Politics & Government

Alaska ballot measure takes aim at 'pay to play' politics

The other ballot measure that voters will consider Tuesday aims to put strict limits on lobbying and political campaign funding.

It is being fought hard by a well-funded coalition of unions, local governments, nonprofits and business groups. They say it would block many Alaskans from lobbying government and having a voice in political campaigns.

Backers, who organized as Clean Team Alaska, say they want to go after sweetheart deals and curb undue influence by government contract holders and unions. They say governments shouldn't use public funds to lobby for more. They want to stop what they call "pay to play" politics.

Opponents, organized as Stop the Gag Law, are running a $1 million campaign to defeat Measure 1. They say they are against corruption too but that the proposal overreaches.

Not only would a government snowplow contractor be unable to make campaign contributions, neither would the contractor's grandparents, stepchildren and a host of other relatives. A village mayor whose community was being battered by storms couldn't go to Juneau at public expense to ask for help, opponents say.

Backers say it wouldn't go that far.

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