State of Alaska

Department of Administration

Alaska Public Offices Commission

Alaska Department of Administration, Alaska Public Offices Commission

AO 05-03-CD

Number: AO 05-03-CD

Requested by: Rich McClear, KUDO, Anchorage

Prepared by: Brooke Miles, Director

Date Issued: March 14, 2005

Subject: Definition of a “qualified candidate”

QUESTION

You have asked when a person is considered a qualified candidate under Alaska law because it may affect your obligations under FCC regulation.


Short Answer

For purposes of the laws APOC administers, a person is a candidate when he or she files a letter of intent with the Alaska Public Offices Commission or when the person files with the appropriate state or municipal election official, whichever occurs first. However, you will need to consult with the FCC regarding whether these events also trigger your obligations for “equal opportunity to qualified candidates” under its regulations.

Campaign Disclosure Law and Regulations

A political campaign expenditure may not be made or incurred by a person in an election or by a person or group with the person's knowledge and on the person's behalf before the date upon which the person files for nomination for the office which the person seeks, except for personal travel expenses or for opinion surveys or polls. These expenditures must be included in the first report required under this chapter after filing for office. Sec. 15.13.100

Sec. 15.13.400. Definitions. In this chapter,

(1) "candidate"

(A) means an individual who files for election to the state legislature, for governor, for lieutenant governor, for municipal office, for retention in judicial office, or for constitutional convention delegate, or who campaigns as a write-in candidate for any of these offices; and

(B) when used in a provision of this chapter that limits or prohibits the donation, solicitation, or acceptance of campaign contributions, or limits or prohibits an expenditure, includes

(i) a candidate's campaign treasurer and a deputy campaign treasurer;

(ii) a member of the candidate's immediate family;

(iii) a person acting as agent for the candidate;

(iv) the candidate's campaign committee; and

(v) a group that makes expenditures or receives contributions with the authorization or consent, express or implied, or under the control, direct or indirect, of the candidate;

(a) An individual wishing to campaign for municipal elective office shall comply with AS 15.13.100 by filing for office with the municipal clerk or by submitting a letter of intent with the commission. An individual wishing to campaign for state elective office shall comply with AS 15.13.100 by filing a declaration of candidacy with the lieutenant governor or by submitting a letter of intent with the commission. 2 AAC 50.274

(b) A letter of intent submitted under (a) of this section is valid only for the next election or until it is withdrawn by the individual, whichever occurs first. A letter of intent must include a statement certifying that the individual will comply with the requirements of AS 15.13. A letter of intent need not include the specific seat for which the individual may file but must state whether the individual will seek state or municipal office.
2 AAC 50.282

An individual establishes a separate candidacy for each elective office for which the individual files a declaration of candidacy with the lieutenant governor, files a comparable document with the municipal clerk, or submits a letter of intent with the commission. 2 AAC 50.282.


Analysis

The letter of intent under 2 AAC 50.274 serves as the official candidate filing until the filer of the letter of intent either formally files for office with the appropriate state or municipal election official, or withdraws the letter of intent filed with the Commission. Each letter of intent includes a certification that the filer will comply with the requirements of the campaign disclosure law as if he or she had formally declared for office with the appropriate state or municipal election official.

Although APOC has not previously issued an advisory opinion on this issue, a state employee who files a letter of intent for state office must resign her or his position on the day that the letter of intent is filed. AS 39.25.160(c). Additionally, the sections of the campaign disclosure law that regulate campaign contributions speak to “a candidate or an individual who has filed with the Commission the document necessary to permit that individual to incur election-related expenses under AS 15.13.100.”

Conclusion

An individual becomes a “qualified candidate” for either state or municipal office in Alaska when he or she either formally files for office with the appropriate state or municipal election official, or files a letter of intent with the Commission.

The Commission approved the advice in this letter by an affirmative vote of 5-0 on June 22, 2005. The advice in this opinion applies only to the specific activity for which the advice was requested.

A copy of the original letter requesting the above advisory opinion is available upon request at the Alaska Public Offices Commission. 907/276-4176.