Public invited to comment of proposed changes to the procedure for addressing ethics complaints

MGN

ANCHORAGE (KTUU) - The Department of Law is proposing changes to the procedure for addressing ethics complaints against the state's Executive Branch. The public is invited to comment on the proposal before action is taken on the changes.

The proposed changes would put the attorney general in a position of power to defend the governor, lieutenant governor, or the attorney general in case a complaint claiming a violation of the Ethics Act is levied against any of them.

The Department of Law is the entity that performs initial investigations into ethics complaints, accepts or rejects it, and determines if a violation has occurred. Currently these functions are performed by independent counsel selected by the Personnel Board.

The new changes would allow the department to act as legal counsel for the governor, lieutenant governor and attorney general in their official capacities. According to the Department of Law, in addition to streamlining the ethics complaint process, this proposed change would also help mitigate the risk that the ethics complaint process is used to harass or becomes predatory.

Written comments on the proposed changes may be submitted until 5 p.m. on November 4 of this year. Written letters should be addressed to Maria Bahr at 1031 W. 4th ave. Ste. 200, Anchorage, AK 99501. They can also be faxed to (907) 276-3697, or emailed to law.regulations.comments@alaska.gov.

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