ANCHORAGE, Alaska — Money has been pouring into Alaska’s U.S. Senate race, and all three candidates claim their opponents’ funds come with Outside strings attached.
Perhaps the most high-profile donations are from the Tea Party Express to Republican nominee Joe Miller, but Sen. Lisa Murkowski is also coming under fire after an independent coalition of Alaska Native regional corporations backed her campaign.
Miller hit the airwaves Friday to question the corporations’ controversial preference in receiving federal 8(a) contracts, as well as donations to Murkowski’s campaign by the group Alaskans Standing Together. So far the group has spent $960,000, according to federal campaign finance reports.
“Those funds are coming directly from, at least as far as we know, from the regional corporations that have received their money through these 8(a) contracts from the federal government,” Miller said. “So it's almost as if they're using the money they received from the federal government -- and these specialized contracts that Senator Murkowski help provide for them -- in an effort to ensure that she is re-elected.”
But Miller also has his share of outside cash. Thus far, independent groups have spent almost $800,000 on his campaign.
“When you look at the extreme views and the support base of Joe Miller, we think that he's going to be representing the interests of everybody outside of Alaska and not Alaska’s interest,” said Will Anderson with Alaskans Standing Together.
“There is a big difference between somebody who donates to a race like Alaskans Standing Together -- the Native corporations that expects something in return, that's quid pro quo, they put money in, they got 8(a) contacts, they get -- got other benefits they expect in response, than people that are donating to the Tea Party -- and some are outside of this state, there is no question about it -- they aren't expecting a return to themselves individually,” Miller said.
Murkowski's campaign says it isn't involved with Alaskans Standing Together, but that Murkowski is a supporter of 8(a) contracts.
“So, there is really not much there; I think this is a desperation tactic on their part to attack a program that employs 35,000 Alaskans,” said Murkowski campaign spokesperson Steve Wackowski.
Democrat Scott McAdams, who's gotten no money from independent political action committees, points out that most of his donations are local.
“Over the last 45 days, but when you take a look at the war chest the senator brought into this race, it is a who's who of multinational corporations,” McAdams said. “Over 80 percent of the dollars come from outside of Alaska, where I'm proud to say over 50 percent of our donations come from Alaska.”
No matter where the donations come from, only Alaskans will be able to vote in the Senate race Nov. 2.
According to the Federal Elections Commission, Miller has raised $1.17 million over the past two months, more money than Murkowski and McAdams combined during the same period.
While Murkowski hasn't raised as much money, she has $1.18 million in cash on hand.
As of September, McAdams had almost $400,000.
Contact Rebecca Palsha at firstname.lastname@example.org