Rep. Lance Pruitt violated Alaska’s campaign finance laws and should pay a penalty. That’s according to staff for the state’s elections watchdog agency, the Alaska Public Offices Commission.
Commission staff issued a report on Tuesday. They found Pruitt’s campaigns failed to accurately report expenses, both in 2016 and 2018.
The five-member commission will decide whether it agrees with those findings and what, if any, penalty Pruitt will have to pay.
According to the report:
- Both 2018 and 2016 campaigns failed to report media advertising placement and consulting services it received;
- Pruitt’s 2016 campaign failed to either reimburse him for personal funds within the legally allotted time, or to then report the use of his personal funds as contributions; and
- Pruitt’s 2018 campaign accepted two contributions from a corporation, illegal under state law.
The maximum fine for the violations is $1,022,250. The commission staff said that amount would be excessive and recommended it be reduced by 99%. Pruitt would still have to pay $10,222.
The report also recommended that the commission dismiss an allegation that Pruitt failed to obtain required information about the clients of his wife, Mary Ann Pruitt. She is a media consultant who has worked as Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s communication director. The staff said Lance Pruitt made a good-faith effort to get that information.
The investigation was the result of a complaint filed in October by Paula DeLaiarro, a campaign finance expert for Ship Creek Group, a consulting business.
Pruitt is an Anchorage Republican. He recently lost his legislative seat to Democrat Liz Snyder. A lawsuit is challenging the election result.