Attorney cites concern with proposal for ethics complaints

    Juneau, Alaska (AP) - Proposed rules that would allow the Alaska Department of Law to represent the governor, lieutenant governor or attorney general against ethics complaints may violate provisions of law and the state constitution, according to a legislative attorney.

    In a memo, legislative attorney Daniel Wayne wrote the proposal may not serve a public purpose, as required by the state constitution, KTOO Public Media in Juneau reported.

    Wayne wrote the constitution bars the executive branch from adopting regulations unless state law allows it. The law doesn't allow it in this case, he said.

    He also said the proposal would unconstitutionally provide protections to some state officers but not others.

    The memo was requested by Democratic Sen. Bill Wielechowski, who with Republican Rep. Gabrielle LeDoux and Democratic Rep. Andy Josephson sent Attorney General Kevin Clarkson a letter expressing concerns.

    The department has proposed rules that would allow it to defend the governor or lieutenant governor against ethics complaints if the attorney general determines the representation is in the public interest.

    The department could defend the attorney general against an ethics complaint if the governor determines doing so is in the public interest, under the proposal. Information received by the department in defense of such complaints would be considered confidential.

    The deadline for public comment on the proposal is Monday. The Department of Law isn't responding to comments while the comment period is open.

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