Pubdate: Fri, 14 Nov 2014
Source: Alaska Dispatch News (AK)
Copyright: 2014 Alaska Dispatch Publishing
Note: Anchorage Daily News until July '14
Author: Suzanna Caldwell


Alaska officials are still trying to determine whether Anchorage 
marijuana activist Charlo Greene violated campaign finance laws.

After more than a month of back and forth with Greene, the Alaska 
Public Offices Commission will hold a hearing next week to review 
whether it has the authority to subpoena Greene for records related 
to fundraising for the Alaska Cannabis Club.

Greene abruptly quit her job as a television reporter live on air to 
devote herself to fighting for "freedom and fairness" in marijuana 
reform, revealing herself to be the president and CEO of the Alaska 
Cannabis Club, a group looking to connect marijuana with medical 
marijuana patients -- and on which she had reported without 
disclosing her connection.

According to agenda documents released by APOC, in order to better 
understand whether Greene was in compliance with campaign disclosure 
laws, the commission asked Greene in early October to produce 
documents related to her IndieGogo fundraising campaign. That 
campaign netted the Cannabis Club with over $8,400 in donations.

Alaska law requires all entities advocating for candidates or 
campaigns to register with the commission. All donations and 
expenditures related to campaign activities must be submitted to the 

While Greene registered her group with the commission on Oct. 2, 
filing a handful of independent expenditures, she then stopped and 
began challenging the agency's jurisdiction over her fundraising efforts.

In an interview Thursday, Greene contended that she filed with the 
organization to comply with finance disclosure laws for the small 
amount of advocating she did do for the marijuana effort. But, she 
says, the IndieGogo campaign should not be subject to APOC reporting 
requirements because it was fundraising for her organization, not the 
ballot measure.

She reiterated that stance in a series of emails and memos the agency 
submitted as part of the APOC commissioner's meeting agenda.

"The goal stated is and always has been 'working toward marijuana 
reform in Alaska and the nation.' No where (sic) in the campaign are 
the words 'Vote Yes on 2' or any other statements made in direct 
favor of the measure," Greene wrote in an Oct. 13 email to Thomas 
Lucas, APOC campaign disclosure coordinator.

In a later email, included as part of the commission's filing, Lucas 
disagreed, citing at least two instances of what he believes are 
active campaigning from the group in support of Ballot Measure 2 
listed on Greene's IndieGogo website.

In one citation, Lucas notes a passage from the IndieGogo site saying 
"Ballot measure 2 ... isn't just about marijuana in the Last 
Frontier, it's about keeping the ball rolling on national 
legalization. Imagine, if after Colorado and Washington have 
legalized recreational marijuana and offering the rest of the world a 
positive outlook on what (ending) marijuana prohibition can do, 
Alaskan voters fail to continue moving our nation in the direction 
toward freedom and fairness."

Lucas tells Greene this is clearly advocating for marijuana 
legalization, and that a later passage even shows Greene as saying 
few people are as "completely dedicated to passing the initiative" as 
she is. Lucas adds that this phrase makes it clear that contributions 
she is soliciting will be used to help pass Ballot Measure 2.

In a follow-up email, Greene disagrees with what she calls Lucas' 
"misinterpretation of said facts."

"I meant what I wrote when I said this was about 'marijuana reform in 
Alaska and the nation.' I never said this was about ballot measure 2."

She said the quote on Washington and Colorado proves her movement is 
about keeping the movement going nationally, not just in Alaska, 
making it clear in her opinion that the purpose of the IndieGogo 
campaign is not solely for advocating on the Alaska initiative.

At the end of the email she adds a request that Lucas "please stop 
harassing" her while she's on her "personal mission to bring about 
marijuana reform across the globe."

Greene challenges the subpoena again on Oct. 28, saying the 
commission has no authority to "intimidate (her) into a providing 
information which APOC has no right to or jurisdiction over with an 
administrative subpoena ...

"Don't contact me again unless you're to apologize or take this to 
court, after which I will most certainly file a civil suit for the 
harassment perpetuated by APOC that I have documented extensively," she wrote.

Greene writes that Lucas contacted her nine times in one week and 
left her four voice messages where he "threatens to fine me tens of 
thousands of dollars and possible jail time for my private business' 
FACEBOOK page and the 90+ minute phone conversation in which Mr. 
Lucas is clearly heard misrepresenting APOC duties, jurisdiction and 
reach in an attempt to manipulate me into offering information APOC 
has no legal authority over."

APOC notes that early in its investigation the organization had 
difficulty contacting Greene.

In an attached memo to the Oct. 28 email, written to APOC staff by 
Greene (writing under her legal name, Charlene Egbe), she notes that 
IndieGogo is an international crowdfunding site based in California 
and that APOC has no jurisdiction over its records.

She also notes that the Alaska Cannabis Club has a global mission, 
saying its mission is similar to Amnesty International, the American 
Civil Liberties Union, and the Campaign for Human Justice, among 
others. She notes that the campaign has not donated to a political 
entity in Alaska, individually or collectively.

The commission will review the matter at its Nov. 19 meeting. A memo 
from Lucas analyzing the recommendation asks commissioners to deny 
Greene's objection to the subpoena and order her and the Alaska 
Cannabis Club to comply with producing the records and to seek 
"judicial enforcement" if she or the club refuses.

Greene has the option of participating. In an interview Thursday, 
Greene said she was unsure if she would attend. However, she remains 
firm in her objection to subpoena. Greene said she didn't even 
receive the funds from the IndieGogo account until three weeks after 
the fundraising effort ended -- about one week before the election.

"I had nothing to do with the campaign (for Ballot Measure 2)," she 
said. "(APOC) is saying the IndieGogo was formed for the ballot 
measure, and it wasn't. It was formed for our freedom and fairness 
fight, which didn't end on Nov. 4 because marijuana is still not 
legal across the entire nation."
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom