State of Alaska

Department of Administration

Alaska Public Offices Commission

Alaska Department of Administration, Alaska Public Offices Commission

History

The Alaska Public Offices Commission started as the Alaska Election Campaign Commission (AECC) in 1974. The impetus for campaign disclosure resulting from the Watergate scandal, and a successful citizen initiative effort convinced the state legislature to pass AS 15.13  Alaska Campaign Disclosure Law.

That same year, another initiative effort succeeded in placing AS 39.50, Alaska’s Conflict of Interest Law, on the ballot. The measure was approved by over 60% of the voters and became law in January 1975.  In 1999, the title of AS 39.50 was changed from Conflict of Interest to Public Official Financial Disclosure.

In 1976, the legislature revised state lobbying reporting by passing AS 24.45, Alaska's Lobbying Law. Responsibility for its enforcement was assigned to the AECC, which was renamed the APOC to reflect its expanded mission.

In 1992, the legislature responded to an increased demand for ethics regulation and disclosure by expanding its previous reporting requirements under the Conflict of Interest Law in the form of a new act, AS 24.60 (Legislative Financial Disclosure), Alaska's Legislative Ethics Disclosure Law.  As before, legislators report financial disclosure to APOC, ethics violations, however, are adjudicated before the Select Committee on Legislative Ethics.

In 1996, the legislature responded to a new citizen initiative effort and revised Alaska's 20 year-old campaign disclosure law to include stricter limitation and disclosure measures, including the prohibition of corporate and out-of-state group contributions to state and local candidates. The changes took effect on January 1, 1997.

In 2003 substantial changes were made through the enactment of SB 119 which authorized the APOC to issue advisory opinions; amended reporting requirements, campaign contributions, complaint procedures, and definitions; and added the electronic filing language, “Upon request of the commission, information required under this section shall be submitted electronically.”

In 2007 the Comprehensive Ethics Reform Act (HB 109) was passed and financial disclosure requirements were expanded for the APOC financial disclosure laws (15.13, 24.45, and 39.50), the Legislative Ethics Law (24.60), and the Alaska Executive Branch Ethics Act (39.52).    

In 2008 three other bills related to ethics, gifts, record keeping, and campaign fund raising were passed. (HB 281, HB 305, and HB 368)

In 2009 APOC was reorganized to model a law office, converting staff to Associate Attorneys, Paralegals, and Law Office Assistants, in order to capitalize on efficiencies in delegation and allow for more upward mobility within the agency.

In 2010, in response to the U.S. Supreme Court decision, Citizens United v. FEC that recognized corporations and Labor Unions as “persons” and made it legal for them to make independent expenditures in elections, SB 284 was passed and became law on June 2, 2010.  Also passed in 2010 was HB 36 which added reporting requirements related to ballot initiative proposal applications and to ballot initiatives.