With less than a week to go before Anchorage voters decide whether to add "sexual orientation and transgender identity" to the list of groups protected by Anchorage's anti-discrimination law, new financial reports show campaigns both for and against the proposition are getting lots of money -- and new groups are beginning to fund them.
ANCHORAGE BAPTIST TEMPLE HELPS FUND "NO ON PROP 5" GROUP
Protect Your Rights -- a group against Proposition 5 -- has raised a total of $73,605 through March 24, according to a new campaign disclosure report due this week. That's a huge increase from its last financial report, submitted March 9, that showed its campaign income at a relatively measly $4,475.
A large chunk of the income for Protect Your Rights came from a whopping $45,000 contribution by the "Protect Your Freedoms ballot group."
Following the money, Protect Your Freedoms is another group organized against Proposition 5 -- separate from Protect Your Rights -- listing Glenn Clary as its chairman. It had filed a campaign disclosure report along with the other campaigns in early March, but it didn't report any income or expenses at the time. But the latest report from Protect Your Freedoms lists a single recent donation -- and it's a big one: $80,000 from the Anchorage Baptist Temple.
Campaign reports show Protect Your Freedoms wrote a single $45,000 check to the Protect Your Rights group, listing "Opposition to Prop 5" as its purpose. That leaves Protect Your Freedoms with $35,000 in its coffers, according to the campaign disclosure report.
One Anchorage -- the group supporting Proposition 5 -- has been critical of Protect Your Rights in the past for not being transparent with where its money is coming from. Protect Your Rights chair Jim Minnery dismisses those claims, saying One Anchorage is "searching for something that's not there."
The Protect Your Rights group also shows dozens of donors who have given anywhere between $20 and $500 within the last month, with one notable exception: a $15,000 donation from Josh Pepperd, a general contractor from Anchorage.
HEAD OF DENVER LGBT FOUNDATION HELPS FUND "YES ON PROP 5" GROUP
One Anchorage continues to dominate fund raising efforts in the Proposition 5 debate. As of the latest financial report, the group has raised $328,797.
Like Protect Your Rights, within the last few weeks One Anchorage has also managed to bring in dozens of donations from people giving between $20 and $500. It also has received a handful of donations between $1,000 and $5,000.
One Anchorage has received two particularly large donations within the last few weeks. The ACLU of Alaska has donated $10,000 according to the latest report, and Tim Gill -- the head of a Denver-based LGBT equality foundation known as the Gill Foundation -- personally donated $25,000 to the campaign. That $25,000 donation alone accounts for roughly a quarter of all the donations One Anchorage has received since March 3.
Protect Your Rights has been critical of One Anchorage in the past for the relatively large amounts of funding the campaign has received from groups and individuals outside Alaska. One Anchorage Spokesperson Trevor Storrs has pointed instead to the large number of donors who have given the campaign relatively small amounts of money. He also has said many of the groups headquartered Outside that have made significant contributions to the One Anchorage campaign have strong membership ranks within Alaska.
CAMPAIGN MONEY FUNDS TV ADS; SOME COMING UNDER SCRUTINY
On one level, campaign fund raising can be viewed as a gage of support for or against Proposition 5. But the money is also used by both campaigns to buy commercial advertisement time on Anchorage radio and television stations in an effort to sway opinions.
On Tuesday, the One Anchorage campaign lashed out against television ads aired by the Protect Your Rights group. One Anchorage says the ads, complete with cartoon depictions of gay and transgender people, are "unacceptably offensive and intentionally stigmatizing."
"This is wrong and we expect the opposition campaign to do the right thing and remove these ads from the internet and take them off the air," Storrs said.
Minnery responded in an email message to Protect Your Rights supporters.
"The ads are truthful and proponents of Prop 5 are fearful they are too effective," Minnery said.
In a plea to his supporters -- and a rebuke to his opponents -- Minnery asked for more campaign donations that he said would be "immediately used to purchase more air time for our television ads."
Contact Jason Lamb