Thursday, October 4, 2012

Alaska Legislative Candidate Discloses Apparent Bribe Attempt from VECO in 1996 Regarding Private Prison

Anchorage--

Richard Mauer of the Anchorage Daily News does it again, getting an Alaska State Senate candidate to reveal that in 1996 he was offered engineering contracts and "a whole bunch of money" for his re-election campaign to the Anchorage Assembly if the official would support the effort of the now-defunct oil-services giant VECO and other companies to build a private prison in South Anchorage.

The legislative candidate--Anchorage Republican and consulting engineer Bob Bell--told the newspaper that he turned down  the money and did not support the prison but also did not report this apparent bribery attempt to authorities.

Mauer's article includes this exchange:

"Told that the offer of an engineering contract in return for his support of the prison as an Assemblyman could be a crime, Bell replied:

'It is?'"

The Anchorage Daily News story also reports that Bell had released a list showing that the oil producer BP was the biggest client of Bell's engineering firm in 2011, and in fact had paid more than $1 million.  

These revelations have the potential of shaking up a State Senate race that is a critical campaign in the efforts of Gov. Sean Parnell and oil producers to engineer a majority in the State Senate friendly to Parnell's initiative to cut taxes on oil production in an attempt to stimulate that production. 

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