dave Bronson repeatedly lied about his campaign finances
BY carlos matías
The scandal is on the air, even before the tallying of runoff ballots in the mayoral election for the Municipality of Anchorage is over. Conservative candidate, Dave Bronson, lied in his campaign finance reports. He has violated the law.
In an urgent note sent last May 13 by Forrest Dunbar’s team (i.e., released two days after the election was held), the Democratic candidate who has opposed Bronson for mayor in this runoff has charged that Stacey Stone, Dave Bronson’s campaign attorney, filed “significant amendments to three campaign finance reports” for Bronson. “But she didn’t do so until the polls closed, so that once this fact was known it could not change the direction of the electors’s vote.”
This is clear fraud, committed against all voters, including those who in good faith cast their vote for Bronson, and against the entire citizenry of Anchorage.
If Dave Bronson ends up winning the election, he will have done so by cheating and breaking the law; he will become mayor of Alaska’s most populous city on the basis of deceit and lies to the entire population. Bad start and worse omens for what may become his style of municipal government.
A deliberate deception These reports filed by attorney Stacey Stone after the polls closed acknowledge substantial debt that was previously not declared in any documentation or quantified as minimal. In the original reports, Bronson declared a debt of $15,986.64, dollars at the beginning of the year, reduced by half ($7,500.00) one month from the April 6 election, to $5,000.00 seven days prior, and to zero dollars seven days before the Runoff election of May 11.
However, the debt now recognized, with the election over, in the latest amended reports, amounts to $113,986.64; $109,250.00; $90,565.00; and $65,496.19, respectively. “Unfortunately for Anchorage voters, this dishonest behavior is entirely consistent with the way the Bronson campaign has conducted itself over the course of this election,” said Claire Shaw, campaign manager for Forrest Dunbar.
The timing of the May 11 filing of these rectifications confirms, according to Shaw, that conservative Dave Bronson intentionally concealed from the citizens and voters of Anchorage the true state of his campaign finances, “right up to the point where voters could no longer use this information to make their decision”.
“Corrupt campaign” “We will never know how voters would have acted if Bronson had been held accountable when our [Dunbar’s] campaign requested an expedited hearing weeks ago,” notes Shaw. “It is shocking that a campaign in an election of this importance would be so corrupt in its dealings”.
Campaign strategy relies heavily on knowing how much the opponent is spending and on what. Bronson’s campaign had an “unfair advantage” by having a clear picture of Dunbar’s debt, as required by law, while Anchorage residents “were left in the dark, due to his [Bronson’s] campaign’s complete lack of transparency and blatant violations of campaign finance laws,” says Shaw.
Since last April 6, the Bronson campaign has amended its reports ten times. But the inconsistencies remain. Most controversial is the original amount of debt owed to consulting firms Hackney & Hackney and Axiom Strategies. The original amount of Hackney & Hackney’s debt ranges from $95,000 (start of year report) to $150,000 (7-day Primary Report). Similarly, Axiom Strategies’ debt went from $20K to $80K and then down to $60K.
Donations beyond the legal limit According to these new reports, the Bronson campaign has not returned more than $5,000 from donors who gave more than the $500 limit in 2021. This amounts to receiving an illegal 0% interest loan from donors until it is resolved.
Bronson “grossly understated credit card fees on the seven-day runoff report, reporting only $381.80 in fees for more than $192K in credit card contributions. That is only 0.165%, or less than a quarter of a percent. Bronson uses the same credit card processor as the Dunbar campaign, Anedot, which charges 4% of the amount contributed, plus $0.30 per transaction. For $192,000, we would expect to see more than $7,700 in associated fees,” Shaw’s complaint concludes.
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