Pubdate: Thu, 27 Nov 2014
Source: Alaska Dispatch News (AK)
Copyright: 2014 Alaska Dispatch Publishing
Note: Anchorage Daily News until July '14
Author: Suzanna Caldwell


The Alaska Public Offices Commission on Wednesday rejected Anchorage 
marijuana activist Charlo Greene's objection to a subpoena, giving 
the agency the authority to continue its investigation into whether 
she violated campaign finance law.

Greene challenged the commission's request that she provide it with 
documents and information related to an IndieGogo fundraising 
campaign she conducted this fall. APOC requested the information to 
see whether or not Greene accepted contributions or made expenditures 
or communications related to Ballot Measure 2, an initiative 
legalizing recreational marijuana in Alaska. Greene contends the 
agency has no authority over her records and said Wednesday she would 
not be complying with the subpoena.

"This (order) worries me and should worry any other Alaskan that's 
taken on a stance on any matter that's important to them," Greene 
said. "If you publish your personal stance on any issue, then this 
government agency believes they have the authority to ask for emails, 
bank account information, all of your records. That's scary."

In the three-page order, the commission argues that Alaska law allows 
the agency to conduct investigations in order to determine whether 
campaign finance law has been violated. The commission notes multiple 
times in the order that it has not found Greene to be in violation of the law.

"This does not mean that there has been any violation of the law," 
the commission wrote. "But without a reasonable investigation, no 
determination can be reached."

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 documented with 
the commission. Those who fail to comply with the law can be subject 
to civil penalties.

Greene, whose legal name is Charlene Egbe, quit her job as a reporter 
at KTVA in September, announcing she would dedicate herself to her 
marijuana business full-time. Shortly after quitting, Greene launched 
an IndieGogo online fundraising campaign to continue her "freedom and 
fairness" fight for marijuana legalization. The online fundraising 
campaign netted Greene just over $8,400.

Greene contended in a series of emails with APOC group campaign 
disclosure coordinator Tom Lucas in October that her fundraising was 
not for passing Ballot Measure 2 but for continuing her marijuana 
advocacy worldwide.

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.

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, the Alaska Cannabis Club, and not 
Ballot Measure 2. The agency disagreed, citing numerous examples 
where they believe her campaign was advocating for the initiative.

In the Wednesday order, the commission notes that Greene is directed 
to comply with the subpoena at a date and time set by APOC Executive 
Director Paul Dauphinais. As of Wednesday, that date had not been 
set. Should Greene not comply, Dauphinais has the authority to seek 
judicial enforcement of the subpoena.
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom