Former borough chief of staff and current assembly candidate John Quick has been named in a complaint filed to the Alaska Public Office Commission. Until this week, Quick had been listed as the director of a political action group that’s been buying ads on behalf of Quick and other assembly candidates, while targeting others with negative ads.
Todd Smith of Kenai filed the complaint with the state. I spoke with him Wednesday afternoon, just before a special meeting with APOC to address his request that the case be expedited and handled sooner rather than later.
“Some ads started popping up on my social media feed and they seemed very negative and not true and I wanted to learn a little bit more about the organization. So I started looking into it a little bit and I realized Mr. Quick started it, that he was a director on their board and actually filed the incorporation documents… I’m fairly aware of the laws regarding independent expenditures when you’re running for public office and it looked like a pretty clear violation to me.”
The organization Smith looked into is called Alaska Yes. It’s a 501(c)4, meaning it can take unlimited contributions and it doesn’t have to disclose its donors. But a candidate isn’t supposed to be working with group like that, and during the APOC hearing Wednesday, Quick said that while he was there for the incorporation of the group, he is no longer working with them.
“When we filed, they were wanting to champion certain issues in Alaska and at the time it was issues I didn’t necessarily want to champion and so I resigned and parted ways with them and haven’t really had any communication with them since.”
Quick resigned from the group in March, but was still listed as a director of the organization on the APOC website as recently as Wednesday morning, when the complaint was filed. Other founding members include longtime conservative political consultant Peter Zuyus of Homer, Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly president Wayne Ogle and Kenai attorney Blaine Gilman.
After a brief executive session, the APOC board returned with its decision to expedite its process and hear the case within two days.
“The commission has decided that if the alleged violation is not immediately restrained, it could materially effect the outcome of an election and the election is underway. That being said, we will have to meet within two days," explained commission chair Anne Helzer.
This isn’t the first time Quick has found himself in an ethical grey area when it comes to his qualifications or affiliations. He stepped down as a nominee to run the state Department of Administration for Governor Mike Dunleavy earlier this year when it was found that he had lied about earning a master’s degree on his resume and his claims about an ownership stake in a Washington business were called into question. The commission will meet again Thursday at 10:30 for a full hearing on the case.