State of Alaska

Department of Administration

Alaska Public Offices Commission

Alaska Department of Administration, Alaska Public Offices Commission

AO 06-04-CD

Number:AO 06-04-CD


Requested by: John Bitney
Registered Lobbyist

Prepared by: Tammy Kempton
Juneau Branch Adminisator

Date Issued: October 9, 2006

Subject: May a lobbyist provide professional services to a gubernatorial campaign if the services do not include fund-raising?

By letter dated August 28, 2006, you asked whether you could enter into a professional services agreement with a gubernatorial campaign to provide issues-related services such as writing position papers, speeches, talking points, letters, and messages for the gubernatorial campaign. In our telephone conversation of August 28, 2006, you stated that your position, although untitled, would be that of “issues coordinator.” You further stated that the campaign does not have a campaign manager at this time.

Short Answer

You may enter into a professional services agreement with a gubernatorial campaign for the 2006 general election if the agreement confines your services as described above. You may not serve as a campaign manager or director, treasurer or deputy treasurer, participate in any substantive fund-raising aspects of the campaign, or exercise the final decision-making authority or day-to-day control over the campaign. You may not provide professional writing services for written communications associated with fund-raising activities.

LAW
AS 24.45.121. Prohibitions
(a) A lobbyist may not


(8) serve as a campaign manager or director, serve as a campaign treasurer or deputy campaign treasurer on a finance or fund-raising committee, host a fund-raising event, directly or indirectly collect contributions for, or deliver contributions to, a candidate, or otherwise engage in the fund-raising activity of a legislative campaign or campaign for governor or lieutenant governor if the lobbyist has registered, or is required to register, as a lobbyist under this chapter, during the calendar year; this paragraph does not . . . prohibit a lobbyist from making personal contributions to a candidate as authorized by AS 15.13 or personally advocating on behalf of a candidate.

Administrative Regulations
2 AAC 50.545. Definitions

(b) In AS 24.45., unless the context requires otherwise,

(1) “campaign manager or director” includes an individual who is not the candidate and who has final decision-making authority in or day-to-day control over a campaign or the campaign fund raising if the campaign is for a legislator, governor, or lieutenant governor.
(2) “campaign treasurer” and “deputy campaign treasurer,” mean an individual who is authorized by the candidate to received, hold, or disburse campaign funds or goods if the campaign is for a legislator, governor, or lieutenant governor.

* * *

(5) “otherwise engage in the fund-raising activity of a legislative campaign or campaign for governor or lieutenant governor,” means
(A) serve as an officer or in a fund-raising capacity for a controlled event or for a group that is “controlled by the candidate” within the meaning of As 15.13.400; or
(B) solicit, collect, accept, or deliver campaign funds or goods.

Facts

You are currently a registered lobbyist. You are considering entering into a professional services agreement to work on a gubernatorial campaign for the 2006 general election. Your services will include researching and writing position papers, speeches, talking points, letters, and messages for the gubernatorial campaign. Your services will not include being the campaign manager or director, and you will not participate in fund-raising activities for the campaign. You have filed a notice of termination covering all your clients.

Analysis

The Commission issued several advisory opinions in 1994 that delineated the permitted participation in a legislative campaign by a registered lobbyist. At that time the lobbying law only proscribed a lobbyist’s participation in legislative campaigns, not in gubernatorial campaigns. In 1996 the law was amended to include participation in campaigns for governor and lieutenant governor in the regulated activities of a lobbyist. The two most applicable advisory opinions are:
1. Mitchell D. Gravo; April 1, 1994; responding to a series of questions from Mr. Gravo, a registered lobbyist, regarding his involvement on behalf of his clients in fund-raising activities for a legislative campaign.

2. Senator Drue Pearce and Michael F.G. Williams; July 29, 1994; responding to a series of questions regarding Mr. Williams’ participation in Senator Pearce’s legislative campaign. Mr. Williams was both a registered lobbyist and Senator Pearce’s spouse.
Although these previous advisory opinions address lobbyist participation in legislative campaigns, the advice would be the same for a gubernatorial campaign. The opinions are enclosed. Please review them carefully, especially the sections that detail restrictions on participation in fund-raising activities.

Question 1: Does AS 24.45.121(a)(8) or any accompanying regulations completely prohibit me from immediately terminating all lobbying activities and entering into a professional services agreement to work on a gubernatorial campaign for the 2006 General Election?

Answer: No, you are not prohibited from working on a gubernatorial campaign as long as you refrain from certain activities: you may not serve as an officer of the campaign, be involved in the fund-raising aspects, or have final decision-making authority or day-to-day control over the campaign or its fund-raising efforts. Additionally you may provide advice to the campaign so long as that advice is not related to fund-raising activities.

As a registered lobbyist, the restrictions on your involvement in fund-raising apply for the entire calendar year, regardless of whether you still have active clients. The law permits a lobbyist to terminate his or her registration(s) if the activities which required registration have ceased. However, the prohibition on involvement in candidate fund-raising activities applies to a lobbyist who has been registered at any time during the calendar year, whether or not the lobbyist has filed a notice of termination. See Pearce/Williams advisory opinion.

With respect to fund-raising activities, you specifically are not allowed to:
1. make the initial decision to hold a fund-raising activity;
2. determine the details of a fund-raising activity;
3. compose invitations to or announcements of a fund-raising activity;
4. be the host or co-host;
5. allow your name to be used on an invitation to or announcement of a fund-raising activity;
6. finalize invitations or announcements;
7. pay for the printing of the invitations or announcements, or the postage to mail them;
8. accept contributions, whether monetary or non-monetary.
You may perform the following functions:
1. perform the clerical function of copying words and phrases which others have finalized to prepare the invitations or announcements for the printer
2. deliver the invitations or announcements to the printer;
3. pick up printed invitations or announcements from the printer;
4. address and mail the invitations or post the announcements.
You are not prohibited from attending the campaign’s fund raisers.

Question 2: What are the parameters of “final decision-making authority” and “day-to-day control”? Would these types of services violate the prohibition established by the definition under this regulation?

Answer: These terms cover activities such as hiring or firing campaign staff who would participate in fund-raising activities; expending campaign funds; soliciting, accepting, or delivering campaign contributions, whether monetary or non-monetary; any substantive fund-raising activities whether or not enumerated in this opinion. However, the type of service you are proposing to provide to the campaign would not violate the regulation.

The lobbying law specifically allows a lobbyist to personally advocate on behalf of a candidate. Personally advocate means you may freely express your opinions regarding the candidate, however, you may not express others’ opinions regarding the candidate. This means you may not state your clients’ opinions of the candidate for whom you will be working, or any other candidates.

Conclusion



The intent of the Alaska lobbying law is to restrict a lobbyist’s involvement and participation in the fund-raising activities of a gubernatorial or legislative campaign. Thus, you may provide issues-related services, such as writing position papers, speeches, talking points, and letters, to a gubernatorial campaign. You may not serve as a campaign officer, participate in any substantive aspect of the campaign’s fund-raising activities, or exercise final decision-making authority or day-to-day control over the campaign. You may provide clerical and courier services relative to fund-raising activities.


The Commission approved the advice in this letter by an affirmative vote of 5-0 onSeptember 20, 2006. 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.