Administer Alaska's disclosure statutes and publish financial information regarding the activities of election campaigns, public officials, lobbyists and lobbyist employers.
- Interpret the disclosure laws and assist persons in complying, conduct training seminars, provide reporting forms and manuals of instruction for candidates, groups, lobbyists, and public officials.
- Enforce the disclosure laws by tracking required reports, assessing civil penalties, and complaint investigation.
- Examine and compare reports for possible violations of disclosure law.
- Publish reports filed by election campaigns, public officials, lobbyists and lobbyist employers.
|Mission Results||Core Services|
|Mission Results||Core Services|
|A: Result - Administer Alaska's disclosure statutes.|
|A1: Core Service - Interpret the disclosure laws and assist persons in complying, conduct training seminars, provide reporting forms and manuals of instruction for candidates, groups, lobbyists, and public officials.|
Target #2: Provide timely advisory opinions.
Opinion Response Time
Analysis of results and challenges: Staff are charged with preparing advisory opinions within seven days of receiving a request for formal guidance. Providing thorough timely responses to advisory opinion requests within the mandated timeline will always be a challenge. Single straightforward questions require less time than multi-tiered, complex questions which require in-depth research and department of law review. The agency has seen a general decline in requests since 2012, which may be attributable to its education and outreach efforts. Even numbered years typically receive more requests which is most likely attributable to the increased activity that surrounds statewide elections. 2019 data is through September 30.
|A2: Core Service - Enforce the disclosure laws by tracking required reports, assessing civil penalties, and complaint investigation.|
Target #1: Notify delinquent filers, assess civil penalties for late-filed reports; assist filers through appeal process.
Analysis of results and challenges: APOC enforces the statutes and regulations that require timely filing of financial reports. Late-filed reports incur civil penalties which staff is responsible for assessing. Filers can either pay the assessed penalty or they may appeal the assessment to the Commission. Filers who do not pay or appeal their civil penalty are referred to the Attorney General’s Office. In even calendar years, when activity includes municipal and statewide elections, reportable activities peak and the increased activity generally generates more penalty assessments. Additionally, in 2014 staff began cross-checking ballot group reports to ensure a corresponding statement of contribution had been filed by the contributor. It became evident that many contributors were unaware of the requirement which resulted in a rise in civil penalty assessments. APOC has since made targeted efforts to educate ballot groups and raise awareness of this requirement.
The agency has also adopted new regulations which allow for reduction the maximum penalty in staff’s initial assessment up to a complete waiver for many of these first-time violations. In instances where mitigating factors may be applicable, filers are encouraged to appeal their assessed penalties. This allows staff to recommend the Commission further reduce, or in certain instances, waive a civil penalty based on standard criteria codified in regulation. 2019 data is through September 30.
Target #2: Complete complaint investigations within applicable timelines.
Analysis of results and challenges: APOC staff must determine whether a complaint can be accepted based on specific criteria within one day of receipt. If accepted, staff must complete an investigation and issue its report within 30 days. This abbreviated timeline can be challenging to meet when complaints involve voluminous records, complex issues, or multiple parties. A party may also request expedited consideration of a complaint. A request for expedited consideration must be considered by the Commission within two days. If the Commission determines the complaint warrants expedited consideration, a hearing on the complaint must then be held within 2 days. Unlike a regular complaint, APOC staff is not a party in an expedited complaint, and the party that requests expedited consideration bears the burden of proof. 2019 data is through September 30.
Election years that see controversial ballot measures or contentious races lead to more complaints filed. This can be attributed to the increased publicity surrounding these measures or races, as well as the increased financial activity that occurs when there are staunch supporters from both sides.
APOC staff continues to prioritize training, auditing, and direct service to the public in its effort to provide more transparency, but to also curtail violations and civil penalties. Training efforts combined with service to the public and auditing reports has facilitated more consistent filing and has also resulted in less complaints.
|A3: Core Service - Examine and compare reports for possible violations of disclosure law.|
Target #1: Conduct audits of reports submitted under AS 15.13, AS 3.950, AS 24.60, and AS 24.45.
Analysis of results and challenges: In light of budget reductions and the associated loss of personnel APOC is unable to comprehensively audit every report it receives. Instead, staff conducts limited audits of daily filings to identify major deficiencies. Auditing for each area of law is unique and certain types of reports take more time than others. Specifically, campaign disclosure reports require a review and cross-check of transaction data to ensure compliance. Depending on the type and size of the campaign, this can range from a few to thousands of entries. Staff will endeavor to fully audit reports as time allows, but given the current staffing level, comprehensive auditing of all reports is unrealistic. 2019 data is through September 30.
|B: Result - Publish financial information regarding the activities of election campaigns, public officials, lobbyists and lobbyist employers.|
|B1: Core Service - Publish reports filed by election campaigns, public officials, lobbyists and lobbyist employers.|
Target #1: Ensure reports and data filed with APOC is available and accessible to the public.
Number of Public Records Request
Analysis of results and challenges: The vast majority of reports are filed electronically and are accessible to the public online which has resulted in less burdensome public records requests. In consideration of the potential chilling effect on membership of volunteer Boards and Commissions, difficulty in recruiting appointed members of the executive branch, and matters of security for judicial officers the Commission does not publish all public official financial disclosure (POFD) statements online. They are, however, still public records and have been the subject of the majority of the agency’s public records requests followed by historical campaign disclosure (CD) information. 2019 data is through September 30.
Current as of November 26, 2019