Ex-Lawmaker Who Co-Wrote “Right To Know” Law Files Complaint With Campaign Watchdog Agency Asking That Voters Be Told the Truth
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 16, 2020
Contact: Les Gara, 907-250-0106; [email protected]
(Anchorage) – Today former Rep. Les Gara filed a complaint to enforce Alaska’s “right to know” campaign law. That law requires voters to be told ads opposing the Alaska Fair Share initiative are funded by Outside Corporations with headquarters in London and Texas. Over 99% campaign group OneAlaska’s money comes from four Texas and
London-based corporations. Gara previously asked this corporate-funded campaign group to voluntarily honor the right of voters to know. The group has declined this request. Information on the principal places of business for the four corporations is linked below.
“Alaskans have legal right to know who is trying to influence them with campaign ads, and when Outside corporations are trying to influence our elections,” said Gara.
ExxonMobil, BP, Hilcorp and ConocoPhillips, all of which operate from Outside corporate headquarters, are illegally misleading Alaskans in ads that they are local businesses. Alaska law requires voters to be told the “top three contributors” in corporate-funded ads like those run by OneAlaska.
The law states that these ads must inform voters of the “top three contributors”, and their “principal place of business”, on any video or print ad. It also requires TV, radio and other ads with an “audio component” to state the name of the Corporation operating from that “principal place of business”. Alaska Statute 15.13.090 (c) and (d).
The United States Supreme Court has ruled a corporation’s “principal place of business” is a corporation’;s main headquarters, not a local subsidiary address. It ruled that this term be interpreted according to its logical meaning in Hertz Corp. v. Friend in 2010. It ruled the “’principal place of business’ is best read as referring to the place where a corporation’s officers direct, control, and coordinate the corporation’s activities. It is the place that Courts of Appeals have called the corporation’s ‘nerve center.’” (underlining added).
All of OneAlaska’s ads are funded by a combination of ExxonMobil Corporation of Irving, Texas, British Petroleum, headquartered in London, and Hilcorp and ConocoPhillips which are headquartered in Houston, Texas. At various times all of these corporations have been the top three contributors of ads run by the group they fund, OneAlaska.
OneAlaska, which is running the TV, radio and other ads, is funded by roughly $20 million from Exxon, BP, ConocoPhillips and Hilcorp. Some of their illegal ads ironically seek to mislead Alaskans that these Outside corporations and local businesses, and that the Initiative campaign, run by a group of Alaskans with funding that is over 99% Alaska based, is an “’Outside’ run group.”
“Alaskans, in evaluating the “No” campaign, are entitled to know Outside corporations are willing to spend $20 million to mislead them,” said Gara. Former Sen. Hollis French and Gara, worked together write and pass the law these corporations are violating.
The complaint asks for expedited consideration so the ads can be pulled and corrected as most Alaskans are getting ready to vote.
Information on the principal place of business for these corporations is listed below.
For additional information contact Les Gara, 907-250-0106; [email protected].
ConocoPhillips Principal Place of Business, Houston
BP Principal Place of Business/Headquarters, London, England
ExxonMobil Principal Place of Business, Irving Texas
HilCorp Principal Place of Business, Houston, Texas