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Press Release

Legal review finds alleged grounds for recall of Governor Dunleavy insufficient

November 4, 2019

(Anchorage, AK) – Attorney General Kevin G. Clarkson completed the legal review of the application for recall of Governor Michael J. Dunleavy and concluded that the statement of grounds for recall failed to meet the 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. “As a matter of law, recall cannot be premised upon disagreements with the elected official’s policies.” 

With respect to the application to recall Governor Dunleavy, Attorney General 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.”

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Department Media Contact: Senior Assistant Attorney General Cori Mills at (907) 465-2132 or cori.mills@alaska.gov.