Language is a tricky thing, as signature gatherers for two very different ballot initiatives in Alaska are learning. The first, the Clean Elections initiative would offer candidates for the state legislature a full public financing option for their races. The second, the Anti-Corruption initiative would explicitly forbid public financing of elections. Be careful which one you sign.
Both initiatives respond to the corruption scandals that have engulfed the Alaska legislature and even extended to the state's Congressional delegation. Two state legislators have already been convicted of bribery in connection with the VECO oil services company scandal and questions about links between campaign donations, explicit bribes, and policy favors persist.
Clean Elections initiative supporters says that the Anti-Corruption folks are misrepresenting the initiatives to voters and they've filed a complaint:
That proposal, called the anti-corruption act, would block financial ties between government contractors and politicians. It also would prohibit the public financing of campaigns.
Clean elections supporter Steve Cleary says the Committee to Stop the Corruption is telling voters that the acts are one in the same.
"They think it's the best way to solve corruption may well be their opinion, but them saying that it does the same thing or will have a similar effect as clean elections is simply false," said director of the Alaska Public Interest Research Group, Steve Cleary. "It's going to negate clean elections and that's why we filed this complaint."
Always read the fine print!