French-Bell Senate race draws APOC complaints

The Alaska Public Offices Commission has refused to be drawn into a tightly contested Senate race this year.

The commission says it will not fast track a hearing to take up a Republican Party complaint against Anchorage Democrat Hollis French.

Republican Party leaders last week charged that French had violated campaign laws in coordinating his advertising campaign with an independent election group, Putting Alaskans First.

French is running for reelection against Republican Senate candidate Bob Bell.

Republican Activist Bernadette Wilson filed the urgent complaint last week.  In a news conference, party operatives claimed that Putting Alaskans First shared some vendors.  They said one person representing several clients is equivalent to coordination – especially when the messages are similar.

They wanted APOC to hold an expedited hearing and order French and the group to stop all advertising between now and the election.

In an initial hearing  Monday, APOC chose not to vote on the question, or hear more of the complaint, until after the election.  The APOC plans to schedule the complaint for a regular board meeting after a complete investigation takes place.

APOC recently fined Bob Bell for refusing to disclose the names and amounts of money he received from business clients, among them B-P, which paid him a million dollars for his work.  Bell owns an engineering consulting firm in Anchorage.

He claimed that APOC gave him bad information on what needed to be disclosed.