HB 95: "An Act relating to elections and election investigations."
00 HOUSE BILL NO. 95 01 "An Act relating to elections and election investigations." 02 BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF ALASKA: 03 * Section 1. AS 15.56 is amended by adding a new section to read: 04 Sec. 15.56.140. Civil enforcement of election laws. (a) A person may file 05 with the division a written complaint alleging that a violation of an election law or rule 06 adopted under this title has occurred, the factual basis for the allegation, and any 07 related evidence. A complaint filed under this section must be filed within 30 days 08 after the election at which a violation of an election law or rule is alleged to have 09 occurred or within 30 days after the date of the violation of an election law or rule is 10 alleged to have occurred, whichever is later. 11 (b) If a complaint alleges a violation of AS 15.13 or a regulation adopted 12 under the authority of AS 15.13, the division shall refer the complaint to the Alaska 13 Public Offices Commission. For all other complaints filed under (a) of this section, the 14 division may refer the complaint to the attorney general. If the complaint is 15 incomplete, determined by the division to be frivolous, or the allegations in the
01 complaint, if true, do not constitute a violation, the division may request additional 02 information or dismiss the complaint. 03 (c) Excluding an alleged violation of a provision of AS 15.13 or a regulation 04 adopted under AS 15.13, the attorney general may investigate an allegation of a 05 violation of a provision of this title 06 (1) upon receipt of a complaint referred by the division; 07 (2) identified by the director; or 08 (3) upon the attorney general's own motion. 09 (d) In conducting an investigation under this section, the attorney general may 10 issue subpoenas or subpoena duces tecum to compel the attendance of witnesses and 11 the production of books, records, documents, and other tangible goods. Subpoenas 12 may be issued and shall be served in the manner prescribed by AS 44.62.430 and court 13 rule. Failure, refusal, or neglect to obey a subpoena is punishable as contempt in the 14 manner prescribed by law or court rule. The superior court may compel obedience to 15 the attorney general's subpoena in the same manner as prescribed for obedience to a 16 subpoena issued by the court. The attorney general may also 17 (1) administer oaths and hold hearings in conducting an investigation 18 under this section; 19 (2) require a witness to respond to written interrogatories under oath; 20 and 21 (3) examine and make true copies of books, records, documents, and 22 other papers examined under this subsection. 23 (e) Subject to (f) of this section, a record of an investigation or intelligence 24 information of the attorney general obtained under this section is not a public record 25 under AS 40.25.100 - 40.25.295, except that the attorney general is not prevented from 26 issuing a public statement describing or warning of a course of conduct that constitutes 27 or will constitute a violation, whether on a local, state, regional, or national basis. 28 (f) At the conclusion of an investigation under this section, the attorney 29 general shall inform the division of the result of the investigation and may submit to 30 the division a report of the investigation. If the attorney general investigation 31 determines that a complaint against a state agency or state employee is meritorious,
01 the division shall make a reasonable effort to work with the agency or employee to 02 take corrective action. Investigation or intelligence information obtained over the 03 course of the investigation remain confidential under (e) of this section unless 04 submitted to the court as part of a civil action under (g) of this section or used by the 05 division as the basis for a course of action. 06 (g) If, after an investigation, the attorney general has reason to believe that a 07 person has engaged, is engaging, or is about to engage in an act or practice in violation 08 of a provision of this title, excluding AS 15.13, the attorney general may bring a civil 09 action for injunctive relief to compel compliance with the provisions of this title. 10 (h) In an action brought under (g) of this section, 11 (1) if the court finds that a person has engaged, is engaging, or is about 12 to engage in an act or practice in violation of a provision of this title, excluding 13 AS 15.13, the attorney general may, upon petition to the court, recover on behalf of 14 the state a civil penalty of up to $25,000 for each violation; 15 (2) if the attorney general prevails, the court may award the state actual 16 attorney fees and costs, including the cost of an investigation, to the extent those fees 17 and costs are reasonable. 18 (i) The director may adopt regulations to implement this section, including 19 regulations creating a process for a person to file a written complaint. 20 (j) The attorney general may adopt regulations to implement this section. 21 (k) Nothing in this section prevents a complainant from filing an action in 22 court. 23 (l) In this section, 24 (1) "frivolous" means 25 (A) not reasonably based on evidence or on existing law or a 26 reasonable extension, modification, or reversal of existing law; or 27 (B) brought to harass the subject of the complaint or to cause 28 unnecessary delay or needless expense; 29 (2) "state agency" 30 (A) means 31 (i) a department, division, office,
01 (ii) a state board, commission, public corporation, or 02 other organizational unit of or created under the executive branch of the 03 state government, and the University of Alaska, to the extent that these 04 locations serve as a polling place under AS 15.15.060; 05 (B) does not include an agency of the legislative or judicial 06 branch of state government; 07 (3) "state employee" includes a permanent employee, emergency 08 employee, nonpermanent employee, or a program or project employee as defined in 09 AS 39.25.200; "state employee" does not include a person hired by the state to work as 10 an independent contractor or a person who is in the custody of the state.