Attorney General Kevin Clarkson announced today that the stated reasons for a recall of Gov. Michael Dunleavy are insufficient, “failing to meet factual and legal requirements under the controlling statutes.”
“I asked the legal team to do a deep dive into the Alaska constitution, discussions at the constitutional convention, the statutes, legislative history, and case law, including looking at authorities from other states, in order to understand what standards must be met in the recall context,” said Attorney General Clarkson in a statement. “As a matter of law, recall cannot be premised upon disagreements with the elected official’s policies.”
With respect to the application to recall Dunleavy, Clarkson stated, “in order to meet the ground for neglect of duty, which is the only legally pertinent ground here, applicants must show an inability, willful neglect, or outright illegal intent on the part of the elected official. They must also show that this inability or intent is directly related to carrying out the substantive duties of the office.
“Mere procedural or technical failures are not enough. The violation must be substantial in order to qualify. Moreover, applicants must show that the elected official was personally responsible. Elected officials cannot be recalled for the acts of subordinates of which they were not aware and did not specifically authorize. The recall application failed to make these showings. The grounds of incompetence and lack of fitness, as a matter of law, were not applicable here.”
Click here to review the Attorney General Opinion.
The recall application was submitted on September 5, 2019. Director Fenumiai requested that the Department of Law complete its legal review within 60 days, despite the lack of any statutory timeline to make a decision. The Department of Law met the requested timeline and submitted its opinion to the director on November 4, 2019.
Director of the Division of Elections Gail Fenumiai notified the sponsors today that, based on the conclusions in the Attorney General opinion, certification was denied. Recall Dunleavy and any other interested party have 30 days to challenge the denial of certification.
For more information, see the Division of Elections website.
Check back, as this story will be updated.