Number: AO 07-01-CD
Requested by: Kristie Smithers, MMC
City Clerk, Wasilla
Prepared by: Brooke Miles
Date Issues: September 14, 2007
Subject: Must a municipal charter commission candidate file financial disclosure or campaign disclosure reports?
This letter responds to your advisory opinion request dated June 28, 2007. You have asked a question regarding the status of a candidate for a municipal charter commission. The question is two fold: 1) is a municipal charter commission candidate required to file a public official financial disclosure statement at the time of filing to have her or his name placed on the ballot; and 2) is the municipal charter commission candidate required to file campaign disclosure reports?
No. Candidates for a municipal charter commission are not subject to AS 15.13 (the campaign disclosure law) or AS 39.50 (the public official financial disclosure law).
AS 15.13 applies to candidates for municipal office. AS 15.13.010 (a) (2), AS 15.13.405(a) (1)
AS 39.50 defines “municipal officer:”
AS 39.50.200(8) “municipal officer” includes a borough or city mayor, borough assemblyman, city councilman, school board member, elected utility board member, city or borough manager, members of a city or borough planning or zoning commission within a home rule or general law city or borough, or a unified municipality.
AS 29.10.040 addresses the qualifications of charter commission candidates and is silent concerning whether or not a charter commission candidate is subject to the campaign disclosure law under AS 15.13, or the financial disclosure law under AS 39.50.
- The City of Wasilla adopted Ordinance Serial No. 07-39 (Exhibit 1) which submits to the voters of the City at their regular October election, the question of whether or not a charter commission should be elected to prepare a home rule charter for the City. Ordinance Serial No. 07-39 further calls for the election of the charter commission members at the October election.
- The Commission has been advised by the Department of Law that candidates for a municipal charter commission are not subject to the campaign disclosure law, AS 15.13, or the public official financial disclosure law (formerly the conflict of interest law), AS 39.50. July 14, 1988 memorandum (Exhibit 2).
The campaign disclosure law does not provide a clear answer to this question in terms of definitions. AS 15.13.010 (a) (2) provides that the law applies to candidates for municipal office in a municipality of more than 1,000 inhabitants; AS 15.13.400(1) (A) defines “candidate” to include an individual who files for election to municipal office.
Under AS 39.50.400(8), the public official financial disclosure law defines “municipal officer” to include a borough or city mayor, borough assemblyman, city councilman, school board member, elected utility board member, city or borough manager, members of a city or borough planning or zoning commission within a home rule or general law city or borough, or a unified municipality
Additionally, none of the provisions in AS 29.10.010 - .100, Home Rule Municipalities, address the filing of either campaign disclosure reports or public official financial disclosure statements.
Historically, the Commission has strictly construed Alaska’s disclosure laws and has not applied the coverage of these laws to those who are not expressly covered by them.
Based on precedent practice under advice from the office of the attorney general, individuals who are candidates for a municipal charter commission are not required to file campaign disclosure reports under AS 15.13, or public official financial disclosure reports under AS 39.50.
The Commission approved this advisory opinion by an affirmative vote of 5-0 on September 14, 2007. The advice in this opinion applies only to the specific activity for which the advice was requested.
A copy of the request for this advisory opinion is available upon request at the Alaska Public Offices Commission: 907-276-4176.