Alaska GOP Senate debate might violate FEC laws. Will it go on?

What was supposed to be a relatively seamless GOP Senate candidate debate sponsored by four Alaska Republican women’s’ clubs, including the Anchorage Republican Women’s Club, has turned into an event which, as planned, might violate federal election laws.

The debate is scheduled for Thursday night at East High School in Anchorage, and all three major candidates—Joe Miller, Mead Treadwell, and Dan Sullivan—were expected to attend. The organizers were charging $10 at the door.

At issue is who, and how, the debate would be paid for, and how the money collected from the event would be spent. Federal election law dictates that all expenses and revenue for a federal candidates event put on by a political club be handled by a federal account. None of the women’s clubs have a federal account.

Rhonda Boyles, the president of the Alaska Federation of Republican Women, caught the potential mistake and sent a memo out to some of the members of the group on Saturday. To continue the debate as planned could damage the clubs, she said, and more importantly the candidates.

Alaska GOP Vice-chair elect Frank McQueary was able to reach Treadwell and Sullivan’s campaign manager. Both campaigns expressed a willingness to work things out so the debate can go on, McQueary said. He wasn’t able to reach Miller.

On Tuesday, Sullivan’s campaign sent out a release, offering to pay for the debate. “Even though we have agreed to five additional debates before the primary, I think it’s important that we honor this particular pledge to our fellow Republicans,” the release said.

Judy Eledge, the president of the Anchorage Republican Women’s Club, has taken the lead on organizing the event. She’s had help from Bernadette Wilson, who has worked for Mead Treadwell, but  according to Boyles, declined help from her.  When reached on Tuesday morning, Eledge seemed unwilling to allow Sullivan’s campaign to pay for it. Eledge and the party establishment have a rocky history, and there’s been allegations that Eledge has organized the event to Treadwell’s advantage.

“There has been one obstacle after another for this debate not to happen,” Eledge said. “We believe that this will not be an FEC violation and are waiting to hear back from an FEC attorney who has offered potential solutions.”

I’ll have more as I learn it.

Contact Amanda Coyne at


32 thoughts on “Alaska GOP Senate debate might violate FEC laws. Will it go on?

  1. Squire

    Don’t look now, but Patti Higgins hasn’t run the AK Democratic Party in a while now.

  2. Lynn Willis

    Since the Citizen United decision allows direct funding of campaigns who needs a political party? Political parties are dinosaurs waiting for the meteor to hit and now appeal mostly to those who want to play in a league where; “The enemy of my enemy is my friend, the enemy of my friend is my enemy, and the friend of my enemy is my enemy.”

  3. Rebecca Logan

    There are many things being said here that are personal attacks that don’t add anything relevant to the discussion Why is it bullying to ask people who are actually bullying others with their accusations to use their real name?it doesn’t take an ounce of courage to anonymously accuse and attack.

  4. Jim Lottsfeldt

    Put Alaska First would be happy to pay for the debate. We are a Federal committee.

  5. Steve Brostko

    It wouldn’t be a bad idea for all three GOP candidates to distance themselves from the Alaska Republican Party. Those people are nuts.

  6. Radio Dave

    I’m going to go out on a limb and based on the stupid posted, Mark Begich is laughing himself stupid. Really people? This is how you’re going to beat Mark? Good luck.

  7. John Smith

    If Bernadette helps with a Senate debate while driving around with Chris Tuck license plates, is that an APOC violation? Or, if she takes over $20K from the Treadwell campaign to raise just over $7K in actual contributions, while driving around with Chris Tuck license plates, does that make her a democrat? These are serious questions that need answering.

    In all seriousness though, it is stories like this that make me think Republicans can’t win in November (as much as I want them to). We continuously get in our own way. I have to hand it to the Democrats; there may very well be some infighting in that party, but they do a great job of showing solidarity and staying on a consistent message. We can’t even organize a simple debate without it becoming the circus episode of Romper Room.

  8. WJ

    Enough already. Stop. All the personality commentary is a waste of time. Every party has their share of goof balls. We have Judy and the Dems have Patty Higgins. What’s important is cleaning up this mess and having the debate in a legal manner without breaking federal law. This is simple: Just Follow The Law.

  9. The Oracle

    Here’s my big thought of the day: Craig Fleener and Judy Eledge could run for Governor and Lite Governor together. Their ticket could affectionately be known as Dumb and Dumber. Judy can do dumb things and Craid can lie about them. This is the perfect team.

  10. John Smith

    Seriously though Rebecca, demanding that people use their real names on a forum is kind of a bullying move. I am not sure who you are, or who you think you are, but you appear to have a problem with your sense of control. I am sure that if there are things being done and said on this site that is offensive and inappropriate, Amanda and her team (you do have a team, right?) will take care of it. No need for you to try and be the Sheriff around here as there already is one.

  11. Wasilla Warrior

    The democrats are laughing at us Judy. I hope you’re proud of your moronic games and their end result.

  12. Rude Alaskan

    Rebecca Logan-you’re a washed up, opinionated party hack. Your effectiveness has worn down, possibly because of your personality. Contrary to your actions and opinion of yourself, you can’t control everything…not even Amanda Coyne. If Amanda changes her blog to require a Facebook account like the ADN, readership and commenting would decrease significantly.
    Butt out.

  13. Potter Marsh Republican

    It is time for Eledge to resign. This time, like so many times before, her antics are over the top. I liked and agree that she is one of Begich’s secret weapons. How intensely disturbing and sad that our party has granted this nut job a leadership position. And her go to person is KFQD’s Bernadette? No wonder she makes such stupid mistakes

  14. John Smith

    That is a ridiculous assertion based on a huge leap of logic and no evidence. In fact, the article says nothing about the assumptions and accusations that you are making. If Sullivan and his campaign had an issue with the format of the debate, and brought it to the organizers attention, then they did their jobs and nothing out of the ordinary occurred. It is completely normal for campaigns to have discussions with debate organizers about everything from venue, to date, to format, to subject matter and focus. I am not sure what your motivation is for creating such unsubstantiated false outrage, but at the very least you should not show your ignorance when it comes to the organization and management of political campaigns. In other words, do a little research before speaking. At least that way the reader may actually take your argument seriously.

  15. Bircher

    There’s a reason that even her friends call her “Crazy Judy”. She has the sense of a gnat and has proven such time and time again. The only reason she has any power is because of her obsessive compulsive and bullying behavior. She is mean spirited and everything is all about “crazy Judy”. I’m tired of being embarrassed and making excuses for her irresponsible and thoughtless behavior. It’s time for her to step aside. For the harm she does the ARP she should join the Democratoc party; unfortunately, I doubt if they would have her. I am done with her obnoxious bullying. She needs to respect and follow the law. After all these years involved in politics, you would think that she would be aware of these simple type rules. Judy, go away.

  16. Alice

    I love these intra-party battles that the Alaska Republican Party specializes in. Think about it. Would you want to be in a club that has Judy Eledge in a leadership position? Not me.
    Judy’s bvehavior iis uncalled for. Yes Judy, we think its important to follow the law. How sad is it when her fellow Alaska Women Republican Clubs feel compelled to involve themselves because they have so little regard for Judy’s moral compass to do things right or in the party’s interest.

  17. Roger M.

    Matt, your comments are ridiculous and disingenuous. From the start, Judy Eledge, and the Party Planner that uses legislative license plates illegally, have been trying to ran down everyone’s throats a debate structure benefiting Treadwell. Sullivan’s role has only been to keep the debate on track. Judy Eledge needs to take her responsibilities more seriously and comply with thelaw. Under your assertions, I guess Sullivan was responsible for the federal law too. Matt, you should get to know Judy. You both are on par mentally. What an embarrassment.

  18. Matt

    What you’re telling me is that Dan Sullivan didn’t get his way… I heard from one of my friends in the MSRWC that Dan didn’t want to have candidates ask each other questions. The press release they put out just screams desperation. The Sullivan campaign is trying to hold the event themselves so that they can control of it and turn it into a Forum. Does anyone not think that Mark is going to rip this guy apart, if you don’t know Alaskan issues well enough to debate, why would anyone vote for you?

    Rhonda Boyles & Frank McQueary, who are both gigantic hypocrites who should be thrown out of their positions, are known Dan Sullivan supporters. Rhonda is so blatant that I’m dumbfounded that nobody has written to the National Leadership to get her thrown out.

    This articles proves the accusation. Why don’t the ARP or the AFRW help out with the debate? No, instead, their leadership decries the event as being against FEC regulations because the leadership is composed of Sullivan supporters. This reeks of corruption.

    I can’t believe that Dan Sullivan is pulling moves like this in a community the size of Alaska. I can’t imagine what he’d be like when he got into a position of power. But that’s fine, my boy Joe is going to make sure that none of you get the chance to go against Mark. We’re sign waving everyday while the chattering class is bickering amongst themselves about how good Dan’s shit smells.

  19. Rebecca

    Real names people. If you are going to say mean things, especially that aren’t based on the actual facts, show a little courage and let people know who you really are.

  20. Anonymous

    Exactly. I hope Sullivan leaves Treadwell in his dust in the election. I am confident he can.

  21. Anonymous

    Amanda, thanks for covering this and including the history of Judy’s tactics. If she is involved, her bias is all over it. I won’t attend any debate with her fingerprints on it, or Bernadette’s for that matter. How does anyone take either of them seriously? That is exactly what you get when you get home-grown Alaskans who shun anyone they deem to be an outsider, which is exactly what Judy is doing to Sullivan. Disgraceful and petty.

  22. Clara

    Judy tried to show favor towards her candidate and Sullivan took the high road. Talk about a backfire! Many republican women of Alaska are sick of Judy’s antics of disrespect and absurdity. It’s time to step down and let a leader take the organization places.

  23. Valley R

    JUdy Eledge is at it again. She seems intent on sharing her comfrontational, irresponsible, drama-driven leadership time and time again. Right now, she’s one of the best secret weapons that Begich has in his arsenal. She lacks responsibility and reasonable thought. As a leader she is a joke. Her bullish style of governance leaves a lot to be desired. She is an embarrassment to herself and to her party. There is a reason, that even her friends, they call her “Crazy Judy”. She is hurting the Republican party and is helping Begich. Grow up Judy.

  24. HST Democrat

    Show the world that the Repiblican Party of Alaska is run by wing nuts!
    Don’t let them push you aside. This is a fight for principle. To heck with federal election law.

  25. Northern Lights

    OMG. Judy Eledge is back once again showing her insanity and bullish behavior. Besides being an embarrassment to herself, she also is to her party and the party’s candidates. She must not have a life or anything to do. She squabbles over the mundane anbd seems hell bent on creating conflict, drama and confrontation. She has no business being a Republican party leader. Her antics, this and others like her “salad” party is doing more to help re-elect Sen. Begich than she realizes. She just needs to take her medication more regularly I think. In the meanwhile, she will continue to belittle herself, be destructive to her pparty and make great partisan fodder for the media. I doubt she even realizes how childish she looks. .

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