Thursday, September 27, 2007

Alaskan Legislator Found Guilty of Corruption

Former Alaska House of Representatives Speaker Peter Kott, who served seven terms in the legislature, was found guilty of conspiracy, extortion, and bribery for accepting benefits from oil services firm Veco; the jury acquitted him on a wire fraud charge  The amount Kott received is fairly small, approximately $9,000, but recordings made in the undercover investigation also showed Kott agreeing to push legislation favorable to Veco that he tried to explain away.  Kott also claimed that $7,993 he received from Veco's CEO was an advance on a flooring job. 

This is the second conviction in the past year of a former member of the state House of Representatives.  Kott was one of a group of legislators supporting the interests of the oil companies who called themselves the "Corrupt Bastards Club" that included a hat with Veco's logo on the front and the initials "CBC" on the back -- not a very helpful picture for a politician accused of corruption.  An interesting aspect of the case was the testimony by Veco's former CEO about how the company supplied materials for the remodeling of Senator Ted Stevens' home, which was searched pursuant to a warrant earlier this year.  The corruption investigation continues in both Alaska and the District of Columbia, and an Anchorage Daily News story (here) discusses the guilty verdict. (ph)

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