A Skagway political candidate’s transparency on campaign disclosure forms is in question for the second time in two years. The state’s campaign finance watchdog is deciding whether to penalize assembly candidate Dan Henry for incomplete disclosures.
This is the second time Henry violated Alaska law by omitting financial information on his candidate disclosures. That’s according to the staff of the Alaska Public Offices Commission.
The most recent APOC case stems from a complaint from Skagway resident Lynne Cameron. Cameron accused Henry of failing to report debts over $1,000.
In the federal case, it came to light that Henry did not report his income on campaign disclosures. APOC ordered Henry to pay a $22,000 penalty for the incomplete paperwork.
Henry is running for borough assembly this October. Before his incarceration, he served on the assembly for about 20 years.
On his 2017 disclosure form, Henry did not report either his debt to the IRS or the state. After Cameron’s complaint, Henry amended his paperwork to include the IRS debt, but not the APOC debt. He says that’s because he’s appealing the fine.
But APOC Director Heather Hebdon said Henry should have been transparent about both debts.
“Mr. Henry’s 2017 candidate POFD statement and his amended statement failed to disclose substantial debt,” Hebdon said during a commission hearing Wednesday.
Hebdon recommended the maximum possible fine of $220. That’s $10 for each day of the violation.
But Cameron, who brought the complaint, asked for a harsher penalty. She wants APOC to remove Henry from the Oct. 3 ballot. She says not all Skagway voters are aware of Henry’s financial disclosure troubles.
“I believe that there are still a lot of people that have not been informed of any of the facts of this case and would not have that information at the time of election,” Cameron said.
But Henry said he thinks most people are aware of the APOC situation because of media coverage. And he said it didn’t seem very many people were interested in his campaign disclosures anyway, because only a few have requested copies from the Skagway clerk.
The commission has 10 days to make a decision on Cameron’s complaint. The group chose to hear this case in an accelerated manner because of the upcoming election.
But on a second complaint against Henry, the commission denied an expedited hearing. It will still be investigated, it will just take longer.
That complaint is from Skagway resident Roger Griffin. Griffin levies the same allegation against Henry – that he didn’t disclose debt on his most recent candidate paperwork.
“Mr. Henry is a repeat offender who treats the financial disclosure requirement of Alaska law in a cavalier manner,” Griffin said.
Griffin also listed a second accusation: that Henry didn’t report gifts from a company called ClubLink on his 2014 and 2015 disclosures. ClubLink is the parent company of White Pass and Yukon Route Railroad. The city of Skagway has been in negotiations with White Pass on and off for several years over a waterfront lease.
Henry traveled to Florida for negotiation talks with ClubLink. Assembly minutes show statements from borough officials that the company paid for city representative’s lodging and meals during these trips. Griffin says those ‘gifts’ should have been reported on Henry’s disclosures.
Henry said if he could have made ClubLink pay for even more of the trip’s expense, he would have, in order to save the city money.
“Because I would have wanted to have the city of Skagway spend less of its money on this agreement discussion. Period,” Henry said. “Now if that is regarded as a gift, I know I wasn’t going to pay for it and I was trying to make sure that Skagway wasn’t going to pay for it.”
Henry will have the opportunity to defend himself further once APOC staff investigate Griffin’s allegations and a hearing is set. It could be a few months before that happens.
In the meantime, the commission has until Sept. 25 to decide the penalty for Henry’s most recent incomplete disclosures.