Requested by: Bob Bailey
Prepared by: Jenifer Kohout, Assistant Director
Date issued: June 3, 1999
Subject:Post-Election Fundraising Time Limits
This opinion clarifies how long after a municipal election, a candidate may have to raise funds.
Because you were a candidate in the 1999 Anchorage Municipal election which took place on April 20, 1999, eight days before the effective date of the Alaska Supreme Court’s opinion in State v. Alaska Civil Liberties Union, you could accept campaign contributions until June 19, 1999, 60 days after the 1999 Anchorage municipal election.
Under the law in effect on April 20, 1999, Anchorage municipal candidates had until 60 days after the election to receive campaign contributions. AS 15.13.074(c)(4). The 60 day post-election time limit was the result of a legislative amendment to AS 15.13.074(c)(4) in 1998 which extended the original 45 day limit established in the campaign finance reform legislation of 1996.
It appears, however, that the decision of the Alaska Supreme Court in State v. ACLU may have changed that date. In the decision, the Court invalidated the pre-election time limits in section 074(c). That invalidation triggered the contingent provision created by the legislature in the 1996 campaign finance reforms for contribution time limits. Those contingent time limits extend the pre-election limit to 18 months. They also contain the old post-election time limit of 45 days.
In the 1999 Anchorage Municipal election, you were a candidate for assembly. Upon registering, Commission staff provided you with materials to assist you in complying with the campaign disclosure law. Generally, staff provides candidates with a copy of the statute, the manual, and a copy of the Frequently Asked Questions. These materials are also available on the Commission’s web site for candidates who have access to the internet. When you registered, all of those materials indicated that candidates for office had until 60 days after the election or December 31, whichever came first, to fundraise.
The Commission believes that all candidates in the 1999 Anchorage Municipal election should have had until June 19, 1999, 60 days after the election, to complete their fundraising. The Commission bases this conclusion on the fact the Alaska Supreme Court’s decision did not take effect until after the Anchorage Municipal election. In addition, fairness dictates that Anchorage municipal candidates be permitted the longer time period since they may have relied on the existing time periods in planning their campaigns.
The Supreme Court’s opinion did not affect the deadline for disbursing surplus campaign funds. As a result, you had until July 19, 1999, 90 days after the election, to disburse any campaign surplus consistent with AS 15.13.116.
Because you were a candidate in the 1999 Anchorage Municipal election and the decision in State v. ACLU was not effective until after that election, you had until June 19, 1999, to complete your post-election fundraising.
The Commission approved the advice in this letter by an affirmative vote of the Commission on June 24, 1999. 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.