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Feds should resume Alaska corruption probe

Ray Metcalfe
Creative Commons illustration

TO: U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder
CC: FBI Director Robert Mueller and Jack Smith, Chief of the Public Integrity Division

Subject: Plea for Continuation of FBI’s Investigation of Corruption in Alaska

Dear U.S. Attorney General:

We at Citizens for Ethical Government understand that a large number of letters demanding the federal government’s apology to the family of the late Ted Stevens were recently delivered to your offices. Citizens for Ethical Government Inc. has collected a similar number of signatures from Alaskans who believe an apology would do little more than perpetuate a culture of corruption, and have said so in a petition to have the corruption investigations resumed.

We at Citizens for Ethical Government are the Alaskans who initiated the FBI’s understanding of Ben and Ted Stevens’ alleged schemes to launder federal appropriations through the Alaska Fish Marketing Board. Approximately $1 million worth of the Fish Marketing Board’s distributions to fishermen were kicked back to Ben Stevens under the pretense of consulting fees from fishing companies, we believe.

We were also a substantial contributor to the FBI’s understanding of Veco owner Bill Allen’s 25-year history of election fraud and bribery.  I personally exposed Ted Stevens’ real estate business partner Jon Rubini’s use of, what I allege, was a fraudulent appraisal to dupe the office of the Federal National Archives into paying him $3.5 million for a property that had in fact been appraised at $1.9 million, which Jon Rubini had purchased for $1.5 million one year earlier.

I did these things because thousands of people who live in Alaska live in fear of their government and the “good old boy” network the above people are very much a part of. Alaska is a state where honest business owners tolerate corruption in silence, for fear of being put out of business if they speak up.

While I agree that tossing a conviction obtained by prosecutors who failed to play by the rules was the right thing to do, allowing this unfortunate occurrence to derail the cleanup of corruption that grips Alaska would be the wrong thing to do.

The brave few that did speak up would be left at the mercy of a corrupt, entrenched and ruthless “good ol’ boy” system that’s already campaigning to rehabilitate its public image.

With Veco in the driver’s seat, corruption in Alaska reached that critical mass necessary to become self sustaining, with or without Veco. Numerous communities across Alaska are dominated by persons who have secured an unfair advantage over local commerce by pouring money into the pockets of candidates who sustain their unfair advantage in return.

Even though the federal courts have convicted four former members of Alaska’s House of Representatives for taking bribes from Veco, the remaining majority of Alaska’s House elected the Legislature’s largest remaining recipient of Veco’s contributions, Mike Chenault, as their presiding officer.

The depth of Alaska’s corruption was reaffirmed when those at the top, Gov. Sean Parnell, Congressman Don Young, Sen. Lisa Murkowski, Anchorage Mayor Dan Sullivan, and the entire Alaska House of Representatives by way of resolution, proclaimed Ted Stevens to be an innocent victim, whose reputation was ruined by an ill-conceived, zealous, and selective prosecution. (See attached news articles.) (See resolution below.) They, with the support of a few U.S. senators, are demanding apologies from your office and calling for the FBI to fire the investigating agents.

Those whose corrupt control of Alaska was shaken by the FBI’s investigation lost control of the governor’s office and both houses of Alaska’s Legislature for just long enough to see a fair oil tax known as ACES become law. The same corrupt influences who pulled Veco's strings have already reasserted control over the Alaska House of Representatives and the governor’s office. Through advertising expenditures, the same corrupt influences that once controlled Veco have purchased the silence of most of Alaska's media, while falsely advertising that Alaska's tax on oil is above average among oil producing countries.

With the division of over $30 billion in profits hanging in the balance from the yet to be harvested oil in Prudhoe Bay, it’s a sure bet that, in the continuation of what I believe to have already been a 25- year criminal enterprise, the oil companies will spend tens of millions of dollars in an effort to take back the Alaska state Senate next year and once again begin taking money that rightfully belongs to Alaskans.

Alaskans cannot throw off this yoke of corruption without help. The forces of corruption are simply too powerful. If Ted Stevens' friends in the U.S. Senate get their apology from the U.S. Attorney, Alaska will be doomed to years of corruption with no possibility of federal intervention. If Sen. Lisa Murkowski is successful in getting the FBI agents who investigated Ted fired, it will be decades before any U.S. Senator will ever be investigated for corruption again.

The Alaska House resolution declaring Ted Stevens’ innocence and demanding the federal government’s apology passed by Alaska’s 40-member House, 39 to 1.

It reads:

BE IT RESOLVED that the Alaska House of Representatives demands that the federal government grant Senator Stevens permission to sue the United States Department of Justice for redress; and be it

FURTHER RESOLVED that federal employees involved with Senator Stevens' prosecution be investigated for violations of the Hatch Act and, if found guilty, be subject to penalty under the Act; and be it

FURTHER RESOLVED that the United States Government should issue a formal apology to Senator Stevens and the People of Alaska for this heinous miscarriage of justice.

Only one Democrat had the courage to vote against it.

The state Senate gave a committee chairmanship to a person known to have, while serving in the Legislature, executed a written contract to help a “client” secure a $7 million appropriation. The appropriation was made, the “client” paid as agreed, the contracts and invoices have been delivered to the Alaska State Troopers, published on the Web and no one will prosecute. Conversely, in this year’s graduation ceremony, the person on the receiving end of the appropriation was awarded an honorary doctorate of law by the University of Alaska; such are the spoils of the “good old boy” system in the state of Alaska.

Paul Jenkins, Bill Allen’s personal media editor and spokesman for 17 years, has been given a weekly Sunday column in Alaska’s largest newspaper. According to Paul Jenkins’ April 5, 2009 article:

The federal government's unconstitutional and outrageous conduct has cost Stevens his reputation, his seat of 40 years in the United States Senate -- and immeasurable personal grief. Its true cost to Alaska -- in terms of leadership and effective representation in the Senate and a stolen election -- remains to be seen.

Veco’s bribery of Alaska’s legislators didn’t start with John Cowdery, Pete Kott, Vic Kohring, Beverly Masek, or Tom Anderson. Veco’s bribery schemes were obvious as far back as 1981, when I served in the Legislature.

Stevens’ choice to roll out the red carpet for Veco -- when he should have been calling the FBI instead -- gave Veco owner Bill Allen the kind of credibility he needed to conceal three decades of bribery while Exxon, BP and ConocoPhillips relieved Alaska of about $60 billion that rightfully belonged to Alaska.

These are the people who have the resources to rehabilitate their public images and regain full control over Alaska’s commerce. If the investigations don’t resume, BP, Exxon and ConocoPhillips will pull off the second largest heist in U.S. history, second only the $60-plus billion they gained through their strong-armed dealings with our state government over the previous 25 years. Those of us who stepped forward to expose their skullduggery are likely to suffer the wrath of Alaska’s “good old boy” system for the rest of our lives.

Sincerely,

Ray Metcalfe
President and Chairman of
Citizens for Ethical Government Inc.

Ray Metcalfe lives in Anchorage. He was first elected to the Legislature in 1978, and again in 1980. He owns Metcalfe Commercial Real Estate Inc. and runs a small nonprofit that investigates and exposes public corruption.

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