Municipalities and Public Funds
- May a municipality use money to support or oppose a candidate?
- May a municipality use money to support or oppose a ballot proposition?
- How may a municipality spend public funds if no money has been specifically appropriated?
- What are the reporting requirements if a Municipality spends public funds?
- If the municipality limits its activity to publishing notices of the election are there reporting requirements?
- What type of Identifier must the communications have?
No. Municipalities, school districts, and regional educational attendance areas (REAA), or another political subdivision of the state as well as an officer or employee of the above entities may not use municipal funds to influence the outcome of the election of a candidate to state or municipal office.
The state, its agencies, its corporations and the University of Alaska and its Board of Regents are also prohibited from spending state funds to influence the outcome of an election of a candidate to state or municipal office. Please see AS 15.13.145(a).
Yes. A municipality may use public funds to influence the outcome of an election concerning a ballot proposition or question, but only if the funds have been specifically appropriated. Please see AS 15.13.145(b) & 2 AAC 50.356(a).
Money held by a municipality may be used to:
- disseminate information about the date and time and place of an election and to hold an election,
- and to provide the public with nonpartisan information about a ballot proposition or question or about all the candidates seeking election to a particular office. Please see AS 15.13.145(c).
Information is nonpartisan if it does not advocate a position in an election. Nonpartisan information includes the official language of a ballot question, a neutral ballot summary, or if provided for all candidates seeking a particular office, the candidates’ names, contact information, or statements. Please see 2 AAC 50.356 (c).
When a municipality spends appropriated funds to influence an election the expenditure must be reported to the Commission in the same manner as an individual is required to report. Please see AS 15.13.145(d).
Depending on the activity the municipality undertakes to influence the outcome of an election, it must file a “Statement of Contributions” (Form 15-5) or a “Statement of Independent Expenditures” (Form 15-6) pursuant to AS 15.13.040 and AS 15.13.110.
If the municipality limits its activity to publishing notices of the election are there reporting requirements?
No. Only expenditures intended to influence the outcome of an election (including nonpartisan materials) must be reported to the APOC. Please see 2 AAC 50.356.
All communications intended to influence the outcome of an election must have a “Paid for by” Identifier (Notices of the election do not need an identifier). The words “Paid for by” must appear followed by the name of the municipality and address. A contact person’s name is recommended. Please see AS 15.13.090.
In addition, by administrative regulation all communications which are paid for by a municipality and which are related to an election are considered to be intended to influence the outcome of an election, unless they are only notices of the election or are required by statute, charter or ordinance. Please see 2 AAC 50.356.