Attorney general story had error

Posted: Tuesday, July 21, 2009

In a story that appeared in the Juneau Empire on July 12, "AG: Palin can appoint an 'acting' lieutenant governor," there was a fundamental error regarding the attorney general's opinion on the line of succession to the governorship.

The story correctly stated that the attorney general suggested "it would be better for Campbell to instead be appointed as 'acting' or 'temporary' lieutenant governor until the legislature could meet to hold a confirmation vote." However, the reporter went on to offer his opinion that "[s]uch a position does not exist in the Alaska Constitution or statutes, though Sullivan said in the opinion that the approach is 'consistent with Alaska's constitutional and statutory designs . . . .'" The reporter's conclusion is incorrect.

Alaska Statute 44.19.026 is titled "Designation of temporary substitute for lieutenant governor." This statute expressly provides for designation of a "temporary" lieutenant governor when the "lieutenant governor succeeds to the office of governor . . . ." Section IV.A. of the Attorney General Opinion cites and analyzes AS 44.19.026 should further information be of help.

Craig J. Tillery

Deputy attorney general

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