Ketchikan Candidate Faces Up to $6,000 in Fines for Campaign Violations

Ketchikan Independent Representative Dan Ortiz faces up to $6,000 in fines for campaign violations.

The Alaska Public Offices Commission says he failed to properly report some campaign contributions and spending. It also says he accepted an illegal donation and did not state who paid for several campaign fliers.

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Ortiz admits making mistakes.

“They were errors purely out of omission, not commission. It wasn’t anything that was planned. It wasn’t anything that was something that benefitted my campaign or anything like that.”

Complaints were filed during and after last fall’s campaign for the House seat representing Ketchikan, Wrangell and part of Prince of Wales Island.

They were filed by his Republican opponent, Chere Klein, and the district’s Republican Party organization. Ortiz won the election by 104 votes.

He challenges some of the allegations in the complaints, while admitting others. A commission staff report recommends close to $6,000 in fines and repayment of an improper $316 contribution.

The fines could have been far higher, but staff took into account his status as a first-time legislative candidate, as well as his cooperation.

“It is what it is. And I look forward to making my case in front of the commission and whatever the decision is, I’ll live with it.”

The violations and fines were on the agenda for a public offices commission meeting Wednesday. But complaints cannot be heard during a legislative session, so the issue was pushed back to the next meeting, in September.

We’ll post links to the complaints and staff reports on our website with this story.

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Ed Schoenfeld is Regional News Director for CoastAlaska, a consortium of public radio stations in Ketchikan, Juneau, Sitka, Petersburg and Wrangell. He primarily covers Southeast Alaska regional topics, including the state ferry system, transboundary mining, the Tongass National Forest and Native corporations and issues. He has also worked as a manager, editor and reporter for the Juneau Empire newspaper and Juneau public radio station KTOO. He’s also reported for commercial station KINY in Juneau and public stations KPFA in Berkley, WYSO in Yellow Springs, Ohio, and WUHY in Philadelphia. He’s lived in Alaska since 1979 and is a contributor to Alaska Public Radio Network newscasts, the Northwest (Public Radio) News Network and National Native News. He is a board member of the Alaska Press Club. Originally from Cleveland, Ohio, he lives in Douglas.