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APOC Ruling Assigns Large Penalty to Bob Griffin for Multiple Campaign Violations

by Linda Kellen Biegel

Last week, I listened-in on an Alaska Public Offices Commission hearing regarding an old friend of ours here at Mudflats, Mr. Bob Griffin.

You remember Bob:

— In April 2011, he ran on his status as a veteran and a pilot in order to win a seat the Anchorage School Board (he lost), in a campaign best-known for the accusations of illegal yard signs. He was also one of Mayor Sullivan’s chosen-ones in that campaign, receiving donations from the both the Mayor and his wife.

— In May 2011, Mr. Griffin showed some questionable judgement through the methods he used to conduct an unscientific study for a local conservative organization.

— In July 2011, he was appointed by Mayor Sullivan to the Budget Advisory Committee advising the Municipality and the School District on how they should budget their money.

On Griffin’s campaign website from last year, he went out of his way to make us feel good about donating to his School Board effort. He stated: “I haven’t accepted any special-interest donations for my campaign, only small individual contributions…”

However, it’s what Mr. Griffin did (or didn’t do) with the donations he received that got him in trouble.

On October 14, 2011, the Alaska Public Offices Commission (APOC) Staff filed a complaint against Bob Griffin. In the complaint, they alleged that he “filed inaccurate and incomplete campaign disclosure reports for the 2011 Anchorage Election” and failed to disburse surplus campaign funds within 90 days of the election.”

During the investigation, it got even more interesting.

The APOC Staff discovered that Mr. Griffin also:

accepted a cash contribution “in excess of the statutory limits”;

accepted anonymous contributions;

converted campaign funds to personal income, and…

did not forfeit the anonymous funds to the State of Alaska.

After hearing and reading the Staff report, we can see that the money amounts involved are small. However, that’s a point that cuts both ways. It should have been easy for Mr. Airline Pilot to rectify the problem. APOC Staff gave Mr. Griffin from July 26, 2011 to October 14, 2011 to fix the errors in the reports and rectify the financial issues…three 1/2 months. Griffin was warned in September that if he didn’t fix the problems, APOC Staff would be forced to file a complaint. However, the thing that makes me shake my head in utter disbelief is the blatantly disrespectful, disgraceful and uncaring behavior exhibited by Bob Griffin during the entire process. The fact that this is a Mayoral appointee is beyond-the-pale.

Directly from the Staff Report:

Staff acquired the full scope of Respondent‟s violations through the investigation process. After the Complaint was filed, APOC Staff repeatedly requested Mr. Griffin‟s bank records, both orally and in writing. The bank records were not provided voluntarily and Staff subpoenaed the records from Mr. Griffin. The records were not provided until the original due date of the staff report, November 14, 2011.

Respondent’s records showed a number of irregularities. While the records did show the majority of the campaign money was disbursed in a timely fashion, deposits did not match the reported contributions. Moreover, cash withdrawals were made from ATMs in various states. Mr. Griffin told Staff he transferred money from his personal checking account into the campaign account to access cash on work layovers in Hawaii and California because his personal bank cards were not working. However, due to bank fees for the withdrawals, Mr. Griffin withdrew $11.75 more than he transferred.

Staff asked for detailed bank records for the campaign account. On November 21, 2011, Mr. Griffin provided specific records to help explain the discrepancies. At that time, Respondent self-reported an undisclosed contribution of $250 during the 24 Hour reporting period and $64 dollars in undisclosed, anonymous cash contributions (one from March 3 and one from March 25). As of the date of this Staff Report, no 105 Day Report has ever been received and the public still does not have information regarding that reporting period.

That brings me to the day of the hearing, January 12, 2012. I called-in to the teleconference number at APOC, expecting a hearing like the ones I’ve attended before. However, all we heard was the Staff report because Mr. Griffin was too craven to show up and testify.

As a result, the Commission was left with only the Staff Report on which to base their ruling:

After consideration of the Staff report and evidence, the Commission adopts the Staff report in full including the recommendations that Respondent forfeit $79.61 to the State of Alaska; return $100 to Rob Timmons within 60 days; pay a civil penalty of $4000 and pay $1700 for Staff costs; and, that Respondent attend an APOC candidate training program prior to running for office again.

$4,000 is one of the highest civil penalties I’ve ever seen lodged against a candidate.

Meanwhile, we have this deplorable, corrupt individual serving as an appointee to Mayor Sullivan. (Sound like Bill Sheffield, anyone?) Currently, Griffin is shadowing School Board and Assembly Meetings and giving budget advice. Bob Griffin did not turn in one accurate finance report from his own campaign! What business does he have giving anyone advice?

After all, in Griffin’s own words…from the blog on his campaign site titled “Privilege to Serve”:

During my 20 years as an Air Force fighter pilot and Army attack helicopter pilot, I made a pretty universal observation about my coworkers: the best public servants are not very motivated by money; many of the worst ones are.

Yes, Bob, we couldn’t agree more.

Mr. Mayor, get rid of this guy.

—————————————————————–

If you want to contact Mayor Sullivan about Bob Griffin:

Use this EMAIL FORM.

Call the Mayor’s Office at (907) 343-7100

If you wish to contact the Anchorage Assembly about Bob Griffin:

Here is the email for all Assemblymembers: wwmas@muni.org

If you would rather call your individual Assembly member, here is the PHONE LIST.

Comments

comments

Comments
13 Responses to “APOC Ruling Assigns Large Penalty to Bob Griffin for Multiple Campaign Violations”
  1. John Locke says:

    Mr. Griffin was just appointed as the Treasurer of our ASD school’s Academic Policy Committee. This bodes well.

  2. Martha Unalaska Yard Sign says:

    Anchorage needs its own Goonsebury writer. Sullivan would inspire by the hour! All of his cronies, the party planner, the Debbie whack job & the City Council – all of them are subjects of perfection for an artist of irony.

    Mucho detail Linda – thank you! Remind me to never piss you off because you are certainly the master of digging and documentation. My previous lives might all be exposed – heaven forbid!

  3. Lacy Lady says:

    This guy sounds a little like Newt G. —-as Newt says he was paid as an Historian!!!!!

  4. Dagian says:

    Given that he was following school buses around, supposedly for a scientific survey, I wouldn’t take my eyes off of him for a second!

    Creepy doesn’t begin to describe this guy.

  5. lisa says:

    Wow. This fellow is a snake in the grass. And, as far as his military service ‚ he brings a shameful personal history to his story. Why he thinks he is above reproach is beyond all reason. Maybe a little bit of narcissism?

  6. bluejay says:

    Let’s see… a total of $179.61 misapplied yet $1700 of government staff time and a $4000 fine. Who says Government is uneffiecient? Makes you wonder why more people don’t get involved in serving!

    • John says:

      It takes more effort to track down a crime than it does to commit one. If the staff had spent less time giving him extra chances to comply with the law, it would have cost less, but they gave him every possible opportunity to do the legally and morally right thing. And then they had to go to court to get a subpoena.

  7. UgaVic says:

    I sure hope the Anchorage electorate are paying attention and take care of the main person that is allowing this to happen…the good ole boy mayor!!

    Thanks for the detailed report and keeping the light shining on some very dark places we have in our state’s overall ‘process’!!

  8. John says:

    Bob’s a friendly fellow. He just has trouble understanding budgets and numbers. Lots of people have similar problem. It is nothing to be ashamed of. There are a lot of committee’s he could be useful on. Just not the one he is on.

    • fishingmamma says:

      I beg to differ. People that serve on any committees should understand how projects are funded and how that funding should be reported in order to create transparency. No government function can exist without a budget component.

  9. laurie says:

    How exactly do you get anonymous cash?

  10. mike from iowa says:

    Way to go LKB,excellent report.now kick the SOB while he is down,just for good measure, of course.

  11. Alaska Pi says:

    oh my.
    Mr private-industry-can-do-it-more-efficiently fell in a privately owned, personal pothole, didn’t he?

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