Alaska

A Crab in Every Coffer

I am shocked -- shocked! -- to discover that concerns have been raised that an obscure earmark Alaska Rep. Don Young (R) inserted into a fishery regulation bill was designed to benefit three of his campaign contributors. Three fishing companies, Yardarm Knot, Blue Dutch, and Trident Seafoods may turn a handy profit off the earmark that gives them new crabbing rights in the Bering Sea.

Earmark if You Believe in Ferries

A "bridge to nowhere" won't pass muster anymore, but a boat to nowhere? Hey, that's worth trying. Sen.

In One Earmark, Out the Other

Not a good day for Rep. Don Young (R-AK) in the press. The Anchorage Daily News digs into him for a long history of taking generous campaign contributions from interests for whom he earmarked millions upon millions in federal money.

Young, and more specifically his campaign accounts, benefited tidily from his position on the House Transportation Committee:

 

You're on Crooked Camera

The Alaska bribery scandal makes the front page of the Washington Post today in a story that includes several colorful excerpts from the secret taping of VECO Chairman Bill Allen's conversations with Alaska legislators -- like this, uh, candid admission from convicted Rep. Pete Kott about working against a bill opposed by oil interests: "I had to cheat, steal, beg, borrow and lie. [...] Exxon's happy. BP's happy.

Kohring Convicted

The testimony of the man who bribed him has led to former Alaska Rep. Vic Kohring's conviction on three bribery charges. Bill Allen, the former CEO of VECO Corp. claims he bribed Kohring to ensure his support for a piece of legislation that would have brought millions of dollars in business to VECO.

Gone Fishin'

Are legislators trying to buy influence with one another? TPMmuckraker picks up an NPR Marketplace story about a group of legislators traveling up to Alaska for fishing trips on the dime of lobbyist-backed non-profits with ties to embattled Sen. Ted Stevens (R-AK) and Bill Allen, the CEO of VECO whose admitted to trying to buy influence with legislators.

Next Norman?

NPR's Marketplace picked up the story of Bill Allen, the VECO Inc. CEO who admitted using campaign contributions to win influence with Congress, and $200 million in contracts. The report notes Allen's plan for VECO and its employess to direct donations to members of the Senate Appropriations Committee, in particular Sen. Ted Stevens (R-AK). Most of the money hasn't been returned.

A Vote for Me, A Dollar for You

The trial of VECO Corp. CEO Bill Allen in Alaska is pretty much a case-study on the corrupting influence of money in politics. Admitting he used campaign cash to advance the careers of sympathetic legislators -- and rewarded them for a job well done -- Allen is all the evidence we need for a Clean Elections alternative.

 

Here, from the AP's Matt Apuzzo, are the grim details of VECO's (likely very illegal) incentive program for lawmakers:

 

Kott Convicted

Former Alaska State Rep. Pete Kott (R) was convicted yesterday on bribery charges stemming from the wide-ranging investigation of VECO Corp., an oil services company whose CEO has confessed to using money and other favors to influence the actions of legislators on an crucial crude oil tax that meant millions in profits for VECO.

Hang Up When You Hear the Click

Sources say the FBI recorded phone calls between VECO CEO Bil Allen and Sen. Ted Stevens (R-AK) as part of the ongoing bribery investigation which has implicated several Alaskan lawmakers. Allen provided consent for the taping as part of his cooperation with investigators. Conversations were also taped between Allen and former Alaska House Speaker Peter Kott and between Allen and another VECO executive.