Alaska government corruption
|Report It •||The Good •||The Bad •||The Ugly|
"Draconian measure or reasonable access? Depends on who you ask.
Should the city of Homer "provide full and free access of the public to municipal records and information?" Or, should it "provide prompt and reasonable public access to non confidential public records according to law?"
"Former University of Alaska Fairbanks hockey coach Doc DelCastillo has gone to court to block the university from releasing documents regarding his departure from the job.
The Daily News-Miner filed a public records request on April 14 for documents leading up to the coach’s resignation four days earlier. DelCastillo’s attorney, Jason Gazewood, filed a motion on Friday in Fairbanks Superior Court for a preliminary injunction to prohibit the release."
"A Kenai councilman who already raised questions about a proposed ordinance governing public access to city records, has forwarded three memos about the new law to be included in the city council agenda packet next week.
Bob Molloy, who said the council is not due to consider the ordinance until May 20, said he wants his memos in Wednesday's packet to ensure council members, city administration and the general public have time to consider his recommendations before the measure comes up for a public hearing."
"The Alaska Democratic Party says the state's repeated delays in providing public records it has asked for involving Gov. Sarah Palin are "excessive and unwarranted."
The state notified the Democrats earlier this week that it would likely need until the end of March if not longer to provide records first requested more than four months ago, on Sept. 22, during the heat of the presidential campaign when Palin was the Republican Party's vice presidential candidate."
"He’s been called the shadow governor. Now Todd Palin’s role in state government is at the center of a lawsuit seeking e-mails the governor’s office has withheld for reasons such as “executive privilege.”
Does being the husband of Gov. Sarah Palin give Todd Palin special access to internal communications off limits to the general public?"
An internal auditor released a report Monday saying the municipality tinkered with union contracts without Assembly approval 145 times since 1990.
All changes to contracts between the municipality of Anchorage and union workers are supposed to be reviewed and approved by the Anchorage Assembly."
The nomination of Gov. Palin as a candidate for the vice presidency had an unintended consequence: It exposed some of the problems of the “electronic services and products” portion of the public records disclosure law (AS 40.25.115), which was last updated by the Legislature in 1992. The Legislature would have been aware that e-mail was already a useful tool for state employees at that time, but there is no indication that the Legislature contemplated a situation where scores of news organizations, bloggers and activist groups — Alaskan and Outside — would request e-mail records of hundreds or thousands of state employees, all at the same time and many demanding instant responses in a time of 24-hour news or blog updates.
Alaska Attorney General Talis Colberg is clamping down on how the state shares information with the public.
He's ordered state commissioners to get the approval of his agency, the Department of Law, before answering public records requests.
In a Sept. 26 letter from Colberg to various state commissioners, which was obtained Friday by the Empire, Colberg wrote that the large number of requests necessitated his office's intervention to make sure that any of the governor's privileges to withhold documents weren't being mistakenly waved."
Sponsors of an unsuccessful ballot measure that targeted toxic mine pollution are suing to force Alaska officials to release government records that might answer questions about Gov. Sarah Palin's efforts to nix it.
The group Alaskans For Clean Water asked Alaska Superior Court in Anchorage on Tuesday to order immediate release of documents that the state says it can't fully produce until mid-November.
That extension wouldn't allow access to the records until after the Nov. 4 election. Palin is Republican John McCain's vice presidential running mate. The lawsuit alleges illegal failure to meet required timetables, "for the purposes of delay."
The Alaska state lawmakers, former Representative Vic Kohring and former House Speaker Pete Kott, were convicted in 2007 of accepting bribes from former VECO CEO Bill Allen in return for votes in favor of an oil tax that would benefit the company, according to Allen's testimony.
The prosecution team, led by assistant U.S. Attorney Jim Trusty and Public Integrity lawyer Peter Koski, handled former senator Ted Steven's case.
Earlier this year, McLeod submitted an open records request for copies of emails from Palin aides Frank Bailey and Ivy Frye. From this she discovered that the Governor was routinely using a private email account to conduct state business, while the aides occasionally did as well.
Last June McLeod received four boxes of heavily redacted email records. In refusing to turn over more the 1,000 emails, the administration cited executive privilege. In turn, on October 1, McLeod sued Palin to preserve all emails related to state business from all accounts, as well as emails from her husband Todd.
The $250,000 in gifts and renovations came courtesy of oil services company VECO Corp. Bill Allen, old friend to Stevens and founder of VECO, testified that Stevens was never billed for any of the work or goods, and that he knew it was quite a deal. Stevens denied all these charges, saying he paid $160,000 in bills, believing that was for everything.
After the jury read a guilty verdict on all seven counts, the Senator remained defiant, charging prosecutors of blatant misconduct. “I am innocent," he declared. "This verdict is the result of the unconscionable manner in which the Justice Department lawyers conducted this trial.”
Initial reports painted a strange picture of the prosecution's case. They are said to have made a number of mistakes and broken many rules, enough so that Judge Emmett Sullivan accused them of knowingly submitting false evidence. While Sullivan did not choose to declare a mistrial, he did tell the jury ignore key pieces of evidence.
On February 5, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (R) announced that the State of Alaska’s check register would be posted online. The department of administration’s website now hosts datasheets in pdf and excel that allow taxpayers to view details for every expenditure greater than $1,000, organized by department, payee and type of expense.
While serving as a legislature for the Willow area in the Alaska Legislature in 2003, Beverly Masek took bribes from an oil executive on multiple occasions. The oil executive, Bill Allen, was the the C.E.O. of an oil pipeline service and construction company called VECO. In addition to bribing Rep. Beverly Masek, he has since been linked to several different corruption scandals occurring around 2003, including that of Ted Stevens.".
In one case of bribery, Rep. Beverly Masek accepted a bribe after working to advance Bill Allen's agenda. In May of 2003, Bill Allen was concerned about a piece of legislation that had been drafted, which he predicated, if passed, would negatively impact his company. While the legislation was in consideration, Rep. Beverly was aware that Bill Allen was opposed to this legislation. Eventually Rep. Beverly withdrew the piece of legislation. The day after she withdrew, she was offered, and she accepted, a $2,000 dollar payment from Bill Allen..
The documents surfaced in the ongoing corruption case of Bill Allen. Allen was a CEO of the now-defunct oil service company V.E.C.O. While a C.E.O, Allen bribed state legislators and officials with the aim of garnering political support for his company in the legislature. The legislators were responsible passing or rejecting legislation that dealt with taxes for oil companies.
Some of the politicians who have been tried for their involvement with Allen include former state House Speaker Pete Kott and former Representative Vic Kohring. Also, Senator Ted Stevens was tried and found guilty for receiving gifts from Allen without reporting the gifts. Steven's case, however, was ultimately dimissed because the prosecution withheld evidence that was favorable to the defense.
Last year, a jury found Alaska Senator Ted Stevens guilty for corruption. He was found to have failed to publicly disclose the over $250,000 dollars that he received from an Alaskan oil company C.E.O, Bill Allen, between 1999-2006. Bill Allen is currently being tried for bribing several Alaska politicians.
In April, however, Attorney General Eric Holder dismissed Steven's case. The case was dismissed on grounds that the trial was unfair. The prosecution collected notes from a key witness before the testimony of the witness. The testimony ended up conflicting with the notes. This information would have helped the case of the defense. The prosecution, however, never handed over the notes to the defense.
The name "Corrupt Bastards Club" (alternatively "Corrupt Bastards Caucus") has been widely, if with limited accuracy, used to designate Alaska legislators implicated in the federal corruption investigation. The nickname originated in the spring of 2006 as a barroom joke among Alaska legislators after a guest article by Lori Backes, executive director of All Alaska Alliance, that ran in Alaska's three largest newspapers named 11 lawmakers who had received large campaign contributions from executives of the oilfield services company VECO Corporation, which has a long history of making large campaign contributions to Alaska politicians. The article also named Senate President Ben Stevens as having received large consulting fees from VECO.
Four states—Alaska, Arkansas, Montana, and North Dakota—have avoided the budget woes plaguing the majority of states and instead are heading into the next fiscal year with budget surpluses. Those four states have all benefited from increased tax revenue: Alaska, Montana, and North Dakota have seen taxes rise as a result of their rich deposits of natural resources while Arkansas saw increases in sales and corporate income tax receipts. They all also use effective budgeting practices.
<ref>tags exist, but no
<references/>tag was found