Pole Republican John Coghill had some reservations about the effect of the measure – particularly broadcast advertising where the sponsors must identify themselves, in person, on the air. The bill next goes to the House where it will be heard by the Judiciary Committee.
Dave Donaldson, APRN – Juneau
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