APOC complaint filed against group promoting 'bathroom' bill

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ANCHORAGE (KTUU) - An Alaska Public Offices Commission complaint has been filed against Alaska Family Action/Yes on 1--Protect Our Privacy Campaign.

That's the group running a campaign that would require people to use public bathrooms or locker rooms that match the gender on their birth certificate. Jim Minnery from Alaska Family Council and his wife Kim are in charge of the campaign.

The complaint alleges that "Protect our Privacy accepted contributions and made expenditures in support of Ballot Proposition 1 during the April 3, 2018 election prior to registering. When the group did register they failed to accurately disclose income and expenditures. It appears that the group may have misappropriated funds by dispersing funds to 'volunteers.' "

The person who filed the complaint, Diane Heaney-Mead, says after looking at news reports and emails from Minnery, it seemed obvious something wasn't adding up.

The complaint points to an Alaska Dispatch News story from July 20, 2017 as proof. In the article, it says that during an interview with Minnery earlier in July Minnery told the ADN, "that most of the people collecting signatures were volunteers, with one paid signature-gatherer."

That happened before the campaign filed enough signatures with the city be be placed on the April 2018 ballot.

"I pay attention to it, I see news reports and saw some emails from Minnery," Heaney-Mead said. "I mean they were clearly making expenditures in 2017. Either that or he (Minnery) was lying about hiring someone, but I don't know why he would do that."

Heaney-Mead also submitted an email from July 10 from Minnery on behalf of Alaska Family Action. In the email, Minnery lists "incentives" for volunteers who collect the highest number of signatures to get the issue on the ballot. The highest bonus was $250 down to $50 for the fourth-highest number of signatures.

It says that a "generous donor" provided money as an "extra motivation to our wonderful volunteers."

"I was kind of surprised no one else had it," Heaney-Mead said, "seemed obvious to me it might be a significant violation."

Tom Lucas, the campaign disclosure coordinator with APOC, says the complaint was filed on Feb. 26.

He says APOC is looking at the issue now.

"APOC does not regulate contributions or expenditures during the signature gathering stage of a municipal ballot initiative," Lucas said.

However, Lucas added that if a group forms before the signature gathering and raises money, if that group rolls over any money made to the proposition stage, then during the first report period, the group will have to show all of those contributions and all of the expenditures.

A phone call and email to Jim Minnery were not immediately returned Thursday.

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