Legislature(2019 - 2020)SENATE FINANCE 532

01/29/2019 03:00 PM JUDICIARY

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03:02:35 PM Start
03:03:44 PM Confirmation Hearing
04:50:36 PM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
-- Please Note Time & Location Change --
- Joint with Senate State Affairs -
+ Consideration of Governor's Appointees: TELECONFERENCED
Attorney General-Designee Kevin Clarkson,
Department of Law
-- Public Testimony <Time Limit May Be Set> --
                    ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE                                                                                  
                         JOINT MEETING                                                                                        
              SENATE JUDICIARY STANDING COMMITTEE                                                                             
            SENATE STATE AFFAIRS STANDING COMMITTEE                                                                           
                        January 29, 2019                                                                                        
                           3:02 p.m.                                                                                            
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
SENATE JUDICIARY                                                                                                                
 Senator Shelley Hughes, Chair                                                                                                  
 Senator Lora Reinbold, Vice Chair                                                                                              
 Senator Mike Shower                                                                                                            
 Senator Peter Micciche                                                                                                         
 Senator Jesse Kiehl                                                                                                            
SENATE STATE AFFAIRS                                                                                                            
 Senator Mike Shower, Chair                                                                                                     
 Senator John Coghill, Vice Chair                                                                                               
 Senator Lora Reinbold                                                                                                          
 Senator Peter Micciche                                                                                                         
 Senator Scott Kawasaki                                                                                                         
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
SENATE JUDICIARY                                                                                                                
 All members present                                                                                                            
SENATE STATE AFFAIRS                                                                                                            
 All members present                                                                                                            
OTHER LEGISLATORS PRESENT                                                                                                     
Senator Chris Birch                                                                                                             
Representative David Eastman                                                                                                    
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                                                                            
CONFIRMATION HEARING(S):                                                                                                        
Attorney General of the State of Alaska                                                                                       
Kevin Clarkson - Anchorage                                                                                                      
     - CONFIRMATION ADVANCED                                                                                                    
PREVIOUS COMMITTEE ACTION                                                                                                     
No previous action to record                                                                                                    
WITNESS REGISTER                                                                                                              
KEVIN CLARKSON, Attorney General Designee                                                                                       
Department of Law                                                                                                               
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT: Testified as appointee to the position of                                                                 
Alaska Attorney General.                                                                                                        
ALYSON CURREY, Representative                                                                                                   
Planned Parenthood                                                                                                              
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in opposition to the confirmation                                                               
of Kevin Clarkson as Alaska Attorney General.                                                                                   
BESSE ODAM, representing herself                                                                                                
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT: Testified during the confirmation hearing                                                                 
for Kevin Clarkson as Alaska Attorney General.                                                                                  
JERRY ALDERMAN, representing himself                                                                                            
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in opposition to the appointment                                                                
of Kevin Clarkson as Alaska Attorney General.                                                                                   
DIANE PENDERGRAST, representing herself                                                                                         
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT Testified in opposition to the confirmation                                                                
of Kevin Clarkson as Alaska Attorney General.                                                                                   
ZHENIA C. PETERSON, representing self                                                                                           
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in opposition to the confirmation                                                               
of Kevin Clarkson as Alaska Attorney General.                                                                                   
JEFF FELDMAN, Attorney; Professor                                                                                               
University of Washington Law School                                                                                             
Seattle, Alaska                                                                                                                 
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of  the confirmation of                                                             
Kevin Clarkson as Alaska Attorney General.                                                                                      
JOHN THORSNESS, Attorney                                                                                                        
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of  the confirmation of                                                             
Kevin Clarkson as Alaska Attorney General.                                                                                      
VALANNE GLOOSCHENKO, representing self                                                                                          
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in opposition to  the confirmation                                                             
of Kevin Clarkson as Alaska Attorney General.                                                                                   
MATT PETERSON, Attorney                                                                                                         
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of  the confirmation of                                                             
Kevin Clarkson as Alaska Attorney General.                                                                                      
DEBORAH TENNYSON, representing herself                                                                                          
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in  opposition to  the appointment                                                             
of Kevin Clarkson as Alaska Attorney General.                                                                                   
LOREN LEMAN, Professional Engineer, representing himself                                                                        
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of  the confirmation of                                                             
Kevin Clarkson as Alaska Attorney General.                                                                                      
ROBIN BRENA, Attorney; Owner                                                                                                    
Brena Bell, & Clarkson                                                                                                          
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of  the confirmation of                                                             
Kevin Clarkson as Alaska Attorney General.                                                                                      
MIKE GERAGHTY, representing himself                                                                                             
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of  the confirmation of                                                             
Kevin Clarkson as Alaska Attorney General.                                                                                      
ERIC SANDERS, Attorney                                                                                                          
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified favorably for the  confirmation of                                                             
Kevin Clarkson as Alaska Attorney General.                                                                                      
ROBIN SMITH, representing herself                                                                                               
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of  the confirmation of                                                             
Kevin Clarkson as Alaska Attorney General.                                                                                      
MIKE COONS, President                                                                                                           
Greater  Alaska Chapter  of the  Association  of Mature  American                                                               
Palmer, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of  the confirmation of                                                             
Kevin Clarkson as Alaska Attorney General.                                                                                      
JUDY ELEDGE, representing herself                                                                                               
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of  the confirmation of                                                             
Kevin Clarkson as Alaska Attorney General.                                                                                      
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                                                                              
3:02:35 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  SHELLEY HUGHES  called  the joint  meeting  of the  Senate                                                             
Judiciary  Standing  Committee  and   the  Senate  State  Affairs                                                               
Standing Committee to  order at 3:02 p.m. Present at  the call to                                                               
order were Senators Kiehl, Micciche,  Reinbold, Shower, and Chair                                                               
Hughes from the Senate Judiciary  Standing Committee and Senators                                                               
Coghill, Micciche,  Kawasaki, Reinbold and Chair  Shower from the                                                               
Senate State Affairs Committee.                                                                                                 
^CONFIRMATION HEARING                                                                                                           
                      CONFIRMATION HEARING                                                                                  
               Attorney General, State of Alaska                                                                            
3:03:44 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR HUGHES stated that the  business before the committee would                                                               
be  the  confirmation  hearing for  Kevin  Clarkson  as  Attorney                                                               
General,  State of  Alaska. She  provided the  website to  submit                                                               
written comments to senate.judiciary@akleg.gov.                                                                                 
3:04:45 PM                                                                                                                    
KEVIN  CLARKSON, Attorney  General Designee,  Department of  Law,                                                               
State of  Alaska provided his  personal history. He was  born and                                                               
raised in Oregon where he  attended law school. He speaks Spanish                                                               
and his father was a state  policeman. He is married and has four                                                               
children, two  children who  reside in  Alaska, and  two children                                                               
who reside  in the Lower  48. One of  his children serves  in the                                                               
3:08:59 PM                                                                                                                    
ATTORNEY   GENERAL  DESIGNEE   CLARKSON   turned   to  his   work                                                               
experience. He  first worked  for the Perkins  Coie law  firm and                                                               
has worked  for only  two law  firms during  his career.  He felt                                                               
this demonstrates his loyalty. He  has handled a wide variety and                                                               
array  of legal  issues with  about  10 percent  of his  practice                                                               
related to controversial matters in his 34 years of practice.                                                                   
3:10:44 PM                                                                                                                    
ATTORNEY  GENERAL  DESIGNEE  CLARKSON  said  he  has  represented                                                               
clients  ranging  from  individuals to  Native  corporations  and                                                               
legislators. He  has also represented the  Alaska Bar Association                                                               
and  has   presented  cases  before  federal   and  state  courts                                                               
throughout Alaska,  from Southeast communities to  Barrow. He has                                                               
litigated  cases  related  to  tax  issues,  employment  matters,                                                               
commercial    entities,    construction   issues,    professional                                                               
liability,  business dissolutions  and partnerships,  as well  as                                                               
cases  related to  oil and  gas matters.  He has  handled complex                                                               
criminal cases, including racketeering.                                                                                         
ATTORNEY GENERAL DESIGNEE CLARKSON said  he did not seek out this                                                               
position and instead  the governor came to his  home during which                                                               
time  Governor  Dunleavy  outlined  his goals  and  positions  on                                                               
issues, including his vision on law enforcement.                                                                                
3:15:25 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR HUGHES asked  him to explain the Department  of Law's (DOL)                                                               
mission per  AS 44.23.020  and his priorities.  She asked  him to                                                               
address his sense of the  public's perception on various criminal                                                               
cases that had not been prosecuted in the past few years.                                                                       
ATTORNEY  GENERAL  DESIGNEE CLARKSON  stated  that  he views  the                                                               
Department of  Law (DOL) as  a fine-tuned, well  running machine.                                                               
He  said he  did not  believe the  attorney general's  job is  to                                                               
revamp  the department  but to  step  alongside the  department's                                                               
talented civil  and criminal  attorneys and  make sure  they have                                                               
the  tools and  resources  to  do their  jobs  well.  He said  by                                                               
statute the  attorney general's  duties are to  serve as  a legal                                                               
advisor to  the governor and  other state officers,  to represent                                                               
the state  in civil actions  and to defend and  prosecute actions                                                               
to  collect revenue.  He reiterated  his view  that the  attorney                                                               
general serves  as the  primary legal  counsel for  the governor,                                                               
who is  the state's chief  executive officer. He  understands the                                                               
duties and  challenges of performing that  function. With respect                                                               
to  criminal cases  that need  to be  prosecuted, he  opined that                                                               
some  of the  issues may  be  addressed in  the governor's  crime                                                               
package   that  was   recently   rolled  out.   He  related   his                                                               
understanding that  public dissatisfaction  on the  resolution of                                                               
certain  cases exists.  He specifically  mentioned [an  Anchorage                                                               
criminal]  case involving  Justin  Schneider  [related to  felony                                                               
kidnapping and  sexual assault] as  one. He reiterated  that some                                                               
of these  issues will be  addressed with the  governor's proposed                                                               
crime package.                                                                                                                  
3:18:01 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  HUGHES  acknowledged  his  vast experience  in  the  legal                                                               
field. She  noted an  absence of a  criminal law  background. She                                                               
asked him to assure the  public that despite his concentration on                                                               
civil cases  the department will  handle criminal cases in  a way                                                               
that is much needed.                                                                                                            
ATTORNEY GENERAL  DESIGNEE CLARKSON  answered that he  could give                                                               
her that  assurance. He said  that in his legal  experience every                                                               
case is new. He understood  the job will be challenging. However,                                                               
the DOL has a  talented legal team and his job is  not to step in                                                               
and prosecute cases. Although he  has not worked as a prosecutor,                                                               
which he  acknowledged would be  good experience to have,  he did                                                               
not  believe  it  is  a  defining  credential  for  the  attorney                                                               
general.  He suggested  that many  other  attorneys general  have                                                               
been in this  same position. He recapped his belief  that his job                                                               
as attorney general  is to function as a manager,  to ensure that                                                               
the department  prosecutes cases and to  provide adequate funding                                                               
for prosecutors.                                                                                                                
3:20:15 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR KIEHL turned to the  governor's crime package and related                                                               
that many of his constituents  expressed concern about the opioid                                                               
crisis.  He  said the  Board  of  Pharmacy has  recently  advised                                                               
pharmacists who are required to  fill opioid prescriptions. While                                                               
manufacturers  are trying  to rachet  down  their supplies,  many                                                               
pharmacists  find  themselves  in a  difficult  position,  caught                                                               
between  addressing the  opioid crisis  yet still  functioning as                                                               
health  care providers.  He asked  him for  his thoughts  on this                                                               
ATTORNEY GENERAL  DESIGNEE CLARKSON acknowledged  tension between                                                               
legitimate medical  opioid uses and  the pain relief  these drugs                                                               
give patients, as  well as the need to be  conscious of potential                                                               
addictions. He  emphasized the need to  hold opioid manufacturers                                                               
accountable.  He mentioned  a recent  lawsuit  was filed  against                                                               
one.  He summarized  that it  is  a balance  between making  sure                                                               
drugs   are   available   for   legitimate   uses   yet   holding                                                               
manufacturers  responsible  for  the opioid  epidemic  they  have                                                               
foisted upon us  and making sure Alaska is  compensated for costs                                                               
incurred because of the epidemic.                                                                                               
3:22:48 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE EASTMAN joined the meeting.                                                                                      
SENATOR KAWASAKI  thanked Mr. Clarkson  for meeting with  him. He                                                               
turned to  his experience, recalling  that he views  the attorney                                                               
general position  as being a  manager and that he  will prosecute                                                               
the  cases that  need  to  be prosecuted.  He  asked for  further                                                               
clarification on what that decision  tree would look like for him                                                               
as the manager deciding which cases to prosecute.                                                                               
ATTORNEY  GENERAL  DESIGNEE CLARKSON  answered  that  due to  the                                                               
DOL's  criminal  division  structure,  most  decisions  will  not                                                               
filter up to the attorney  general. He described the process. The                                                               
district attorney decides first, but  some cases may filter up to                                                               
the director John  Skidmore, and some cases may filter  up to the                                                               
deputy attorney  general, Rob Henderson.  He envisioned  he would                                                               
prioritize cases and make decisions  on significant policy calls.                                                               
The   criminal  division   will   always   prioritize  cases   by                                                               
prosecuting  violent crime  over other  crimes and  felonies over                                                               
misdemeanors, he said.                                                                                                          
3:24:15 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE KAWASAKI  asked for  further clarification  on the                                                               
decision  chain. He  related  a scenario  in  which the  attorney                                                               
general might find himself in  a circumstance where he would like                                                               
a  prosecutor to  pursue a  case. He  asked for  clarification on                                                               
when  he  would  intervene  in  such  a  case  with  overwhelming                                                               
evidence that may have been overlooked.                                                                                         
ATTORNEY GENERAL  DESIGNEE CLARKSON  answered that if  a district                                                               
attorney or deputy director in  the criminal division decided not                                                               
to  pursue a  significant  case, he  would try  to  find out  the                                                               
reason. If he disagreed with  the decision, he might overrule it.                                                               
With respect  to sexual assaults,  he emphasized that he  made it                                                               
clear  to Deputy  Attorney General  Rob  Henderson, and  Criminal                                                               
Division  Director John  Skidmore his  desire to  be involved  in                                                               
cases  that they  decided not  to  prosecute or  in plea  bargain                                                               
cases that did not provide full punishment.                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE KAWASAKI  asked whether  this is  a new  policy by                                                               
the administration  or if  this is the  typical process  taken by                                                               
other administrations.                                                                                                          
ATTORNEY  GENERAL  DESIGNEE  CLARKSON   said  he  was  unsure  of                                                               
department policies  made by other  attorneys general or  if this                                                               
is a new  decision. He opined this decision seems  like the right                                                               
one.  He emphasized  that public  concern stems  from significant                                                               
cases  that were  not pursued  so he  wants to  be certain  he is                                                               
engaged before similar  decisions are made, yet he  does not plan                                                               
to  insert  himself in  every  case.  He cannot  micromanage  the                                                               
state's prosecutors;  however, he expressed an  interest in being                                                               
involved  in  significant   cases,  especially  involving  sexual                                                               
3:26:49 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  MICCICHE said  that he  is  pro-life, supports  parental                                                               
rights involving consent, and the  Kenai Peninsula Borough's case                                                               
on its invocation policy. However,  he also represents people who                                                               
do not  support those things.  He opined that he  represents them                                                               
fairly. He asked Mr. Clarkson  how he would reassure Alaskans who                                                               
do not share his personal views  that he will make fair decisions                                                               
on legal matters not based on his own personal philosophy.                                                                      
ATTORNEY  GENERAL  DESIGNEE CLARKSON  said  that  it is  not  the                                                               
attorney general's  job to bring  any personal views to  the job.                                                               
Everyone has  personal views and  it is not  a secret that  he is                                                               
pro-life, he said. His job as  attorney general is to respect the                                                               
law, which he does, and  to advise the governor, departments, and                                                               
sometimes the legislature on the law,  he said. The law in Alaska                                                               
[related  to  abortion]  is  based  on  a  1997  Valley  Hospital                                                               
decision  that  concluded  that  the  right  to  an  abortion  is                                                               
protected   by  the   Alaska  Constitution   under  its   privacy                                                               
provision. He  said it  does not  matter if he  likes the  law or                                                               
what  he wants  the law  to read,  that once  the court  rules it                                                               
becomes  law,  unless the  court  decides  to change  it.  Still,                                                               
attorneys advise  clients on the  law and he has  participated in                                                               
cases  during the  time Alaska's  [abortion]  law was  developed,                                                               
advocating for  his clients. He said  has a deep respect  for the                                                               
judiciary and for the rule of law.                                                                                              
3:29:30 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR REINBOLD offered her belief  that his confirmation is one                                                               
of  the most  important  in the  state.  Alaska experienced  high                                                               
crime  statistics  and  problems with  sexual  assault,  domestic                                                               
violence and  drug problems prior  to passage of Senate  Bill 91.                                                               
She offered  her belief  that passage of  two bills,  Senate Bill                                                               
64, which  related to bail, and  Senate Bill 91, the  crime bill,                                                               
has contributed to increased crime  due to lowered penalties. She                                                               
listed  other  factors,  including   the  recession,  the  opioid                                                               
epidemic, and  the legalization of  marijuana in Alaska  and many                                                               
other things that  have also contributed to  increased crime. She                                                               
said that Alaska is considered to  be the most dangerous state in                                                               
the nation  according to some  statistics. She found  the Uniform                                                               
Crime [Reporting]  Statistics (UCR) to be  "absolutely alarming."                                                               
She said the sole responsibility  falls on the state to prosecute                                                               
crime since Alaskans cannot do  so themselves. Many people do not                                                               
believe the emphasis  is on victim justice, rather that  it is on                                                               
criminal  justice.   She  recalled  crime  statistics   on  cases                                                               
reported in  a legislative hearing  that a significant  number of                                                               
criminal   cases  are   dismissed,  such   that  43   percent  of                                                               
misdemeanors and 37 percent of  felonies are dismissed. She asked                                                               
why so many cases are dismissed.                                                                                                
ATTORNEY GENERAL  DESIGNEE CLARKSON  responded she  was reporting                                                               
historical  statistics that  predate his  tenure. He  offered his                                                               
belief that some cases are  dismissed by prosecutorial discretion                                                               
and misdemeanors consist of a  whole range of crimes. Other cases                                                               
are disposed  of due to the  lack of evidence necessary  to prove                                                               
them. He  acknowledged that  while resources  can be  scarce, the                                                               
governor's emphasis and priority is  public safety so he believes                                                               
some problems may be alleviated as a result.                                                                                    
3:32:16 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR REINBOLD  said she asked  to serve on the  Senate Finance                                                               
subcommittee for the DOL to follow  through and find out why this                                                               
is  happening.  She related  people  in  her district  identified                                                               
their number priority is to  feel safe in their schools, shopping                                                               
malls and  homes. She asked  him to  identify the team  that will                                                               
bring public safety back so Alaskans will feel safe.                                                                            
ATTORNEY GENERAL  DESIGNEE CLARKSON  said first and  foremost the                                                               
"buck stops  here." The attorney  general is responsible  to make                                                               
sure that  prosecutors perform  well, and  to ensure  that crimes                                                               
are prosecuted  timely, he said.  He expressed confidence  in the                                                               
Department of Law  and that his staff will  follow his direction.                                                               
He understands  the governor's  priorities and  is fully  in line                                                               
with the  governor's priority to  provide public safety.  He grew                                                               
up  in  a   law  enforcement  family,  so   he  understands  that                                                               
perspective. He  assured her he  will be  the guy that  will make                                                               
sure those things will happen.                                                                                                  
3:34:13 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR SHOWER, speaking  on behalf of someone who  chose to remain                                                               
anonymous, asked in cases with  overwhelming evidence of a felony                                                               
crime, if  he will  prosecute all  offenders of  crimes committed                                                               
before   his  appointment   that  are   within  the   statute  of                                                               
limitations. He  explained that he did  not wish to get  into the                                                               
specifics,  but broad  changes to  criminal law  occurred in  the                                                               
last few  years that could  be viewed as  soft on crime  and some                                                               
crimes were not prosecuted.                                                                                                     
ATTORNEY  GENERAL  DESIGNEE CLARKSON  answered  yes.  He said  he                                                               
understands the  question is if  cases had  overwhelming evidence                                                               
of  a felony  crime  that  they should  be  prosecuted. While  he                                                               
recognized that each case and  situation is different, he assured                                                               
him he  would do so  given sufficient  resources. He said  he has                                                               
only  been   attorney  general  designee   for  two   months.  He                                                               
recognized that the DOL must  prioritize its scarce resources, so                                                               
he was  unsure of how that  would play out. He  explained how the                                                               
criminal  division prioritizes  its  cases,  that violent  crimes                                                               
have priority over other crimes,  and felonies have priority over                                                               
SENATOR SHOWER offered his belief  that the budget battle will be                                                               
contentious, but  the governor's priorities are  public safety so                                                               
increased funding may go towards  public safety even as the state                                                               
works  to reduce  government spending.  He asked  whether he  has                                                               
sufficient resources  to do  his job and  if not,  what resources                                                               
does he think he  needs and areas to prioritize so  he can do the                                                               
job he is being tasked to do.                                                                                                   
ATTORNEY GENERAL  DESIGNEE CLARKSON  answered yes;  however, when                                                               
he reviewed  the budget cuts  the criminal division  has suffered                                                               
over the last  four years, he thought the DOL  has some ground to                                                               
catch up. He cautioned that he does  not wish to get ahead of the                                                               
governor since he  will be rolling out his budget  bills soon. He                                                               
offered his willingness to hold  further discussions at that time                                                               
when he has more information.                                                                                                   
3:37:18 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR HUGHES said  some states have an  elected attorney general,                                                               
that some  concern has been  expressed that attorneys  general in                                                               
past  administrations have  acted as  an attorney  solely to  the                                                               
governor.  While  Alaska  Statutes  [AS  44.23.020]  outline  the                                                               
attorney general's  duty to  serve as the  legal advisor  for the                                                               
governor  and other  state officers,  the statutes  also indicate                                                               
other  duties, including  responsiveness  to  the legislature,  a                                                               
duty to act in the public  interest when participating as a party                                                               
in  a  matter that  comes  before  the Regulatory  Commission  of                                                               
Alaska and to  prosecute crimes, which infers  an additional duty                                                               
to the  public at large.  She asked him  to discuss how  he views                                                               
his  role  and  the  balance   between  serving  the  public  and                                                               
representing the governor.                                                                                                      
ATTORNEY  GENERAL DESIGNEE  CLARKSON  replied  that the  attorney                                                               
general's client  is the State  of Alaska  and the office  of the                                                               
governor,  not  the  governor personally,  and  through  Alaska's                                                               
elected representatives  the people  of Alaska. The  delegates to                                                               
Alaska's   Constitutional   Convention  overwhelmingly   rejected                                                               
establishing  an  attorney  general by  [Alaska's]  Constitution,                                                               
which  was thoroughly  debated, he  said. The  delegates saw  how                                                               
constitutions   were  structured   and  attorneys   general  were                                                               
created. They chose a structure  in which the attorney general is                                                               
not created  by the [Alaska  Constitution] but left it  for later                                                               
legislatures to decide, so statutes  create the attorney general.                                                               
He  referred   to  Article   III,  Section   24  of   the  Alaska                                                               
Constitution,  "Each  principal  department shall  be  under  the                                                               
supervision of the governor," which  includes the DOL. He offered                                                               
his belief  that this means,  like any other commissioner,  he is                                                               
appointed  by the  governor, confirmed  by  the legislature,  and                                                               
serves  at the  pleasure  of  the governor.  He  opined that  the                                                               
delegates to  Alaska's Constitutional Convention wanted  a strong                                                               
executive branch and placed strong  executive power in the office                                                               
of  the  governor.  He  offered his  belief  delegates  may  have                                                               
reacted to  what they viewed  as a weak territorial  governor. He                                                               
said delegate,  [George} McLaughlin was vehemently  opposed to an                                                               
independently-elected attorney general. He  quoted him as saying,                                                               
"I am violently opposed to  the election of the attorney general.                                                               
I don't think  the election of him accomplishes  any purpose. You                                                               
are putting a diverse and  possibly a discordant element into the                                                               
executive branch. It isn't necessary."  He said delegates did not                                                               
want an attorney  general who was so independent  that the person                                                               
would create discord within the executive branch.                                                                               
ATTORNEY  GENERAL  DESIGNEE  CLARKSON stated  that  the  attorney                                                               
general's job  is to advise  the governor  and the office  of the                                                               
governor on the  law, so the governor can  make policy decisions.                                                               
His job  is to provide the  governor with his best  legal advice,                                                               
not to  put a stop to  the governor or the  legislature if either                                                               
decides  to run  ultra vires  of what  the constitution  requires                                                               
since that is the role of the judiciary, he said.                                                                               
3:41:51 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR HUGHES  said a number  of federal lands cases  are pending,                                                               
that the  attorney general  can pursue  these cases  to different                                                               
degrees, so to speak to his plans for the cases.                                                                                
ATTORNEY  GENERAL DESIGNEE  CLARKSON  said the  DOL is  anxiously                                                               
awaiting  a  U.S. Supreme  Court  decision  in the  Sturgeon  [v.                                                               
Frost]  case,  which  will  provide  insight  going  forward.  He                                                               
suggested that it  would be premature to outline a  plan prior to                                                               
the ruling; however, that decision  will impact issues related to                                                               
how  land  and  resources  are  managed  and  controlled,  Indian                                                               
Country, and whether ANSCA [Alaska  Native Claims Settlement Act]                                                               
extinguished  [rights]. Once  issued  the state  will review  the                                                               
decision with  the ultimate goal  being to protect  Alaska's best                                                               
interests and  Alaska's sovereignty. He emphasized  that Alaska's                                                               
statehood compact is important.                                                                                                 
3:43:14 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR HUGHES suggested that after  the ruling, perhaps the matter                                                               
could come before the committee.                                                                                                
3:43:23 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  MICCICHE  asked  for  the  status  of  the  Hope  Center                                                               
litigation, related  to [a  faith-based non-profit  that operates                                                               
as] the Downtown Soup Kitchen.                                                                                                  
ATTORNEY GENERAL  DESIGNEE CLARKSON  described the  case, stating                                                               
that he was the attorney  representing the Downtown Soup Kitchen,                                                               
a shelter  that provides charitable  services to  abused homeless                                                               
women in  Anchorage, including food, showers  and other services.                                                               
A complaint  was filed against  the Downtown Soup Kitchen  by the                                                               
Anchorage  Equal  Rights  Commission,  accusing  the  shelter  of                                                               
discriminating against  a person [by denying  shelter services to                                                               
a transgender  woman]. He  said the  person initially  was turned                                                               
away  because the  person was  inebriated and  had a  facial cut.                                                               
Using personal funds, the executive  director gave the person cab                                                               
fare  to the  hospital for  treatment.  The next  day the  person                                                               
arrived several hours  before the shelter opened at  5:45 p.m. He                                                               
opined there was no discrimination  in violation of the law, that                                                               
the  case is  still ongoing,  but he  is no  longer the  attorney                                                               
involved in the case.                                                                                                           
3:45:27 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  MICCICHE noted  his legal  background  and law  practice                                                               
involved cases in  nearly every area of law  except statutory and                                                               
criminal law.  He asked him to  explain to Alaskans how  he would                                                               
close that gap with his absence of criminal law experience.                                                                     
ATTORNEY  GENERAL DESIGNEE  CLARKSON answered  that he  litigated                                                               
six  civil  cases  under the  federal  Racketeer  Influenced  and                                                               
Corrupt Organizations Act, commonly  referred to as the RICO Act.                                                               
The   RICO  Act   creates  civil   and  criminal   liability  for                                                               
individuals who  conduct the appearance  of enterprise  through a                                                               
pattern   of  racketeering   activities,   that   a  pattern   of                                                               
racketeering requires two acts of  racketeering within two years,                                                               
for  crimes  including mail,  wire  and  banking fraud,  bribery,                                                               
extortion, and  other crimes such  as murder and arson.  The RICO                                                               
Act was  designed to  address organized crime  due the  way these                                                               
individuals  conduct their  affairs.  Although  these cases  were                                                               
civil  cases, they  involved proving  criminal offenses.  He does                                                               
have some  degree of experience  involving criminal  offenses and                                                               
gained  familiarity  with  the  process  necessary  to  prosecute                                                               
criminal cases. He shared that  when he encounters something new,                                                               
he studies and learns it, which is  what he has been doing for 34                                                               
years, he said.                                                                                                                 
3:47:12 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR   KIEHL    recalled   that   early   in    the   previous                                                               
administration,  the state  lost  cases related  to tribal  court                                                               
authority. He  said that Alaska is  unique in its tribal  law. He                                                               
recalled  him stating  this area  of  law is  still evolving.  He                                                               
asked for an  assessment of opportunities and  potential risks of                                                               
expanding tribal sovereignty and tribal courts in Alaska.                                                                       
ATTORNEY  GENERAL DESIGNEE  CLARKSON  replied that  in some  ways                                                               
tribal  sovereignty and  tribal courts  are separate  issues. The                                                               
Alaska  Supreme Court  (ASC) has  already recognized  that tribes                                                               
have  inherent authority  to govern  disputes involving  children                                                               
and tribes  have the  right in  Alaska to  be involved  in family                                                               
law, including  child support  and child custody.  He said  it is                                                               
efficient for the state to  engage tribal communities directly in                                                               
prosecuting  criminal  cases.   Civil  diversion  agreements  are                                                               
efficient,  effective,  and  important programs  that  the  state                                                               
should  continue to  use in  these criminal  cases; however,  the                                                               
state  must  protect  the state's  interests  by  ensuring  civil                                                               
diversion  agreements  contain   adequate  waivers  of  sovereign                                                               
3:49:07 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  KIEHL  related  his   understanding  of  Mr.  Clarkson's                                                               
involvement with  the Alliance Defending  Freedom (ADF),  that he                                                               
has made complimentary  statements about them and  their work. He                                                               
said his constituents have expressed  concerned about this, since                                                               
this organization supported  criminal penalties for homosexuality                                                               
in   the   U.S.   and  abroad   and   defended   state-sanctioned                                                               
sterilization of  transgendered people. He asked  him to describe                                                               
his  level  of  continued  involvement and  commitment  to  those                                                               
issues and that group.                                                                                                          
ATTORNEY GENERAL  DESIGNEE CLARKSON  acknowledged he  worked with                                                               
and served  on committees for  the ADF. He  was not aware  of the                                                               
organization's support  of criminal  penalties for  any lifestyle                                                               
choices   an   individual  might   make   or   any  support   for                                                               
sterilization. He  said he would be  shocked if it were  true. He                                                               
characterized  the ADF  as a  charitable non-profit  organization                                                               
and public  interest law firm that  provides legal representation                                                               
to protect  religious liberty, rights-of-conscience,  defend pro-                                                               
life  litigation  and  present  the  pro-life  viewpoint  to  the                                                               
courts. He  characterized it as  a fine organization. He  said he                                                               
previously served  on the  ADF's grant  committee to  raise funds                                                               
for volunteer lawyers.  He recalled the ADF  worked alongside the                                                               
ACLU  [American  Civil  Liberties  Union]  to  protect  a  Juneau                                                               
student's free  speech rights, in  the "Bong Hits 4  Jesus" case.                                                               
He  emphasized protecting  free speech  rights for  all students,                                                               
not  just in  that  case, since  school  districts could  squelch                                                               
student's  free  speech  anytime  it  is  inconsistent  with  its                                                               
educational mission.  He emphasized  that he  and the  ADF firmly                                                               
believe in free speech.                                                                                                         
3:52:32 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  KIEHL specifically  asked for  his position  on the  two                                                               
aforementioned issues.                                                                                                          
ATTORNEY GENERAL DESIGNEE CLARKSON said  he would not support the                                                               
two issues.                                                                                                                     
3:52:54 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  HUGHES   suggested  some   confusion  with   the  Alliance                                                               
Defending  Freedom stems  from the  Southern Poverty  Law Center,                                                               
who condemned  the ADF  as a hate  group; however,  last November                                                               
the Washington  Post reported it was  an inappropriate assignment                                                             
to the group. She  said the ADF is a group  that protects what it                                                               
believes are liberties.                                                                                                         
3:53:23 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  KAWASAKI  referred to  Mr.  Clarkson's  resume, that  in                                                               
1998,  he  assisted  the legislature  in  drafting  the  marriage                                                               
amendment,  arranged testimony,  and represented  the legislature                                                               
on legal  matters. In  2005, he  worked as  an intervener  and as                                                               
counsel in the Defense of  Marriage Coalition, the Oregon Circuit                                                               
Court and the  Oregon Supreme Court on  various same-sex marriage                                                               
constitutional  issues.   In  2007,  under  ACLU   v.  State,  he                                                               
represented  Catholic University  of  America on  a marriage  law                                                               
project to defend the state's  employment benefits program, which                                                               
did  not provide  benefits to  employees who  were in  a same-sex                                                               
marriage. He  asked how he would  counsel the governor if  a bill                                                               
curtailed  those activities.  Alaska has  strong protections  for                                                               
abortion,  he said.  He further  asked how  he would  counsel the                                                               
governor or the  legislature if either wanted to  limit access to                                                               
this medical procedure in Alaska.                                                                                               
ATTORNEY  GENERAL  DESIGNEE  CLARKSON  said he  will  advise  the                                                               
governor  on current  law. Each  of the  cases he  mentioned were                                                               
formative  in developing  Alaska's  law, he  said.  In 1998,  one                                                               
state,  either  Vermont  or  Massachusetts,  recognized  same-sex                                                               
marriage,  but  eventually  38 states,  including  Alaska  passed                                                               
amendments to protect  marriage as being between one  man and one                                                               
woman. He  said, "The law is  the law." The U.S.  Supreme Court's                                                               
Obergefell  decision is  the law  of the  land. That  is what  he                                                               
would advise the  governor on marriage and abortion,  he said. He                                                               
previously  worked  on  parental consent,  parental  notice,  and                                                               
public funding litigation. He recapped  that he respects that law                                                               
and  his  advice as  attorney  general  to  the governor  or  the                                                               
legislature will reflect  current law and not  his personal views                                                               
on these issues.                                                                                                                
3:56:39 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  SHOWER asked  if  he had  plans to  push  back on  federal                                                               
government overreach  since the state has  burdensome regulations                                                               
in its land management plans.                                                                                                   
ATTORNEY  GENERAL  DESIGNEE  CLARKSON  said it  is  important  to                                                               
protect  Alaska's sovereignty  from overreaching  by the  federal                                                               
government  regardless   of  the   agency,  recalling   that  the                                                               
Environmental  Protection Agency  raised  air  quality issues  in                                                               
Fairbanks.   However,  the   state   must   evaluate  each   case                                                               
CHAIR SHOWER related his understanding  that attorneys must argue                                                               
positions for their clients. He  said Mr. Clarkson has made clear                                                               
his  intent  to  follow  the  law,  regardless  of  his  personal                                                               
positions or ideology. He understood  that despite his legal work                                                               
on  behalf  of  clients  and his  personal  positions  on  social                                                               
issues,  he has  every intent  to follow  the law,  that he  will                                                               
advise the governor and govern  his department in accordance with                                                               
current law. He asked him if that is true.                                                                                      
ATTORNEY GENERAL  DESIGNEE CLARKSON  said yes,  that is  true. He                                                               
clarified that the issues for  parental consent, parental notice,                                                               
and abortion were not decided  until his cases were litigated. In                                                               
1997-1998, he  was asked to  represent the Alaska  legislature to                                                               
defend the parental  consent act that the  legislative passed. In                                                               
fact,  the   legislature  overrode  a   veto  to  do   so,  which                                                               
demonstrates  the overwhelming  support  in  the legislature  for                                                               
parental consent,  that about 40  states also  supported parental                                                               
involvement at  the time. As an  attorney, his job was  to defend                                                               
his  client and  their  interest, and  the  legislature was  well                                                               
within the bounds of constitutional  law to pass parental consent                                                               
legislation.  By  1998, the  U.S.  Supreme  Court ruled  in  nine                                                               
separate   cases   that   parental  consent   laws   were   fully                                                               
constitutional  and permissible,  with only  a handful  of states                                                               
ruling them unconstitutional.  He did not think it  would be fair                                                               
to claim  the position he  litigated on  behalf of the  state and                                                               
the  legislature  before the  ASC  was  out  of kilter  with  the                                                               
sentiment  in  the rest  of  U.S.  He lost  that  case  in a  3-2                                                               
decision. He said the ruling stands.                                                                                            
He said  the parental  consent act was  stuck down,  according to                                                               
the ASC,  because it found  a parental  notice law would  be less                                                               
burdensome,  but  an  equally  effective  way  of  advancing  the                                                               
state's  compelling interests  to protect  the health  of minors.                                                               
The ASC expressly  said that the [Alaska]  Constitution permits a                                                               
statutory scheme  to advise and  notify parents to allow  them to                                                               
participate in  their daughter's decision making  with respect to                                                               
abortion and  pregnancy. That constitutes the  legal perspective.                                                               
It is up  to the legislature and the people  to decide whether to                                                               
support  or  pass  another  initiative.   He  said  the  previous                                                               
initiative  passed by  60 percent.  He assured  members that  his                                                               
advice to the governor, the  legislature, and departments will be                                                               
consistent with current law and not his personal view.                                                                          
4:03:22 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR MICCICHE  asked for  clarification on  the status  of the                                                               
discrimination  complaint, recalling  a separate  case was  filed                                                               
against him.                                                                                                                    
ATTORNEY GENERAL DESIGNEE CLARKSON  said that case was dismissed.                                                               
He  explained that  when he  represented the  Hope Center  in the                                                               
discrimination case, he was merely  representing his client, when                                                               
filing  a response  asserting there  had been  no discrimination.                                                               
When a  reporter asked him  to comment  on the case,  he provided                                                               
the legal response and subsequently  a newspaper wrote an article                                                               
based on the legal filing.  The Anchorage Equal Rights Commission                                                               
(AERC)   initially  accused   him   of  committing   an  act   of                                                               
discrimination  because he  expressed  his  client's position  in                                                               
ongoing litigation, but the claim was subsequently dismissed.                                                                   
4:05:28 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  HUGHES  opened  public   testimony  for  the  confirmation                                                               
hearing of Kevin Clarkson as attorney general, State of Alaska.                                                                 
4:06:09 PM                                                                                                                    
ALISON CURRY,  Planned Parenthood,  stated her opposition  to Mr.                                                               
Clarkson  serving as  attorney general  because the  organization                                                               
does  not  trust   that  he  is  qualified   to  uphold  Alaska's                                                               
Constitution. She said that Alaskans  deserve an attorney general                                                               
who will  advocate for  the constitutional  rights of  all people                                                               
and not elevate one group's rights over all others.                                                                             
During  his  legal career,  he  has  elevated religious  freedoms                                                               
above other  basic human  rights and  needs. He  has consistently                                                               
shown  a disregard  for  the reproductive  and  sexual health  of                                                               
Alaskans. He spearheaded unsuccessful  lawsuits that support laws                                                               
to roll back  the right to privacy for some  Alaskans, that anti-                                                               
abortion laws  were correctly deemed  as unconstitutional  by the                                                               
ASC. He  also opposed equal  rights for the LGBTQ  {Lesbian, Gay,                                                               
Bisexual,  Transgender,   Queer)  community,  by   supporting  an                                                               
amendment to  Alaska Constitution to  ban same sex  marriage. She                                                               
noted that  he received  the lowest  rating among  his colleagues                                                               
when  applying for  a  vacant  seat to  the  ASC.  She urged  the                                                               
committee to reject his nomination.                                                                                             
4:08:23 PM                                                                                                                    
BESSE  ODAM,  representing  herself,   stated  that  the  job  of                                                               
attorney general  is no doubt  a tough  one, that issues  must be                                                               
thought  through,  unbiased  and  just for  all.  She  questioned                                                               
whether the  appointee would  be able  to do  so on  tough issues                                                               
because he has been a partisan lawyer, representing anti-                                                                       
abortion and anti-LGBTQ clients.  She encouraged the committee to                                                               
research his record and reconsider this appointment.                                                                            
4:09:54 PM                                                                                                                    
JERRY ALDERMAN,  representing himself, said  it was clear  to him                                                               
that the  appointee's ideology  is to the  right and  those views                                                               
are  fine  in  the  private sector.  He  expressed  concern  that                                                               
ideology should  not be  part of  the decision-making  process or                                                               
policy  process in  the  public sector.  He  said that  decisions                                                               
should  be  based  on facts,  objectivity,  sound  reasoning  and                                                               
expertise. He  offered his  belief that  his ideology  guides his                                                               
decisions. He asked members to reconsider this appointment.                                                                     
4:11:43 PM                                                                                                                    
DIANE PENDERGRAST, representing  herself, testified in opposition                                                               
to the  appointment of  Kevin Clarkson  as attorney  general. She                                                               
expressed concern  that the attorney  general designee  could not                                                               
be  impartial  on  issues  related  to  reproductive  rights  and                                                               
Planned  Parenthood,  which  are  needed  in  Alaska.  She  urged                                                               
members not to support the appointment.                                                                                         
4:13:52 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  HUGHES  said testimony  can  be  submitted in  writing  to                                                               
4:14:09 PM                                                                                                                    
ZHENIA   C.   PETERSON,   representing  herself,   testified   in                                                               
opposition to  Kevin Clarkson as attorney  general. She expressed                                                               
concern  about   his  ideology  and   cases  he   represented  in                                                               
opposition of same sex marriage,  bias against LGBTQ, and against                                                               
reproductive rights.  She said access  to health care  is central                                                               
to her  livelihood. She expressed  concern that he will  not look                                                               
out for  the best interests  of Alaska  and will forward  his own                                                               
personal  agenda.   She  asked   members  to  vote   against  his                                                               
4:15:49 PM                                                                                                                    
JEFF FELDMAN,  Attorney, Professor, University of  Washington Law                                                               
School,  stated that  he has  been a  practicing attorney  for 43                                                               
years, and has served as  president of the Alaska Bar Association                                                               
for 13 years  and as a member and chair  of the Alaska Commission                                                               
on Judicial Conduct.  He has known Mr. Clarkson for  25 years but                                                               
has  primarily encountered  him as  an opponent.  He said  he was                                                               
often  on  opposite  sides  of   high-profile  cases  related  to                                                               
reproductive  freedom,  ballot  initiatives,  and  redistricting.                                                               
While he  does not agree with  him on issues, he  admires him and                                                               
counts  him as  a  valued  friend and  colleague,  as  well as  a                                                               
thoughtful, and  competent lawyer.  He generates  extremely well-                                                               
written and well thought out legal  work and his oral advocacy is                                                               
superb. He cares  deeply about the rule of law  and the tenets of                                                               
the  judiciary.  He found  him  to  treat  members of  the  legal                                                               
community  with  respect and  he  participates  in pro  bono  and                                                               
public  interest matters.  He  acknowledged previous  testifiers'                                                               
concerns. He has taught constitutional  courses for other lawyers                                                               
with Mr.  Clarkson and found  him to  present his positions  in a                                                               
balanced  and fair-minded  way. He  anticipated he  would do  the                                                               
same as  the attorney  general. In closing,  he said  he believes                                                               
Mr. Clarkson is an excellent nominee.                                                                                           
4:19:22 PM                                                                                                                    
JOHN THORSNESS, Attorney, said he  is a lifelong Alaskan, that he                                                               
has been  a lawyer for  35 years and  has known Mr.  Clarkson for                                                               
about 30 years.  He has worked with him and  against him on legal                                                               
cases.  He  said, "He  is  one  of the  finest  men  I know."  He                                                               
commended his  fairness, work ethic,  and his  unfailingly polite                                                               
demeanor  to everyone  in the  legal  community. He  demonstrates                                                               
deep humility, he said. He found him  to be a credit to the legal                                                               
community, his family, himself and  predicted he will be a superb                                                               
attorney  general.  He thanked  members  for  the opportunity  to                                                               
endorse this nomination.                                                                                                        
4:20:49 PM                                                                                                                    
VALANNE  GLOOSCHENKO,  representing  self,  said  that  when  Mr.                                                               
Clarkson applied for  a position on the Alaska  Supreme Court, he                                                               
only scored 2.7 of  5 out of all attorneys who  felt he would not                                                               
be able  to uphold the  Alaska Constitution if he  were appointed                                                               
to the ASC. She felt that  score indicates he is not qualified to                                                               
be attorney general.  She pointed out that he was  involved in an                                                               
issue  to  bar  qualified  sex  educators  from  Alaska's  public                                                               
schools despite overwhelming support.                                                                                           
4:22:28 PM                                                                                                                    
4:22:39 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR HUGHES reconvened the meeting.                                                                                            
4:23:17 PM                                                                                                                    
MATT PETERSON, representing  self, said he is an  attorney and he                                                               
has known Mr.  Clarkson for 10-15 years. He has  been involved in                                                               
a  number  of  cases  as co-counsel  or  opposing  attorneys.  He                                                               
currently works as  a mediator and has  observed his interactions                                                               
with his clients. He characterized  his experience as broad, that                                                               
he is highly  competent in assessing facts,  the legal structure,                                                               
and he exercises good judgment when  applying the law. He is very                                                               
professional  and would  be an  excellent leader  at the  DOL. He                                                               
strongly  supported   him  for   attorney  general  due   to  his                                                               
background, judgment and ethics.                                                                                                
4:25:19 PM                                                                                                                    
DEBORAH  TENNYSON, representing  self, stated  she is  testifying                                                               
against  the confirmation  of Mr.  Clarkson as  attorney general.                                                               
She  expressed  concern  for  his apparent  mission  to  use  his                                                               
profession to fight for his  particular view on religious freedom                                                               
in Alaska.  She said his  active involvement as an  ally attorney                                                               
for  the Alliance  Defending Freedom  group in  support of  their                                                               
obsession  in  fighting  women's   reproductive  rights  and  the                                                               
freedom of Alaskans  to love and marry people of  their choice is                                                               
pretty disturbing. That group finds  him to be a leading luminary                                                               
in the fight  for religious freedom in Alaska. She  did not think                                                               
an attorney general  should come to the position  with a personal                                                               
history of  volunteering with any  group that attacks  the rights                                                               
of citizens.  She offered her  belief that his  appointment would                                                               
be terribly  divisive and hurt  all of Alaska. She  urged members                                                               
to vote against the appointment.                                                                                                
4:27:02 PM                                                                                                                    
LOREN LEMAN, representing himself,  as a lifelong Alaskan, former                                                               
legislator and Lt. Governor, stated  his support for Mr. Clarkson                                                               
as  attorney  general.  He  said  he  appreciated  Mr.  Feldman's                                                               
testimony and  that he has great  respect for him even  though he                                                               
does not agree with him  on some issues. His support demonstrates                                                               
respect for  the law and the  manner in how one  conducts himself                                                               
can  cross the  political spectrum.  He offered  his belief  that                                                               
Governor  Dunleavey  made a  very  good  choice in  pursuing  Mr.                                                               
Clarkson  to serve  Alaska. He  has known  him for  30 years  and                                                               
during  the  past  24  years  he  has  worked  as  legal  counsel                                                               
supporting and representing Alaska  on issues, including parental                                                               
consent,  marriage,  and  on  a  ballot  initiative  on  parental                                                               
involvement,  which are  some  of the  most  important issues  he                                                               
faced during the 18 years in  elected office. He has found him to                                                               
be  fair,  thorough,  thoughtful   and  smart.  He  respects  the                                                               
constitution and  the law. He  conducts himself with  dignity and                                                               
is humble. He encouraged members  to report from committee with a                                                               
"do confirm" recommendation.                                                                                                    
4:29:56 PM                                                                                                                    
ROBIN BRENA, Attorney; Owner, Brena  Bell, & Clarkson, stated his                                                               
support for  Mr. Clarkson as  attorney general. He has  known him                                                               
for decades and has worked with him  for 24 years. No one is more                                                               
familiar with  him as an  attorney, the  quality of his  work, or                                                               
his integrity than him. He said he  is a good friend. He said Mr.                                                               
Clarkson is  an excellent attorney  and has respect for  the law.                                                               
Last year  he was  awarded the  distinguished service  award from                                                               
the Alaska  Bar Association for  volunteering his time  on ethics                                                               
matters. He  said he  is a  good family man,  father and  son. He                                                               
said Alaska  would be lucky to  have him enter public  service as                                                               
attorney  general. He  remarked  that he  and  Mr. Clarkson  have                                                               
debated  many  issues,  that he  conducts  himself  with  respect                                                               
during the dialogue on them. He  said it is clear he respects the                                                               
law and other people's opinions.                                                                                                
4:32:01 PM                                                                                                                    
MIKE GERAGHTY stated  he is an attorney who has  practiced law in                                                               
Alaska  for  over forty  years.  Between  2012-14, he  served  as                                                               
attorney  general in  Alaska. He  commends the  governor for  his                                                               
appointment of  Mr. Kevin Clarkson  as attorney general.  He said                                                               
he  usually   was  on   opposite  sides   of  cases,   but  their                                                               
relationship was  professional and without malice.  Besides being                                                               
an excellent  attorney, he  called him  "a straight  shooter." He                                                               
reserves that term  for people like Mr. Clarkson  who are direct,                                                               
honest, and  humble. He  brings substantial  experience, ability,                                                               
and  professionalism to  the position  and respects  the law.  He                                                               
said he understands Mr. Clarkson  has strong personal convictions                                                               
that he  has pursued  over the  years. He  said many  people have                                                               
convictions,  but few  invest  the time  and  effort to  actively                                                               
support  those  convictions.  He  admires  that  he  defends  his                                                               
principles and  beliefs, which he finds  is a virtue not  a vice.                                                               
He  acknowledged that  they  do not  necessarily  share the  same                                                               
convictions  and beliefs.  However, when  he takes  that oath  of                                                               
office, he feels  confident Mr. Clarkson will  put those personal                                                               
convictions aside  and do his  utmost to  uphold the laws  of the                                                               
state and Alaska's  Constitution because he will take  an oath to                                                               
do so. He  said he endorses his candidacy in  the strongest terms                                                               
and without qualifications.                                                                                                     
4:34: 33 PM                                                                                                                   
ERIC SANDERS, Attorney,  stated that he has practiced  law for 43                                                               
years, and is  a retired superior court judge,  serving for seven                                                               
years. He has  been a trial lawyer, mediator,  and arbitrator. He                                                               
said politically he  would identify himself as a  liberal. He has                                                               
known Mr.  Clarkson for  about 30 years,  has worked  as opposing                                                               
counsel in  many lawsuits. He  said Mr. Clarkson  appeared before                                                               
him. He has  mediated and arbitrated cases Mr.  Clarkson has been                                                               
involved in,  and he has  ruled against  him. He has  worked with                                                               
him on  complicated lawsuits.  He said  he finds  him to  be hard                                                               
working,  diligent, thorough,  honest, and  very ethical.  He has                                                               
never  experienced any  bias from  him. He  respects the  law and                                                               
people,  he said.  He does  not believe  Mr. Clarkson's  personal                                                               
views  will  affect  his  ability  to carry  out  his  duties  as                                                               
attorney  general. He  discounted  the  [Alaska Bar  Association]                                                               
polls, noting they  are anonymous, and some  attorneys might want                                                               
to punish  him because he is  not as liberal as  some lawyers. He                                                               
thinks the people  testifying today who litigated  cases with him                                                               
provide more meaningful  feedback on his appointment.  He said he                                                               
thinks that  there would  be unanimous  support among  members of                                                               
the bar for him as attorney general.                                                                                            
4:37:19 PM                                                                                                                    
ROBIN  SMITH,   representing  herself,   said  she   opposes  Mr.                                                               
Clarkson's appointment.  She expressed concern over  his personal                                                               
views,  which she  found to  be outside  the normal  viewpoint of                                                               
Alaskans  and   at  odds  with   the  Alaska   Constitution.  She                                                               
acknowledged he  is entitled to  his beliefs, but she  was deeply                                                               
concerned about his  intolerance to the LGTBQ  community, that he                                                               
has worked to change the  non-discrimination law in Anchorage and                                                               
is opposed to  same-sex marriage. She said he has  worked to deny                                                               
Jewish people from giving the  invocation at KPB meetings. Alaska                                                               
has one of the highest  rates of sexually-transmitted infections,                                                               
rape,  and sexual  assault  in  the U.S.  yet  he  has worked  to                                                               
restrict  sex education  and abortion  in  Alaska. She  expressed                                                               
concern about the  appearance of bias since  the attorney general                                                               
must be  able to  represent all  Alaskans. She  expressed concern                                                               
that the  people who do not  share his views will  not be treated                                                               
fairly.  She  urged  members  to   vote  against  Mr.  Clarkson's                                                               
4:40:13 PM                                                                                                                    
MIKE COONS, President, Greater Alaska  Chapter of the Association                                                               
of Mature American Citizens, said  he fully supports Mr. Clarkson                                                               
for  attorney general.  After hearing  today's  testimony, he  is                                                               
even  more supportive  of him.  He said  Article VI  of the  U.S.                                                               
Constitution  states  that  no   religious  test  shall  ever  be                                                               
required for  qualification to any  office or public  trust under                                                               
the United States.  He said that includes the  states. He offered                                                               
his belief  that Alaska needs  a person  of strength to  serve in                                                               
the position to  oversee state and federal lawsuits,  and to work                                                               
with  the U.S.  attorneys general  to prosecute  federal felonies                                                               
and uphold the Alaska Constitution  and not special interests. He                                                               
emphasized that Mr.  Clarkson will be the  state attorney general                                                               
Alaskans can be proud of who will uphold the rule of law.                                                                       
4:42:26 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR BIRCH joined the meeting.                                                                                               
4:42:43 PM                                                                                                                    
JUDY  ELEDGE,  representing  herself,  said  she  has  known  Mr.                                                               
Clarkson  for many  years,  and he  is a  man  of integrity.  She                                                               
agreed that  he has strong beliefs,  just as many people  do. She                                                               
expressed concern  that someone who defends  religious freedom is                                                               
deemed unfit  to serve.  She strongly  supports him  for attorney                                                               
general. She said  she looks forward to decisions  being based on                                                               
U.S.  law and  the Alaska  Constitution. She  offered her  belief                                                               
that he will be able to interpret the law using them.                                                                           
4:43:45 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  HUGHES after  first  ascertaining no  one  else wished  to                                                               
testify, closed public testimony.                                                                                               
4:44:27 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR HUGHES stated  that this meeting has  been informative. She                                                               
thanked Mr. Clarkson.                                                                                                           
4:45:07 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR HUGHES  stated that  in accordance  with AS  39.05.080, the                                                               
Senate  Judiciary Standing  Committee  and  Senate State  Affairs                                                               
Standing  Committee reviewed  the  following  and recommends  the                                                               
appointment be forwarded to a joint session for consideration:                                                                  
Attorney General, State of Alaska                                                                                             
Kevin Clarkson - Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                              
Signing  the   reports  regarding  appointments  to   boards  and                                                               
commissions in  no way reflects  individual members'  approval or                                                               
disapproval  of  the  appointees;   the  nominations  are  merely                                                               
forwarded to the full legislature for confirmation or rejection.                                                                
4:45:43 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR HUGHES made committee announcements.                                                                                      
4:46:28 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR SHOWERS made committee announcements.                                                                                     
4:47:09 PM                                                                                                                    
ATTORNEY  GENERAL  DESIGNEE CLARKSON  asked  to  respond to  some                                                               
comments. He  stated that  Mr. Sanders,  a former  superior court                                                               
judge, addressed the Alaska Bar  Association survey very well. He                                                               
explained that  about half  score him fairly  high and  the other                                                               
half scores him  fairly low. Those surveys do not  reflect him as                                                               
an attorney. He  referred to a Martin Dale Hubble  rating that is                                                               
a peer review rating and  he received the highest rating possible                                                               
on that  survey. He  acknowledged he  has applied  for judgeships                                                               
and once  it triggered a  vote from  the chief justice,  who said                                                               
no.  She  called  him  to  tell  him  she  felt  he  needed  more                                                               
experience in family  law before holding a seat on  the court. He                                                               
said he did not work against  sex education in schools and he was                                                               
not aware  of any work  he did that  related to sex  education in                                                               
4:50:36 PM                                                                                                                    
There being  no further  business to  come before  the committee,                                                               
Chair Hughes adjourned the joint  meeting of the Senate Judiciary                                                               
Standing  Committee   and  the  Senate  State   Affairs  Standing                                                               
Committee at 4:50 p.m.                                                                                                          

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
SJUD Agenda 1.29.19.pdf SJUD 1/29/2019 3:00:00 PM
Meeting Agenda
JUD Commissioner Attorney General LAW Clarkson #1.pdf SJUD 1/29/2019 3:00:00 PM
SSTA 1/29/2019 3:00:00 PM
AG Clarkson Resume