The Alaska Public Offices Commission’s staff recently rejected a bid by a top official in Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s administration to keep confidential the name of clients of PS Strategies, an advertising and political consulting firm the official owns.

Mary Ann Pruitt, under a $185,000-a-year contract with Dunleavy’s administration as contract communications director, is required to disclose the clients of PS Strategies, the agency’ staff said.

Pruitt, married to Anchorage Republican Rep. Lance Pruitt, had sought an exemption from Alaska’s financial disclosure laws, which are designed to guard against undisclosed conflicts of interest. Her lawyer claimed clients names and payments are trade secrets; that her right to privacy superseded the state’s interest in transparency.

APOC staff was absolutely correct in its decision. In a state where far too much goes on behind closed doors, the ruling is a welcome sign that transparency is still in fashion in some quarters.

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